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WRH board conducts final business before Sanford takeover

WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington Regional Hospital Board of Trustees met for a final time Monday afternoon. The board will disband following the sale of the hospital to Sanford Health, effective at the end of the month.

Most of the board's actions were in conjunction with the sale, including the following resolutions: Sale of 7 percent ownership in Southwest Minnesota Radiation Center, LLC, to Windom Area Hospital; sale of 7 percent ownership in Southwest Minnesota Radiation Center to Murray County Memorial Hospital; Sale of 37 percent ownership in Southwest Minnesota Radiation Center to Sanford Health Network; and transfer of funds to Worthington Regional Health Care Foundation Inc.

The board also authorized staff to sign the final documents on behalf of WRH regarding a settlement of a contract dispute dating back to 2001. WRH had contracted with DeWild Grant Reckert & Associates, who in turn contracted with Associated Consulting Engineers to develop a design for a standby generator and related improvements to the electrical systems. WRH claims certain defects, deficiencies and damages exist that caused the hospital to expend additional funds. DGR agreed to pay WRH $10,000; ACE agreed to pay WRH $40,000, with no admission of liability from either party and a release from future litigation and liabilities.

During the finance committee portion of the meeting, the financial statement for May showed revenue over budget by $138,625 (3.4 percent); and reductions to gross revenue due to contractual allowances at 45.7 percent compared to a budget of 44.12 percent. Total operating expenses were under budget, but salaries exceeded budget due to the implementation of the DocZ system. Month-to-date operating expense over revenue was a loss of $254,042, resulting from the hospital meeting its $300,000 obligation to the YMCA building project.

For the year thus far, net operating revenue is under budget by $286,069. Expenses for the year are over budget by $80,290. Year-to-date income from operations is under budget by $366,359; year-to-date revenue over expenses is under budget by $878,851. Accounts were written off totaling $130,366.60.

A representative from the audit firm of EideBailly also presented the 2007 annual audit during Monday's meeting.

"There will be one more month of operations that will come at the end of June," explained WRH Chief Executive Officer Mel Platt. "There will be a special six-month audit for that, a cessation of operations audit."

The official signing of the sale documents between city officials and Sanford Health will be June 25, and June 30 will be the final day of city ownership. A community celebration is planned for July 1 at Pioneer Village.

Platt will also retire, effective with the hospital sale, and he presented some closing remarks to the board members.

"This being the last official meeting, Worthington Regional Hospital marks the end of a 57-year era," Platt said. "Over the years, you and your predecessors have provided the leadership and vision to make this organization what it is today. You have fulfilled your duties in an unselfish manner, and the community is indebted to you for that leadership. ... The hospital has had a reputation over the years as being a quality health care facility, and it is because of your vision and direction that we have that reputation.

"Since this also marks my last board meeting with you, I want to thank you for your support to me during your years on the board. You have made my job so much easier. It has been an honor for me to work with you, and I wish you all the very best in your futures."

Beth Rickers

Beth Rickers is the veteran in the newspaper staff with 25 years as the Daily Globe's Features Editor. Interests include cooking, traveling and beer tasting and making with her home-brewing husband, Bryan. She writes an Area Voices blog called Lagniappe, which is a Creole term that means "a little something extra." It can be found at  

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