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Kiowa County Hospital District Votes to Offer CEO Contract to Beth Bell

By Betsy Barnett

October 6, 2022

At their regularly scheduled monthly meeting the Kiowa County Hospital District (KCHD) voted unanimously to offer a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) contract to Beth Bell from Salt Lake City, Utah. The board settled on Bell after months of searching for a candidate who would be a good fit for the goals and mission of the district. The board interviewed several excellent candidates through the process and on Tuesday night whole-heartedly chose Bell.

Bell is no stranger to Eads and Kiowa County as she grew up in the Haswell area and graduated from Eads High School. Her parents are Paul and Barb Stavely and grandparents are the late John A. and Elda Stavely, all formerly from Haswell. Bell is currently the Administrative Director of the Primary Children’s Hospital and Clinics at the Miller Campus in Salt Lake City, Utah.

According to board president Matt Prince who stated in Tuesday’s unanimous vote, “I very much do approve of this nomination,” Bell was given the first draft of the CEO’s contract on Friday. She was in town over the weekend looking at housing possibilities, as well.

Prince further indicated, “If we can come to a contractual agreement the board will hold a special meeting to finalize the appointment.”

In the meantime, Bell will be communicating with the current interim CEO of the district Jeannette Filipi who will be instrumental in the negotiations.

It has been nearly a year now since the catastrophic October 27, 2021 hospital board meeting when the board’s division resulted in an exodus of leadership from the district. At that meeting the KCHD lost their longtime CEO Char Korrell and has been without a CEO ever since. Filipi has been standing in admirably as Interim CEO since March of this year.

The board of directors then heard reports from the varying departments of the district.

CEO Filipi was on a Zoom call as she was out of town for the meeting. She informed the board that the EMS training building located in the old senior citizen’s building on Maine Street in Eads was coming a long and Russ Watson, EMS Director has been busy organizing a 10-week EMT course as part of the hospital’s efforts to recruit more trained personnel in response to the shortage of EMTs in the county. Filipi was pleased to inform the board that currently there were 11 who were signed up for the course and she hoped more would come aboard before the start of the course in October.

Board member Karl Eikenberg asked Interim CEO Filipi if the district would be complying with the CDC’s recommendations that masks were no longer required in the medical facilities. Filipi responded she was aware that guideline had come out and she was in the process of reviewing the documentation. Filipi indicated that currently, the entire district is required to wear masks so as not to discriminate against those who are not vaccinated.

CFO Shannon Dixon presented the board with a copy of last year’s budget as a starting place to begin work on the 2023 budget. Dixon indicated most of what they were looking at would change but using the previous year’s numbers was a good guide for them to work from.

The board gave the CFO and CNO Rachel Bletzacker a ceiling of $54,000 to purchase a new van with a warranty that was handicapped accessible for two wheelchairs, had a lift, and was versatile enough to drive short, as well as long distances for transporting residents. Both officers indicated they had a vehicle lined up and would try to negotiate that price.

The board discussed with Eads Medical Clinic Manager Shaelynn Rouse about the performance of the clinic as the revenue is down somewhat. Rouse informed the board that the ER visits are up this year as the testing has been conducted in the hospital instead of the clinic. She feels confident that slowly but surely the clinic will get back on the right track. Rouse also indicated she’s been working on a diabetes workshop for community members who are impacted by the disease.

The board also discussed the progress of the housing project located at the corner of Luther Street and 12th Street just north of the medical facilities. The duplex is making good progress as the electrical work is currently being installed. The board also discussed the financing options with Dixon who said she has interest rate quotes from GN-Bank in Eads and Eastern Colorado Bank in Kit Carson. The district will use their current Certificates of Deposit as collateral and both banks are willing to offer a good interest rate based on the rate the CDs are earning.

The board clarified that the loan, in whatever form they finally settle on, will not extend past 10 years.

Finally, the board was presented with some options on the state of Colorado’s new law concerning the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) that requires employers of a certain level of employees to deduct .45% of their paycheck each pay period. The employee must also deduct .45% as well.

Filipi said it works something like unemployment insurance at the state level and can be used for employees to take significant periods of time off of work for an array of medical reasons including for family members. Filipi told the board the medical facilities can opt out of it at present time, and she would suggest they do that at this time. The board agreed to watch the situation and make a decision when required.

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