Hospital board waits for Bleak

On Wednesday, Dec. 6, the Battle Mountain General Hospital (BMGH) board of trustees planned to discuss an increase in hourly wage for physicians working in the emergency room. Construction was also put on hold until new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jason Bleak started work.

The board of trustees was set to discuss a possible increase for emergency room physicians but tabled the item because Bleak wanted to be present when the board reviewed the issue. Bleak, who will assume his new position and title on Jan. 15, requested the board table the agenda item until he has a better understanding of the budget.

“Jason would like to you table the item and would like to consider it until he gets here. So he can get into the budget and address it later. That would be the most appropriate time to do it. I told him that we were considering the raise amount, but he said 'No, please don’t do that,'” stated interim CEO Kathy Ancho

Construction in the hospital is also going to be put on hold until the middle of January, after CEO Bleak takes control of the hospital. Updates to the information technology (I.T.) room are planned, but everything will remain on hold until Bleak is present.

An I.T. update was provided by Pat Brickley about the x-ray issue with Kingston Health Center.

“As far as our x-ray system, I believe we are good to go. We worked with Deb (Robertson, BMGH radiology department manager), and all our information is now in prognosis,” expressed Brickley about the Kingston Health Center, “It seemed like every time we turned around, there is a new problem. The people there, when they leave the clinic, the patients are happy with our care that we give them. We have a wonderful facility and we would love to have the board come out and see the facility we have in Kingston.”

Brickley said that people wanted to see a doctor they can touch and do not want to go to a clinic where their doctor comes up on a television screen. She stated several patients had told her that it is worth it to them to drive the 180 miles to see a

— See BMGH, Page Five —

(Cont. from Page One)

doctor in person.

“I would encourage anyone to take that trip down to Kingston and visit the clinic. Seeing it will give you a better understanding of providing basic medical services in a remote rural area. Will it ever be a money maker? I have no idea, but with that in mind, anything we could do to promote services down there, we need to do it,” Ancho said.

“I think it is a fabulous little facility and I met with the Physician's Assistant. She is very much on board with starting a diabetes program. The two of us (Dr. Victor Knutzen and Dr. Robin Willcourt) are happy to train her and follow through with the patients. There is huge money generated from programs like that. I also have spoken with a general manager of the mines there and he is very interested in sending patients there,” stated Knutzen

The Kingston Health Center appears to be improving from where they were last year. Although, Brickley said, the process of growth is a hard and slow one for the rural clinic.