BIHS seeking new ways to evolve

Thu, 09/27/2018 - 5:15pm

“It’s a good time to be at BIHS,” said Dr. Mark Clark while giving his Medical Director’s report to the Block Island Health Services Board on Monday. Clark noted that the “summer was really busy, and we’re just winding down,” before presenting the numbers: “The year-to-date through August we had 4,124 patient visits for the clinic. That’s compared to last year when there were 3,490 visits.”

“Flights took off 11 people in August,” said Clark. “For Lifestar we had 10 in August. I can tell you qualitatively — these have been really serious, acute cases that were life threatening. I think you would be proud of how the Rescue Squad and the Medical Center and our transports are working to get these sick folks where they need to go.”

Clark said, “In terms of ancillary services, there have been 894 patient visits for Physical Therapy for the year-to-date through August. So that’s pretty big. We’re continuing to refine the program, and will do the program review in October, which will include the budget, and patient surveys that have been collected.”  

Clark noted that the Medical Center’s “behavioral health program is up and running. Dr. Peter Oppenheimer is here, and already has a wait list.” Oppenheimer, who is on-island two days per month, is the new clinical psychologist being shared between the Block Island School and the Medical Center.

Forming ad hoc committees

The BIHS Board has decided that the formation of ad hoc committees to facilitate the attainment of its goals and objectives will best serve the Medical Center as it evolves and grows into the future.

An ad hoc committee by definition is formed for a specific task or objective, and dissolved after the completion of the task or achievement of the objective. The board will have the option of creating committees as needed, and then disbanding them when they complete their tasks.

The topic was raised at the board’s Sept. 24 meeting after Treasurer Pete Tweedy noted that the “adopted bylaws only contain two committees, a nominating committee, and a finance committee; and that puts all of our other existing committees in limbo.” As a result, Tweedy said the board could either “vote to reinstitute” all of its existing committees, or provide for the formation of “ad hoc committees” in its bylaws.

Board member Donna Corey said that other organizations don’t have all these committees noted in their bylaws. She said the board “could set up ad hoc committees to handle various” tasks or needs. “For example: property management, membership, fundraising, professional advisory, etc.”

“Donna, that was the recommendation from our attorney,” said president Cindy Baute, noting that the attorney advised the board to create ad hoc committees.

Board member Bob Greenlee said a professional advisory committee operates in the same capacity as an ad hoc committee.

“I welcome the striking of the past description” of the committees, said fundraising chair Pat Doyle. “I think it was effective years ago when you had a small fundraising effort.” She noted that the current fundraising description in the bylaws “doesn’t really make a lot of sense.”

“I think the ad hoc idea — ad hoc meaning a group appointed to a particular charge — makes a great deal of sense,” said Doyle, “because each year some of the responsibilities we take on are broadened.” Doyle said the committees “should be chosen from year to year.”

Doyle noted that the definition of ad hoc committees meant that they would be dissolved each year. Membership chair Nancy Ruddle, and property management chair Ray Torrey said they didn’t believe that the committees met the definition, as they won’t be dissolved annually.

Seeking clarity on the issue, board member Jim Fiorato said the smaller ad hoc committees would be assigned to a particular task, and then disbanded. He used fundraising as an example, “spreading out the responsibility” across several committees who report to one person.

Tweedy said the board’s attorney noted that, “Over time all of the various committees change their description, or their this and that. You don’t want to be amending the bylaws every time you change them. So you set up these ad hoc committees, and reinstitute them every December. And they are ad hoc committees by definition.”

In response to Tweedy’s comments, Torrey changed his position, and said, “As chair of the property management committee, I have no objection to calling it an ad hoc committee.” Torrey’s remarks elicited laughter from the meeting’s attendees.

“The attorney must have had a good reason for calling them ad hoc committees,” said Torrey. “So, let’s go with it.” A consensus was reached that ad hoc committees could be formed by the board.

Torrey then made the motion that was seconded by Baute. The board voted unanimously to review the proposed language and vote on it at its next meeting. 

New board members

In other news, the board welcomed two new board members at the meeting: Susan Stover and Millie McGinnes. Baute said the board now has a “full complement” of board members.

Baute told The Times after the meeting that, “There are 12 board members. Dr. Clark, as Medical Director, is number 13 and is a voting member of the board.”

The next BIHS board meeting is Oct. 29 at 4 p.m.