C. M. H. not out of the woods...yet
Rod Burrus, CEO, of Cimarron Memorial Hospital and Nursing Home would be the first to agree that the facility isn't free and clear...yet. (See Burrus' column The Vital Signs elsewhere in this paper.) However, he does think the facility has some breathing room.
“Everyone in the hospital has been working hard. I'm proud of them, I just can't say enough about these individuals,” Burrus said.
“According to Joe's figures (CFO Joe Gaurotte) we dropped our accounts payable from $440 thousand to $268 thousand,” Burrus said.
Burrus then explained that Garoutte, as of last Friday had resigned his position to go into the ministry.
“Joe told me that for several years he had been hearing the call to preach. So we got together and decided that was what he should do.”
In the meantime, Burrus has taken over Garoutte's duties, while waiting on the results of ads run in Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas and New Mexico in an effort to fill the position.
He has also contacted an Oklahoma collections agency and the hospital will soon become more aggressive in pursuing past due accounts.
“We've made September's payroll,” Burrus said with pride. “So along about Oct. 1 our employees should get their checks.”
However, after about two weeks without any patients, Burrus admits that what the hospital needs is residents.
But, low hospital census or not, Burrus is often reminded of the impact made by hospital and its staff on the county's residents.
“I walked into a business here in town and a woman came up to me and told me that she credited Dr. Yoga and Cimarron Memorial for having saved her daughter's life. Her daughter had been ill and Dr. Yoga was able to make a diagnosis and referral that saved her life,” Burrus said.
In an effort to up the hospital population, Burrus is next trying to begin offering more services. An arrangement has been made with Dr. Paul Wheeler to lease G.I. scopes that he owns and the plan is to send Dr. Yoga to a three week mini residency on endoscopies.
“In August, the plan was to stabilize the hospital. In September I have begun looking for more physicans,” Burrus said.
“I want us to be able to soon do scopes, and minor surgeries using locals (anesthetics) or a spinal block,” Burrus added. “But, I also want to take baby steps. I'd rather do that than invest money and find out it can't work.
Burrus said he is excited by the money that has been donated to help the hospital purchase new computers.
On a more somber note, Burrus spoke of the recent death of former hospital board member Richard Hitchings, a man with whom Burrus had clashed.
“Richard's passing hit these folks hard. They had cared for him throughout his stay; we even had some grief counselors come in to help the employees mourn his passing and so they (the employees) could have some closure.
“It (The argument with Hitchings) wasn't personal. I just did what I thought was necessary to stabilize the hospital. I made a commitment to Richard before he died, that no one would ever forget what he did for this hospital. In the spring of 2005 we will have a spot dedicated to him in our memorial Garden. He loved roses, I'm adamant that we'll have roses,” Burrus said.
Boise City News, P.O. Box 278