Accounting consultant Rich Rico gave the Wallowa County Health Care District board some good news at the district's monthly meeting Monday morning. He said that combined gross patient service revenue was ahead of the forecasted projection and that year-to-date revenue remains ahead of budget by $165,059, or by 10.2 percent.

He was reporting figures for both the month of August, the second month of the fiscal year, and the fiscal year as a whole.

"In effect the month of August went really well compared to budget," said Rico.

Hospital CEO Larry Davy reported some more good news, saying that a seven month personnel vacancy for a laboratory technician has been filled through a job finding service. The individual came out of Pendleton and was hired one week after the service was given the job. The service was paid $3,000 for finding the technician. Davy also said that an interview has been set up for Friday for a radiology technician position that has also been vacant seven months. Director of Nursing Gail Johnson shared similar news about her department, noting that an OR technician position had been filled and that there are several applications for nursing positions.

It was announced by Davy that Tricia Grant has been named to replace Melody Williams as director of the Wallowa Valley Care Center. She had previously been named to the position on an interim basis.

Davy explained how the district can save up to 30 percent on service contracts by combining such contracts with USCS Equipment Technology Solutions. He said that the hospital will phase into the program as service contracts become due.

The board voted to begin construction on an oxygen building as prescribed by the State Fire Marshall. The $30,000 building is being built to protect patient and facility safety, said Davy.

The hospital has applied for and received a grant in the amount of $9,765 for facility or equipment improvement to better patient care. The grant was received from the federal office of Rural Health Policy and can be put toward a wide range of uses. It was received Sept. 16.

It was announced at the meeting that the district officially became half owner of the Wallowa Valley Mall earlier this month. The district will place new surgeon Dr. Robert Berecz in the Mall space.

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