By Sarah Pridgeon
Steps taken to improve the financial situation at Crook County Medical Services District (CCMSD) have begun to bear fruit, says new CEO Jannette Van Beek. Sundance’s hospital will not, contrary to recent rumor, be closing its doors.
“The hospital is not going to close,” says Van Beek. “We have surprisingly little debt, we owe only on computers and the Moorcroft clinic. Our accounts receivable are a little higher than we might like, but this is a tough time financially for everyone.”
Van Beek was brought on board in December, taking the reins from interim CEO John Osse. She was selected by Rapid City Regional Health (RCRH) and arrives with more than 15 years of experience in the health care field in hospitals, rural health clinics and long-term care, most recently serving as Administrator/CEO for Five Counties Hospital and Nursing Home in Lemmon, South Dakota.
“We’re all in this together, staff and community,” Van Beek continues. “Things haven’t always been rosy, but we’re trying to make things better and get over the speed bumps along the way.”
“We got through both of our re-surveys, our finances are starting to look a lot better. We have money coming in, we’re able to pay our bills, our loan is paid. Our billing system is fixed and streamlined, we’re working with a pretty good system now, and we’re bringing in a couple more people to fill the holes in the financial office, such as for chasing up insurance companies – it’s important to have someone as advocate for both us and the patient.”
“We have a lot of new things coming up,” says Van Beek. “Some are scary, but we have people there to help us now, from RCRH. The ultrasound is now going to Moorcroft and we’re working on getting the MRI trucks to come in monthly, like the mammogram has been doing for a couple of months.”
As part of the changes, she says, the hospital aims to put a solid schedule in place for its providers, giving patients a clear idea of when individual doctors are available. A grant is also being written for an electronic filing system.
“Things are changing,” Van Beek explains. “Change is inevitable. It’s not always bad, but it is always hard.”
Regarding recent staff changes, Van Beek says that CCMSD is working on getting staffing numbers up. “People come and go, whether they want to or whether we want them to. It’s not bad, but we’d prefer to not use agency staff, as they’re expensive and don’t create relationships with patients and with us.”
“Things are different, but we hope the hospital will be a better place to work and to receive healthcare from. We want to be good stewards of county money, to be what the community needs us to be.”
Van Beek encourages members of the community to approach her if they have questions or concerns and welcomes suggestions for improvements or additions.