Hospital Board discusses pharmacy retail, new house purchase in monthly meeting

The Keokuk County Health Center Board of Trustees convened mid-day on March 29 for their monthly meeting with several things to discuss. On the agenda included items regarding the earlier purchase of the home adjacent to the hospital property, adding a retail aspect by purchasing the local pharmacy in Brothers Market among other items of interest. 

The hospital made a recent purchase when they decided to buy the neighboring home after the previous resident passed away. They had already been looking at purchasing a different home, for the same purposes, but they settled on the closer house upon comparing the expenses needed for either structure. The main use for this recent acquisition will be for sleep studies, which are often done within the hospital itself.

“The primary use would be for sleep studies, but it’s possible that it could be used for other things as well,” Chief Financial Officer Matt Ives said. “Environment wise it’s not quite as suitable in the hospital, youmay not get the quality of sleep needed. This should work out well going forward, and then they can leave in the morning following the study.”

Originally the Board was looking at using the nearby space for a new construction project that would’ve exceeded $1,000,000. To put that into comparison, the purchase of the home was estimated around $175,000. The only large expenses the hospital has yet to take on with the project include outfitting the home, which has three bedrooms, in getting it ready for use in the near future.

“The time-frame would be around April or May to have that service up and running,” Ives said. “This kind of came out of the blue for us, but it’ll be nice for future growth as well.”

The Board Chair suggested a motion to include the emails regarding the house to be included in future Board meetings. The motion passed by unanimous vote from those present.

Another exciting venture the hospital has taken on was buying the corner pharmacy within Brothers Market. The move happened earlier this year and recently concluded with the addition and training of two new pharmacists. The last step was for staff to go into the pharmacy itself and do inventory, as well as update the existing system as needed.

“We wanted to make sure that the pharmacists we hired would be able to work in both the hospital and the pharmacy, so being able to cross train them was huge and will be a big help,” Ives said. “There could be some opportunities to lower costs for some prescriptions in the future.”

It was known for a while that Jack Vallandingham was going to retire, it was just a matter of who would buy it from him and keep the pharmacy going. He approached the Keokuk County Hospital in December, mentioning that some other outside companies were interested in buying it from him as well.

The Board concluded that it would be best to try and keep the local connection, while making it an extension of sorts to the hospital. They were afraid that if one of the outside companies would have bought it, the future of the pharmacy would remain as an unknown, it could stay open or might end up being closed sooner or even moved elsewhere.

“I think the thing we need to celebrate most is the fact that we kept this local,” Chair member Jim Eschenbrenner said. “Some chains or outside companies would have loved to buy them out, but we kept it local. I think that’s significant.”

The Hospital was recently chosen to be promoted by the Iowa Hospital Association this year for their Community Value Program. By doing so, the KCHC will have advertising in the form of radio advertisements, newspaper articles and video, which will all be paid for by the Iowa Hospital Association. Along those lines, Ives was selected to serve as the District F Chair President, which he will hold for this coming fiscal year.

The next Board meeting will be held April 26.