The directors of the Big Lake-Monticello Hospital District met last Thursday to review the CentraCare Health-Monticello annual report and audit, discuss the district budget and the 2014 hospital district board election in November.
Chair Sheldon Johnson called the meeting to order. He told those present about the retirement gathering for Dr. Maus held Tuesday. Dr. Maus spent 50 years serving the community as a primary health care physician.
“He was a stalwart member of the local healthcare community,” Johnson said. “And he was very instrumental in getting this facility started.”
Chair Johnson led a discussion about whether to have an annual meeting in future or continue bi-annual meetings. A consensus was quickly reached to have an annual meeting in November, after the audit has been completed.
Board seats up for election in November include Big Lake Township, Becker Township, Monticello Township, the City of Otsego and a two-year term for the township of Silver Creek.
Hospital CEO Mary Ellen Wells presented the results of the CentraCare Monticello audit, which received a positive, clean opinion from the auditors. The audit showed the hospital is operating in the black again, with revenue on the rise. The enterprise ended with net assets totaling $41,117,631.
The hospital district budget of $389,500 includes economic cost sharing for the publicly owned nursing home in the amount of $360,000, which is already set aside, and small amounts for legal fees, board education, directors and officers insurance and elections costs, Finance Director Nancy Friesen said.
CentraCare has an opportunity to refinance Series 2003C bonds at a much lower rate of interest, resulting in a $0.98 million savings over the remaining eight years of the bonds.
Once refinanced, the bonds become the responsibility of CentraCare. Hospital district property tax payers will have no liability.
“You will have relief from the levy obligation,” said District Attorney Thomas Schroeder. “The new loan will be secured by CentraCare.”
The obligation to the 2009A Series bonds remains, with $6.4 million still outstanding at 4.677% interest. CentraCare is making the payments.
“This is a win-win for everyone,” said Schroeder.
Silver Creek Director Brian Doyle made a motion of support for the bond refinancing, which was seconded by Director Candy Benoit.
Meanwhile, CentraCare is making good on its pledges to improve health services in the area. A lullaby played after a new baby was born in the birth unit.
Plans to upgrade the emergency room are on the back burner due to having to move the emergency helicopter landing pad away from overhead electrical cables.
“We are still working on a plan to update the ER and surgery areas when we have had more time to see how to make the best use of our resources,” said Wells.
“A master plan is good for about a year,” said Big Lake Township’s Richard Helms. “Things change so fast.”