Moffat County proactively addresses uncertainty in health care | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County proactively addresses uncertainty in health care

MRH CEO Andy Daniels

The health care industry is facing uncertain times. In response, Moffat County's public health care provider is taking steps to secure the "long-term viability" of local care, said Memorial Regional Health CEO Andy Daniels.

On Thursday the hospital board voted to move forward an agreement that would see it, and one of its 501(c)3 entities, create the structure needed for the hospital to become a Federally Qualified Health Center.

Federally Qualified Health Care Center's and look-alike entities serve underserved populations with comprehensive services, and qualify for additional federal funding and enhanced Medicaid reimbursement. Northwest Colorado Health is a Federally Qualified Health Center.

We caught-up with Memorial Regional Health CEO Andy Daniels to learn more about the 501(c)3 and its role in obtaining Federally Qualified Health Center status.

What is the Facilities Corporation of the Memorial Hospital and when was it established?

If you recall, for the original HUD loan, a corporation was created called “The Facilities Corporation of the Memorial Hospital.” This corporation was a 501c3 not-for-profit corporation. It goes back to when this hospital was built.

Recommended Stories For You

Why was it established?

You can't take a mortgage to a county owned property by statue. The facilities corporation was setup so that it could take the HUD loan. It then leased the land from the county and then the corporation leased it back to the hospital. The facilities corporation had the mortgage.

What happened to the corporation when the HUD loan was paid off?

After the HUD loan was paid off, the facilities corporation didn't need to exist anymore. We changed the bylaws of the corporation to expand the purpose and changed the name legally at the State of Colorado.

The name of the corporation is “Community Clinics at Memorial Regional Health.” It has its own board and the membership is being extended to a total of nine voting members to meet the statutory requirements under a Federally Qualified Health Center look-alike, if needed in the future. It was also expanded to move Emergency Medical Services from under the hospital tax-ID to the community clinics to enhance reimbursement. We currently lose between $250-300K per year and this change will help reduce that loss to $150-200K per year.

Who is on the board?

The current membership of the board includes the following:

Catherine Belvins (original)

Don Myers (original)

Tonya Griffith (original)

John Ponikvar (original)

Janell Oberlander-Haefs (new)

Kathryn Dietz (new)

Kevin Peck: Ex-officio

Andy Daniels: Ex-officio

Denise Arola: Ex-officio

Julie Hanna: Ex-officio

We have nominations for three open positions and expect to fill those at our next meeting.

When does the board meet?

We only meet “as needed” currently, with a required annual meeting. We will be meeting as a board on July 6th with only two agenda items: to fill the remaining board members and pass the agreement that the MRH board passed on Thursday.

Are the meetings open to the public?

The meetings are not open to the public at this time. I will speak with the board on July 6th about the desire to have press at future board meetings. For several of the board members, this will be also be their first meeting so they may not be ready for that on the very first meeting. We are really just getting organized at this stage. 

What role does the Community Clinics at Memorial Regional Health board play in governing Memorial Regional Health?

Currently, they do not govern any aspect of MRH. Again, this is a “future” set-up so to speak.

There are certain things that the boards would come together to do such as strategic planning. The 501(c)3 will also help us to get grant money.

Doesn't it have foundation for grant money?

We do, but they are a completely separate entity and are restructuring to consider their future role.

Why is the Community Clinics at Memorial Regional Health needed?

"Under Federal law, the only way that a county owned hospital can have a look-alike Federally Qualified Health Center is to go through a “joint application” process with both boards and both entities in something called a “co-application model.” The first board being the Board of Trustees for the Memorial Hospital DBA/Memorial Regional Health and the second is the “Community Clinics at Memorial Regional Health.”

The item on the Board Agenda is for an “agreement” between the two boards to someday, in the future, apply to establish a look-alike Federally Qualified Health Center. We have no immediate plans but did want to get the legal structure in place for the future.

Why would a Federally Qualified Health Center be required or needed?

With the uncertainty of the future of healthcare we want to make sure that we have the structure in place for Rural Health Care Clinics, Provider Based Clinics and look-alike Federally Qualified Health Center Clinics.

This county needs this hospital. We are being more proactive than reactive to the potential shift in this market. All the things we are doing set up options, so that incase we need to do them; we can remain a strong entity. These are very complex processes. We've been working at obtaining Rural Health Care Clinics status for 6 months. What you don't want to do is wait until you need it and then start the process.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education