PSMC takes steps toward upgrading mammography services


By Randi Pierce | Staff Writer

Following the recommendation of its Facilities Committee, on Feb. 22 the Upper San Juan Health Service District Board of Directors unanimously approved moving forward with the purchase of 3-D mammography equipment at Pagosa Springs Medical Center (PSMC).

The effort to purchase the equipment began in November 2020, when the board approved a fundraising campaign to bring 3-D mammography to PSMC.

According to the resolution approved by the board on Feb. 22, “received generous donations from its donors and has sufficient cash on-hand to pay for the 3D mammo equipment” and issued a request for proposal for 3-D mammography equipment, ancillary equipment, biopsy equipment and specimen imaging.

The resolution further indicates that PSMC staff, including the contract radiologist, advised the board pursue the lowest-cost response, from Hologic, both because of the cost and “because of its rating ...”

The cost associated with that equipment is $429,412, according to the resolution.

Facility renovations to house the equipment are anticipated to cost a maximum of $30,000, the resolution notes.

On Tuesday, PSMC CEO Dr. Rhonda Webb explained the process is being impacted by supply chain issues, with the equipment delivery currently at least 15 weeks out.

Until it arrives and the construction takes place, Webb noted PSMC will continue using its current mammography equipment.

2021 accomplishments

At the same meeting, Webb presented PSMC’s 2021 accomplishments to the board, touching on topics such as the COVID-19 pandemic, financial stability, clinical services and more.

Those accomplishments are also outlined in a six-page document that was provided to the board.

“We got a lot done,” Webb said.

Among those things Webb told the board were that, during 2021, PSMC administered approximately 8,804 COVID vaccine shots and PSMC lab staff processed 4,602 COVID tests, with 4,578 of those processed in-house.

The report also notes that PSMC EMS responded to 2,131 calls and maintained operations “despite significant staffing challenges” and that members of the EMS team were recognized by the Emergency Medical Services Association of Colorado.

“We are in a very stable financial position,” Webb told the board, with the document stating, “Despite COVID, at the end of 2021 PSMC is in the most stable financial position it has been in since the hospital opened in 2008 as evidenced by PSMC’s days cash on hand at the end of December was 135.95 (at the end of 2020, PSMC had 61.1 days cash on hand).”

The report outlines that PSMC refinanced its 2006 bonds, which were associated with the initial construction of the hospital, resulting in a net savings of $1,838,409.

Other business

In other business at the Feb. 22 meeting, the board convened an executive session about PSMC’s annual report of 2021 peer-review activities and the annual evaluation of Webb.

Following the executive session, the board unanimously approved the annual report of peer-reviewed activities (which must remain confidential per state statute), as well as amending Webb’s contract to be consistent with latest case law.

According to the resolution on the matter, “the CEO’s contract contains provisions requiring forfeiture of her paid time off at separation from employment and at the end of each year ...”

That resolution further explains the Colorado Supreme Court concluded in a 2021 case “that employers do not have to offer vacation pay and employers offering vacation pay can cap the amount of vacation pay; however, employers cannot require an employee to forfeit such vacation pay even at termination of employment. Further, any contractual agreement that purports to forfeit earned vacation pay is void.”

The approved resolution adds, “the Board of Directors and the CEO desire to modify her contract regarding the forfeiture provisions to be consistent with Colorado law.”