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June 6, 2020

3/27/2020 1:02:00 PM
UHH board: Hospital in good position to deal with crisis

It was less than a month ago - on March 1 - when members of the community gathered at Upland Hills Health to celebrate the completion of the more than two-year renovation project at the Dodgeville-based healthcare facility.
That completion couldn't have come at a better time, as the larger spaces give UHH officials considerably more options as they prepare to deal with the possible onslaught of coronavirus patients in the weeks ahead.
The new portions of the hospital coupled with the vacated areas that had yet to be repurposed have been equipped to house many more patients than could have been housed a year ago.
Jim Massey, the recently elected UHH Board of Trustees chairman, said the board and hospital officials had been considering a variety of options for the vacated spaces before the coronavirus crisis reared its ugly head.
"We are so very fortunate that the construction crews have left, the dust has been swept away and that we have these beautiful facilities to help us deal with this crisis," Massey said. "The new hospital gives us tremendous flexibility that we didn't have a year or two ago."
Massey said he has been listening in to daily Incident Command Team meetings at the hospital every weekday, which include about 20 hospital, public health and county officials, and he has been impressed by the level of preparedness the team has shown.
"During these meetings the participants tackle the issue from every angle imaginable and come up with common-sense solutions to every problem that is presented," he said. "There are many changes that have been and are being made in the services that are available at the hospital, and as a result there have been some painful staffing decisions that have had to be made. But these decisions will make us stronger once we get to the other side of this crisis."
Jody Vanderloo, a 12-year UHH board member and chairwoman the past nine years, said it is important for community members to know that the hospital is in a good financial position to handle this crisis.
"As we have been forced to reduce outpatient services to gear up for a possible influx of inpatients, our revenue has been reduced quite dramatically," Vanderloo said. "Fortunately we have a healthy bottom line so we will be able to weather this storm. We recently had our annual audit and the auditors said they were very impressed by our financial strength when compared to other hospitals they work with. We are definitely in this for the long haul."
Massey said it should be reassuring to community members that their rural hospital is financially stable as it faces the coronavirus crisis.
"To me the most important thing is that we have a tremendous group of employees at Upland Hills Health," he said. "When I talk to people about their experiences at the hospital, it isn't necessarily the beautiful facilities that they talk about. It's the caring people. We are very fortunate to have a team of compassionate, dedicated people who come to work every day with a common goal of providing quality care for our patients. We should feel very fortunate to have these people within our midst."

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