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The Board of Brown County Commissioners met in regular session with the following members present: Chairman Dwight A. Kruse, Keith Olsen, and Richard L. Lehmkuhl.

The Brown County Commission heard an update from the Hiawatha Community Hospital CEO at the regular Monday morning meeting.

CEO John Broberg updated the commissioners on COVID screening, the COVID — or the West Clinic, hospital finances, physician recruitment and more. Broberg informed the commissioners that the mobile clinic was started Monday, April 27 and what initially was a clinic in a tent was moved into the former Searight clinic. He said the hospital has seen more than 1,000 patients since the mobile clinic opened.

He also told the commissioners the hospital intended to continue the screening process in the lobby and everyone is required to take a face covering. They are recruiting two full time staff for the screening table, as with other departments increasing their volume coverage for the screening table has been a challenge.

As of Monday, Broberg reported 145 positive COVID cases in the county and 2,053 COVID line calls as of the previous Thursday. He said the COVID clinic continues to be very busy, especially with school back in session. The number of patients seen in September was double the number of patients seen in August.

He told commissioners that if a patient is tested through the Kansas Department of Health and Environment through the mobile clinic, then the test is free and patients will be charged an office call only. He said if the test is sent to a private lab, then there is a charge.

He encouraged the community and the commission to back safety practices, which are wearing a mask, social distancing and hand washing to keep COVID cases low.

Physician recruitment is moving along as the committee participated in a virtual recruitment event Sept. 23. A representative with the Kansas Recruitment and Retention Center will be at the hospital Oct. 23.

He reported that a new CT scanner was purchased through the bond funds and will be delivered Oct. 26 and operational by Nov. 4. During the transition, a mobile CT will be available.

Broberg reported for the month of August, the gross revenue was down by $274,000 compared to last month and 4 percent less than August 2019. he said contract services, supplies and staffing continues to be higher than last year. The hospital is continuing to work through BKD on the use of stimulus funds, the Payroll Protection Program and the Accelerated Medicare Payment.

He reported the annual Hospital Foundation Golf Tournament was Aug. 22 with 29 teams raising more than $11,000 to improve the HVAC system in the OB Department.

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