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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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January 15, 2014     Feather River Bulletin
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January 15, 2014
 

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Feather River Bulletin Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014 5A PDH: Reserves to ::over $2.6 million in uncollected bills from page 1A Bad debt The hospital board approved $2.6 million in bad debt reserves to offset monies that couldn't be collected from self-pay patients or bills that were filed too late to be eligible for reimbursement. Chief Financial Officer Cindy Crosslin told the board that she hoped this would be the last time this would happen, but this is not the first time that the hospital has been in this position. "How do we break the cycle?" Crosslin asked. The hospital has already taken some steps by reorganizing its financial departments and hiring outside firms to help with collections and billing. Now staff will make more changes, including sending unpaid balances to a collections agency in 180 days rather than three years, so that there is a better chance to capture that revenue. Crosslin stressed that accounts are only sent to collections when a patient ignores a bill. "We won't send you to a collection agency if you're making payment on your account; send in anything you can," Crosslin said. Board member John Kimmel, who serves on the finance committee, said that the new six-month time period would be done on a trial basis. Another change to be implemented is that planned procedures, such as a colonoscopy, will need to be paid in full prior to service. "That's just like every other hospital," director Satterfield said. Director Valerie Flanigan said that tlis would require patients to know in advance what their insurance will pay and what their responsibility will be. Since the hospital doesn't charge interest, individuals aren't penalized when they don't pay their bills in a timely manner, which offers little incentive to prioritize those payments. In addition to making changes to achieve more timely collections, Crosslin said staff is working to ensure that bills are submitted to insurance companies and Medi-Cal and Medicare in a timely manner. Timeframes vary depending on the entity and range from 90 days to one year. While the board approved the $2.6 million that Crosslin requested, members weren't pleased with the situation. "Past timely filings were preventable loss," Satterfield said. "This is not acceptable performance for our organization." Crosslin said that though many of the problems arose during a past administration, "We still have to take ownership; I take my team's responsibility very seriously." For a later date During the public comment portion of the meeting, former hospital employee Rick Foster asked the board to discuss the clarity of its bills andthe wait time at the clinics. Foster said community members have approached him about both topics. Because the topics were not on the agenda, they could not be addressed during the meeting. New director of nursing Dan Schuessler is the new director of nursing for Plumas District Hospital. He had only been on the job four days, but spoke briefly to the board. Schuessler said he had worked as a traveler nurse for many years in both small and large hospitals and this had been his favorite. Clinic redesign To accommodate the arrival of a new physician in August, as well as the desire of some specialists to spend more time in Quincy, the schedules and office space of some physicians at both North Fork and Quincy Family Medicine will be adjusted. Firefighters recognized During the portion of the meeting reserved for directors' comments, the board recognized the hospital's excellent paramedic staff as well as local firefighters. They placed special emphasis on the performance during the Pizza Factory fire, which leveled haft a block, but could have been far worse. "Not only did they do a remarkable job," Satterfield said, "there wasn't one injury." BURGLARIES, from page 1A of thefts" in the Quincy area. The alert advised residents to lock the doors of their vehicles and residences and report suspicious activity to the sheriffs office. Hagwood said it was his decision to send the alert. "The situation became such that these weren't isolated events," Hagwood said. "It was an epidemic." Hagwood said he is seeing an increase in thefts throughout the county. But he said it was particularly alarming in the greater Quincy area. In last week's burglary at the charter school, the burglar stole five computers and damaged other computer equipment. The break-in left the school without phone and Internet service. According to the school's executive director, Taletha Washburn, the building's alarm was triggered about 2:40 a.m. Thursday. Washburn said whoever broke in appeared to have an idea where to go. "It makes us very sad," Washburn said. "I'm a very, very trusting person, so something like this makes us feel very violated." Washburn said the burglar (or burglars) entered the building at two Ralph Chico Cardiel III different places. A window was broken at one of the entry points. From there, the burglars stole computers -- three netbooks and two laptops -- and pulled random wires out of the server. They also took the server's backup hard drive and a memory chip from the phone system. The perpetrators also raided the refrigerator, stealing items like ketchup and coffee. The California Highway Patrol responded to the scene and found no one in the building. The damage in the server room knocked out the school's Internet, phone, fax and printers for several hours Thursday morning. "We have such responsive tech people," Washburn She00Ptem Robert Appley said, adding that technicians had the systems up and running quickly Thursday morning. However, the stolen phone chip left the school without a phone voicemail system. The voicemail was still down as of Friday night. Washburn said there was no disruption to Thursday's classes. The school break-in came on the heels of two other burglaries. During the Jan. 7 Pinache burglary and the Dec. 31, 2013, Great Northern break-in, burglars stole jewelry and coins. Great Northern lost $7,300 worth of merchandise. The sheriff is asking anyone with information about the recent burglaries or break-ins to call 283-6300. QCSD, from page 1A 'collection rates do not reflect the district's contribution and need to be addressed during budget planning. Waiver for water and sewer rates for fire victims denied The district's legal counsel, Jan Klement, was on hand to address a request from Cornerstone Learning Center owner Tommy Miles for a fee waiver. Miles' recently purchased and renovated downtown building was destroyed in the Dec. 15, 2013, fire that began in the Pizza Factory on Main Street. He requested a waiver of the base rate for water and sewer services until the reconstruction project begins, "probably in the spring of 2014." Klement said he was very sorry for Miles' loss, but that the board-approved ordinance regarding base rate fees was irrevocable under existing law. GM Sullivan explained that every customer whose home or business lies within 200 feet of the district's water main must pay the base rate whether they use the water and sewer or not. An ad hoc committee was formed a couple months ago to look into the board's policies regarding sewer rates. The board decided it should look into rate calculations for special Mark Sexton00 [ Band iday, January 17th Coming Up: Super Bowl Party Sunday, February 2nd circumstances such as destroyed or abandoned structures, temporary "snowbird" absences and other anomalies. AVCSA treatment and disposal joint committee The board agreed that it likes the concept of working with East Quincy Serviqes District board members to establish wastewater treatment and disposal rates. A draft proposal outlining a methodology for establishing the rates was written by QCSD director Jim Bequette and submitted to both boards for comments and approval. The matter is slated for the agenda of the next American Valley Community Services Authority board meeting, the date of which has yet to be determined. Chairman of the AVCSA bylaws committee Denny Churchill gave a recap of the committee meeting that took place Jan. 8. Churchill said that the current bylaws of the AVCSA have not been in line with the AVCSA's function since the consolidation failed. The committee discussed pursuing a request for a quote from attorney Andrew Morris to rewrite the bylaws to be more in accordance with the AVCSA's purpose. After EQSD directors weighed in on the merits of the joint powers authority in light of the failure to consolidate, it was decided to hold off on moving ahead with drawing up new bylaws. Board members agreed that unification was ultimately the best way to find a solution for American Valley's wastewater treatment and disposal. Directors noted that the EQSD board appears more open to the idea of unification than it has been for several years. The next board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 13, at 9 a.m. FREE Testing r vo.r Battery, hargi00 System00 Starter Frank's Garage 9 Bresciani Lane, Quincy 927-8733 Graeagle Chevron Forecast: Need Tires? Let us take care of you! Why? We have the industry's leading technology in our new tire machines! Competitive pricing? Graeagle Chevron has recently partnered with two of the country's biggest tire distributors allowing us to get you nearly every brand at great prices. So when its time, think of us and we will get you set up right. Call or E-Mail us Today for Quotes & Ordering at 836-2309 CHEVRON@PLAYGRAEAGLE.COM Open Tuesday - Sunday 8am - 5pm Richard K. 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