Lincoln Community Hospital appoints new CEO
By Will Bublitz
A new Chief Executive Officer/Administrator was appointed for Lincoln Community Hospital and Nursing Home during the Board of Directors meeting held last Thursday, Aug. 29.
Monika Wilkins, the former Director of Nursing, received the board’s unanimous endorsement as the hospital’s new CEO/Administrator.
“I will do my best,” Wilkins said.
Wilkins is filling the vacancy left by the death of Herman Schreivogel, who had been the hospital’s CEO/Administrator for the past 18 years. He died on August 16.
Wilkins brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her new position after working at LCH for the past 15 years. In 1998, she began as a Licensed Practical Nurse in its Medical Records Department before moving to the Nursing Department in 2000. She became a Registered Nurse (RN) in 2005 and was promoted to the Hospital Director of Nursing position in 2009. She also became the Nursing Home Director of Nursing in 2011. Last year, she was awarded the Nightingale Luminary Award for Leadership, one of the top honors for nursing.
Schreivogel, who was 72 years old at the time of his death, had been considering retirement due to health issues for the past several months. He had been mentoring Wilkins as his possible replacement.
Some additional reorganizational changes were required following Schreivogel’s passing. One was the appointment of Patsy Shields as its Chief Financial Officer (CFO), a position that had also been held by Schreivogel.
Because Wilkins is now the new Administrator/CEO, her former position in the hospital nursing department also had to be filled. Under the reorganization, Dan Walker, RN has been selected as the hospital’s new Director of Nursing, while Shelley Cochran, RN has taken over as the Director of Nursing for the Nursing Home. Cerina Cunningham, RN will continue as the Director of Home Health & Hospice.
“We have a great team here at Lincoln Community Hospital & Nursing Home,” Wilkins said.
To honor Schreivogel’s years of service and contributions to LCH, Wilkins told the board that a shadow box containing a number of his prestigious awards would be erected inside the hospital. Schreivogel recently received the 2013 Rural Health Excellence Award from the Colorado Rural Health Association.
Also during Thursday’s meeting, James thanked Director Steve Burgess for the eulogy that he delivered for Schreivogel during a memorial service held Saturday, Aug. 24 in the Ellis Allen Memorial Building at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds in Hugo. More than 200 family members, friends, local officials and LCH employees attended the service.
In other business, James read a written financial report by Shields, the new CFO, who was unable to attend Thursday’s meeting. She said that “July has been another good month” for the hospital with a fund balance of $7,449,598 and a year-to-date net income of $493,234.
Dr. John Fox, LCH’s Assistant Chief of Staff, told the board that a new oncologist from the Rocky Mountain Cancer Center will be joining the staff of the Hugo Clinic probably in September. As with many of the other doctors at the specialty clinic, the new oncologist will make once-a-month visits to see patients.
Thursday’s meeting was rounded out by Wilkins presenting her monthly report on the hospital’s patient numbers. For the month of July, the hospital’s in-patient numbers had rebounded to an average of two per day after falling to one a day during June. Also the number of swing-bed patients took a big jump during July averaging four per day, which was the highest for that category this year.
While in-patient and swing-bed numbers rose, the number of observation patients at LCH declined from an average of one per day in June to 0.5 in July.
The hospital’s Emergency Room also saw a slight rise in patient numbers. The ER’s doctors, nurses and paramedics helped a total of 185 patients during July, which was up from 184 in June.
To help the board members better understand the types of cases handled by the ER, Wilkins separated the July patients into the following categories: medical 122, trauma 7, motor vehicle accidents 11, lacerations 6, dog bite 1, shortness of breath 4, chest pains 10, sprains 4, abrasions 5, burns 1 and falls 14.
The number of Emergency Room transfers from LCH to larger urban hospitals rose to 16 during July from 14 in June.
Included in Wilkins’ report were the number of surgeries and procedures performed by the hospital’s specialty doctors. During July, they performed 6 surgeries and 19 procedures.
To explain the type of surgical work being performed, Wilkins divided July’s surgeries into the following categories: 1 gallbladder, 4 plastics/lesions and 1 tubal.
LCH’s Nursing Home saw its resident census drop from an average of 26 in June to 23 during July. Wilkins said that as of last Thursday, its resident numbers had risen to 24.
LCH’s Home Health & Hospice had a large rise in patients and visits during July. The number of home health patients rose from 15 during June to 23 in July, but its hospice patients remained steady at 9 for both those months. The overall number of visits conducted by Home Health & Hospice nurses also jumped from 206 in June to 275 during July.
Wilkins also reported the overall number of patient numbers were up for LCH’s four clinics. During June, they had a total of 1,237 patient visits. In July, the total visits increased to 1,305.
The patient visits during July were: Gordon Clinic in Hugo, 387; Limon Family Practice, 429; Flagler Family Practice, 264; and LCH’s specialty clinic, the Hugo Clinic, 225.