Holbert bows out, Matt Roberts takes her seat on CMH Board

CMH Board meets with Dr. Jimmy Stone

By c.F. David

After two years and four months, Dwilene Holbert has had enough, she has resigned form the governing board of Cimarron Memorial Hospital , and businessman Matt Roberts has been sworn to her position.

Asked why she chose to step aside, Holbert said, “Well I got kinda bummed out and was losing hope. I don't think that a member of that board needs those thoughts.” “We need a board member who has hope,” she added.

“And Matt had called me and said he was interested in serving on the board. Energy, he'll bring new energy. I think Matt has worked out there and knows some of the problems,” Holbert said.

“I think what really discouraged me was when Patsy resigned, and we were going to have to find a new C.E.O.”

“Then Brim discouraged me. Of course after that meeting...I'd already committed to stepping down. But with the Doctors Stone, I can see some positive things happening.”

“It is a concern to some, but not to me that our next administrator might also be a doctor. As an administrator, a doctor can see where revenue needs to come from in order to keep the doors open.”

“Those Federal funds that Tammy Avent was talking about, with the Kellogg Foundation could encourage doctors to come here to pay off their medical loans,” Holbert said hopefully.

“I know people the decisions the board made...with a lot of this stuff going on with the doctors and nurses. Until you've served on that board you have no idea.”

“Everybody ought to have to serve on that board once in their life.

“If we don't get revenue. If we don't get a doctor that generates revenue, outpatient, inpatient, labs, when they are needed.... That sales tax has kept the doors open for the last two years and four months. We cannot keep borrowing money to keep them open,” Holbert said.

“We need equipment, improvements...”

Medicaid...our payments from the state are a joke. I don't understand why our legislators cannot support rural hospitals like those in Kansas , New Mexico and Colorado do. From now on that's what I'm going to spend my energy doing, trying to get money for rural hospitals.”

Matt Roberts

Roberts is a Certified Nurse Assistant and has worked in the hospital and nursing home.

“I volunteered,” he admits. I've been to several meetings, talked to one member who was burned out sooo.”

“The board needs to listen to the community and to the people at the hospital. Those who work there, those who live there,” Roberts said.

“We are at a critical point again doctor wise. We need another doctor, a Physician Assistant.”

“ I'm going to do my best to see if we can get it on its feet.”

Roberts does have concerns with Dr. Stone's idea of a physician administrator.

“I don't know how you could have a doctor as a C.E.O., but I'd like to hear what they have to say. I've got questions.

“I'm willing to listen and learn and try to help the facility stay open.”

Asked if he felt the hospital needed a presence in Keyes to draw back lost patients, Roberts said, “Maybe so, but we've got to get this clinic covered first.

Board meeting

The Cimarron Memorial Board met Tuesday afternoon.

Chairman Ralph Warren began by introducing Matt Roberts as a new board member.

Warren then turned to Dr. Jimmy Stone and asked how to proceed.

“I think we'd need to spend some time asking each other questions,” Stone replied.

“Perhaps some of the more sensitive questions would need to be in Executive Session,” Stone added.

Stone began by telling the board they needed a body of providers to make the hospital viable.

“You need to rebuild the confidence of the community. The viability, the usability of the hospital.” He added.

“You would address the specialities? asked Lois Nelle Burkhalter.

Stone replied yes.

“One of the easiest are hernias. Then cosmetic surgery, and that is money up front.

Urology is a good service for a community this size,” Stone added.

“Orthopedics, on the other hand might be something we can't do. Maybe some outpatient, like carpel tunnel.”

“Cardiology would be an option if we could fill that clinic for them.”

“You gotta buff up the staffing and equipment,” Stone continued.

“We went through the equipment side the other night, it's reasonable.”

“What's important is patient care, that's a nursing issue.”

“Then you have to sell the community.”

Stone moved on to the community's need for a doctor.

“Doctor Wheeler is a gem, and he's been here a long time. In communities like this often it's not as much about your credentials as your personality. You would want someone with at least three-four-five years of experience. They might turn out to be a long term player and become another Doctor Wheeler.”

“This [medicine] is a customer service business. It's all about the patient's perception. If you have a patient with a need for urinalysis, walk him in the door, with the paper work ready and send him right to the lab, and have him on his way.

“To do this we'll need tough decisions from the administration side and from the board,” he said.

Warren asked about attracting patients from other areas.

“To go head to head with another hospital it takes money and commitment.”

Stone explained that to make surgery work here a rotation of anesthetists would be needed from Guymon, Elkhart, Kan., and Clayton, N.M. and perhaps Liberal, Kan.

Again questioned on how he and his wife Monica might swing duty as Co-Administrators, Stone went back to a three day, two day switch off.

“It's not going to be an easy task,” he admitted. “But I think we can divide and conquer it.”

Before going into Executive Session, Stone recommended a trial period of six months.

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