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Posted by Marshall Cook
on Apr 11, 2014
The regular weekly April 11th noon meeting of the Orofino Rotary Club was opened by Randy Bowen, who quoted George Burns as saying, “I was always taught to respect my elders, and now I’ve reached the age where I don’t have anybody left to respect.” George Burns, one of the few entertainers whose career successfully spanned vaudeville, film, radio, and television, died March 9, 1996 at the age of 100. His arched eyebrow and cigar-smoke punctuation were familiar trademarks for over three-quarters of a century.
Twenty five Rotarians and guests were in attendance, with 7 members submitting regrets for inabilities to attend the meeting.
Following the Pledge of Allegiance, Club President Mike Hedrick and others presented several club announcements. These included the reminder that Rotary will help distribute election materials before the election of May 20; Community Clean-up Day is scheduled for Saturday, April 26 during which Rotarians will cook hot dogs and German dogs for Cleanup Day participants; Citizen of the Year nominations are now open; Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) applications are now available for submittal; new Log Drive Committee members are solicited now because of the unavailability of several on the committee; and our new incoming Rotary Youth Exchange student from Switzerland will be staying initially with Rotarian Will Rambo and his wife.
Sgt-at-arms Teri Bolling next collected a dollar or 2 from several members who had brags, self promotions or an extra dollar burning their pockets. The money from these collections each week goes into the general club funds.
Rotary program Chairperson and President-elect Marshall Cook then introduced the speaker for the meeting, Patrick J. Branco, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Essentia Health’s St. Marys and Clearwater Valley Hospitals.
Pat is a 21 year USCG and USN veteran who received education at Baylor University under a military program that led to a Master’s Degree in Health Care Administration. Pat came to his job in Orofino and Cottonwood from a position as the CEO of the Ketchikan Medical Center in Alaska.
Parenthetically, Pat was a member of the Ketchikan Rotary Club. That club was Alaska’s first Rotary Club and named Alaska Rotary 2000, because it was the 2000th Rotary club in the world. The club is in Rotary District 5010. District 5010 includes seventy clubs in the Yukon Territory of Canada, Alaska, U.S.A., and all of Russia east of the Ural Mountains. Thus, District 5010 is an International District as is our District 5080 that covers SE British Columbia, Northern Idaho, and NE Washington.
Pat and his wife have been married for 39 years and have 2 married sons and a daughter. They also have 6 grandchildren. In Pat’s spare time, he enjoys outdoor activities, woodworking, scrimshaw and pysaky, the art of Ukrainian egg decorating.
Pat began his remarks describing his contact with Russian visitors to the Ketchikan Rotary Club and an amusing tale of one visitor’s photography of a trash can labeled “KGB” as the property of Ketchikan Gateway Borough. Alaska and Louisiana are the only states that do not call their first-order administrative subdivisions “counties.”
Pat then went on to tell how he got into healthcare administration following his enlistment into the USCG and his aptitude testing. On that basis, he chose training as a Hospital Corpsman. He was eventually commissioned in the Navy, and opted for a Master’s Degree course at Baylor University in the Health Care Administration field. Although he initially missed direct patient care, he found he could influence the health care of a great many people as a Medical Service Corps officer. Since then he has absolutely loved the field of Health Care Administration!
Pat passed around some architectural drawings of the current $5 million clinic construction in progress at the corner of Ahsahka Road and Hospital Drive. Enabled by the longer term County property lease approved in the recent County election, CVH will, in about a year, have a new outpatient clinic. The clinic will allow an increase in local employment and improved continuity of care. The current facility will also have an increase in hospital space. Thus, Pat envisions that the improvements will enable improved medical care so that people who now go to Lewiston for primary care can now receive that care locally.
No taxpayer money is being used in the new construction since Essentia Health is footing the cost.
Site of new clinic construction
In response to a series of questions, Pat Branco discussed the myriad number of health insurance policies and plans people have as an explanation for variations in costs from one healthcare facility to the next. He also noted that he is prevented by the Sherman Antitrust Act from requesting comparative lab and x-ray charges at other facilities.
Lastly, Pat noted that CVH is designated as a “Critical Access Hospital.” [Editor Note: “a critical access hospital (CAH) is a rural primary health care hospital that gives limited outpatient and inpatient hospital services to people in rural areas. CAH offers essential services to Medicare patients and their services are reimbursed by Medicare on a reasonable cost basis. It was established under the CAH program to improve rural health care access and to reduce hospital closures.” (http://definitions.uslegal.com)] Thus, under this program, CVH receives Federal reimbursement of 50% of the cost to treat Medicare patients, plus 1% on 55% of the cost. Even so, CVH and St. Mary’s Hospitals each write of about a $1 million of uncollected costs yearly.
Thank you so much for talking with the Orofino Rotary Club, Mr. Branco! We appreciated your discussion! We look forward to see more of you within our Rotary community!
Next week, Mr. Randy Martz will drive upriver from the LC Valley to discuss the Highway/Rail Grade Crossing Safety Education Program. Come join us at the Ponderosa each Friday! To know us is to love Rotary!
The RYLA Application Form can be downloaded from the Download Section on the lower right side of the main page of the website, and then printed. (Editor)
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