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CEO Retained - Hospital Board Extends Contract

POSTED May 3, 2011 8:47 p.m.

During the closed session of the Oak Valley Hospital Board meeting on April 27, voting members agreed to extend the contract of Oak Valley Hospital CEO John Friel until February 2012 to ensure the efficient transition into the hospital’s new building.

Board President Wendell Chun, in a prepared statement, said the governing body believed Friel should continue leading the organization through the critical conversion phase and was recommending the extension of Friel’s CEO contract through February 2012. Chun added the board was prepared to work closely with Friel throughout the process.

Chun acknowledged that the topic of the contract extension had been a major issue of discussion by the community during board meetings. Both Chun and Friel agreed they were ready to work with the governing board in moving on and focusing on the hospital’s transition.

“Unfortunately, the speculation about my contract extension has been a major distraction for all concerned,” said Friel. “The board and I believe it is important to move beyond that distraction so that we all focus on the mission of the hospital district. Our mission to provide quality healthcare to the residents of the district is far more important than either of our personal agendas.”

During the public portion of the meeting, Chun addressed that he and the board were in support of Catholic Healthcare West and its continued affiliation with Oak Valley Hospital.

CHW Representative Don Wiley stated CHW is committed to fulfilling the three years left on the 15-year agreement but at the end of the term, CHW and Oak Valley Hospital would need to re-evaluate the fit and could negotiate a new agreement.

Dr. Edward Chock, along with Hospital CFO Wayne Mills, presented an update on the hospital’s “Computerized Physician Order Entry” system that was initiated into service on April 19.

The entry system allows physicians to input orders of procedure, medications, diet restrictions, and communications electronically rather than on paper.

“This is something that is going to standardize the way we write orders and the way orders are set up,” said Chock. “Computerized order entry is a radical change.”

The $113,000 system is part of a $3.2 million information technology upgrade within the hospital. According to Mills, $108,000 of the cost is recovered from Medi-Cal and Medicare reimbursements.

“This system is also safer,” said Chock. “Our handwriting doesn’t have to be interpreted, and we know what a doctor’s writing is like.”

The comment brought laughs from the audience.

Mickey Peabody of the Measure H oversight committee presented the board the final report as the new construction nears completion.

In other items, Friel announced that recruitment for the replacement of departing CFO Mills was narrowed to two candidates. Friel added both candidates were considered “strong” and had experience in hospital district finances. Secondary interviews are scheduled for this week.

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