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BREAKING NEWS

UHD board talks progress and change

By Staff | Feb 8, 2010

United Hospital District board members were given a dose of progress and change at their meeting on Tuesday.

Administrator Jeff Lang says he’ll start looking for a new chief financial officer soon.

Dan Rabideaux, who was hired in September, has accepted a job in Wadena. His last day at UHD will be Feb. 15.

“We are still evaluating internally if we’ll advertise for the position or use a search firm,” says Lang.

Until someone is hired, UHD plans to contract with a person who served as interim CFO prior to the hiring of Rabideaux.

The news of Rabideaux leaving came after he gave a report on how the district performed financially last year.

Rabideaux told board members December was a “very, very healthy month,” having an overall operating income of $213,000 and finishing with a net income of $66,000.

In 2009, the district had an unaudited net income of $941,000. The past two years, UHD’s profit has been around $2 million.

“It would have been nice to make the $1 million mark. It’s still pretty healthy when compared to other organizations of similar size,” Rabideaux says.

Work on the district’s two multi-million projects is progressing.

Lang gave a slide presentation of photographs taken of the adolescent treatment center in Winnebago, which show the foundation, exterior walls, roof and windows are finished.

“It looks like a small community onto itself. We wanted a building that fits the neighborhood,” he says.

Lang told the board members it’s hard to appreciate the size of the building, until you actually stand in the living area.

“It’s huge in there. It’s a very nice environment for the kids,” he adds.

The hospital project is “significantly behind” schedule, says Lang, because of the weather.

Workers are still erecting steel framing, with about 98 percent complete.So far, Rabideaux says about $6.6 million of the $10 million in cash UHD has earmarked for both projects has been spent.

Lang says weather will have “minimal impact” on completion of the treatment center, although he wasn’t specific when it would be completed.

“Mid-June is the last date we talked about,” he says. “It could be July or August. It’s a three-month window on either side.”

Renovation and the clinic project on the hospital campus isn’t expected to be completed until February 2012. However, Lang is hoping it is done by September 2011.

“Internally, we’re looking at how we can speed things up,” he says.

Lang also updated the board on the Blue Earth City Council’s decision to have the hospital move its ambulance garage to reach a setback of 50 feet from property lines.

The council determined the contractor, city and hospital officials erred in placing the building at its present location.

Lang has spoken with project architects to determine where the garage can be moved and what the options are.

One option could affect a parking lot and the location of an oxygen tank, which was a concern to residents.

Board member Norm Hall asked Lang if use of the fire hall was being considered.

“At this point in time, all options are not being barred,” he says.

Lang isn’t totally in favor of taking the ambulance garage off campus, mainly because of the response time for crew members.

“Increasing run time is a real concern,” he says. “A six-minute delay, if you are having a heart attack, is really the difference between life and death.”