Community Round Table focuses on keeping the community healthy
Every third Monday of the month, Philip Public Television hosts a Community Round Table that can be viewed on their Facebook page or on Golden West Channel 91) that brings community leaders together to discuss various topics.
The November Community Round Table panel consisted of Roger Porch, Moderator; Vonda Hamill, Philip Health Area Health Foundation Funds Development Director; Denise Buchholz Nursing Home Director of Nursing, and Jeremy Schultes, Philip Health Services (PHS) CEO to discuss COVID-19 generally and from the perspective of those at PHS, an update on the Scotchman Living Center, and the status of the foundation and long-term funding.
Buchholz kicked off the discussion by providing an update on COVID and how PHS is handling it. Buccholz stated the facility was first “introduced” to COVID on March 13. Shortly after, many hours were spent researching the pandemic and what this meant for the facility in order to be better prepared. Buccholz stated there was a brief period in the summer where the facility was starting to re-open. Following the State Department of Health guidelines, Buchholz said visitation has progressed so much since the summer. PHS has allowed for in-person visits under certain circumstances, as well as private visits with social distancing, the use of masks and pre-visit screenings.
Schultes echoed Buchholz saying there was a very fast stream of information that began flowing in during March, coming in from different entities. Schultes stated that the administration took a step back and sifted through the information and picked out what best suited the Philip facilities, patients, team members and community. “Whether it was a loved one being in the hospital or a loved one residing in the nursing facility, I think it was very, very difficult for families to go that length of time without residents and patients being able to see their family members,” he said. Schultes ensured that regular communication is had with residents, patients and their families and though the restrictions have not relaxed, they have listened to the requests of families and incorporated changes within the facility. “I’ve not seen anything like it,” Schultes said, regarding COVID and his experience in the healthcare industry. “I hope that we don’t see anything like it again, because it really disconnected people from their loved ones, and that was probably the most difficult situation,” he added.
Schultes said weekly, staff members are lost due to various reasons, whether exposed to or testing postive for COVID. He said that CARES Act funding has assisted PHS with the ability to seek outside assistance while waiting for staff members to return to the facility.
Extensive discussion was held on COVID, experiences (whether personal or through extended family or friends) with COVID, treatment options and the potential of PHS receiving COVID vaccines. The latter portion of the round table focused on the progress of the Scotchman Living Center.
Schultes stated this project is probably the smoothest one he has ever been a part of, estimating that they are close to one-fifth complete with the project, which is a three-phase project. The portion currently being constructed is phase 1. The addition will provide rooms for 25 residents (private and semi-private rooms), including the memory care unit and a dining room. He said the completion date of the phase 1 addition is projected for spring of 2021, though currently the project is sitting at 30-40 days behind schedule due to weather and COVID delays (which were expected).
The discussion transitioned to the capital campaign and long-term foundation funding for the facilities. Schultes stated PHS received U.S. Department of Agriculture loan approval, though funding won’t be tapped into until the use of facility contributions and capital campaign funds are fully utilized (estimated at 3.4 million). Hamill stated that she is confident over 95% of the pledged contributions have been paid. A confidence which wasn’t recommended in initial contribution discussions. Hamill said she was told to bank on only 25% of the pledges to be paid and the community has far exceeded that recommendation.
Discussion was held on the potential of the foundation transitioning to a long-term account for future facility expenses.
“Our community has a special way of making these things happen,” he said. “Many hands make light work and it was really special to see our community come together on something like this.”