Lexington Regional Health Center contracts with TestNebraska to conduct further COVID-19 testing

Lexington Regional Health Center has recently entered into a contract with TestNebraska and will now offer a testing site for COVID-19 in the Lexington community, testing sites are located all over the state.

LEXINGTON — Lexington Regional Health Center has entered into a contract with TestNebraska to offer COVID-19 testing at one of their facilities.

Chief Nursing Officer Nicole Thorell told the LRHC board on Tuesday, July 28 during their meeting the hospital had entered into a contract with TestNebraska which will allow them to expand testing.

TestNebraska is a “new initiative in partnership with our state leaders and private corporations,” according to their website. The goal of the partnership is to increase COVID-19 testing in the state of Nebraska.

According to the TestNebraska website, to be tested, individuals need to go to their site and complete an assessment, after which they will be provided with upcoming testing locations and times.

Testing sites have expanded throughout Nebraska and now include Lexington.

Testing times are listed to occur Aug. 5, Aug. 12 from 7 to 11 a.m. and Aug. 19, Aug. 26 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Tests will be conducted at the LRHC Rehab Services Building, according to the TestNebraska website.

When asked by the board about the hospital’s own testing, Thorell said they are following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s, CDC, guidelines and are not conducting widespread testing of people who are asymptomatic, to ensure they retain testing supplies for serious cases.

During the strategic planning update, CEO Leslie Marsh said since June 22 there have been 71 positive cases of COVID-19 in Dawson County and it has been six weeks since a patient with the virus was admitted into the hospital., this data was taken from the DHHS website.

Later during the administrative report, Marsh said most of the recent cases in the county have been, “largely,” asymptomatic. She said the hospital will continue to monitor trends. Case numbers are lower than they were in the spring and LRHC is ready for a quick response.

Marsh said of the rush of cases in April and May that the hospital was prepared and responded appropriately. “The community was fantastic to work with,” Marsh said about the period of the peak number of cases.

During the compliance update, Chief Financial Officer Wade Eschenbrenner said LRHC has received stimulus funds through the CARES Act, including specific funds for payroll protection.

LRHC will submit quarterly reports as rules are being defined to show the funds are being used as they were intended and the hospital will be audited in the future, Eschenbrenner said.

If the stimulus funds are used as intended, some of the funds could be forgiven, but Eschenbrenner told the board the situation is in flux and no amount which will be forgiven can be confirmed at the moment.

During the nursing update Thorell told the board one new nursing graduate, Yessenia Corodova, recently passed board examination.

LRHC has also rolled out its tele-neurology program, which includes strokes and a stroke patient was recently served through this program. Thorell said the process starts when a patient is put on stroke protocol, a neurologist is present via tele-health and doesn’t have to physically be present to help the patient.

Thorell continued during the quality update saying their DNV accreditation survey is coming soon and the hospital is preparing for recertification, this means they will be subject to the full survey.

Different hospital groups are going through their standards, “line by line,” in preparation for the survey, Thorell said. The hospital is focusing heavily on their infectious disease protocols, she added.

During the provider recruitment update, Marsh said Dr. Matt Sexton begins in mid-August and Dr. Sandra Torres will begin around this time next year.

Director of Marketing and Public Relations Brenna Bartruff presented the marketing update.

The hospital has purchased space on a billboard along Highway 30 on the east side of the community featuring a picture of the hospital with the sign, “Heroes work here.” She said it is dedicated to the staff of LRHC for their work amid the pandemic.

LRHC was also a sponsor for the Elwood Rodeo and threw out free items to the crowd before the bull riding event. LRHC members also participated in the recent Lexington Area Chamber of Commerce golf tournament.

The Wellness Wednesday videos posted on the hospital’s social media are ongoing, Bartruff said, they feature various employees speaking about different wellness topics. Recent ones included hand sanitizer recalls and the aging brain.

A sports physical night was held on July 15, Bartruff said there were fewer attendees than in recent years due to the ongoing circumstances and the fact it was mandated only 7th graders and freshman had to complete a physical for the 2020-2021 school year per NSAA.

LRHC members also volunteered their time recently on July 2 when they helped with the Hot Meals USA distribution and the Mobile Food Pantry, Bartruff said it was a chance to give back to the community.

Eschenbrenner started off the financial report by saying LRHC was a recipient of a Tyson Foods COVID-19 community grant in the sum of $15,000.

The grant was intended to help organizations working on the front lines and provide Tyson communities with assistance during the pandemic. The hospital used the funds to purchase two PPE carts and two 360 Clorox electrostatic disinfecting and sanitizing systems.

“We appreciated the award from Tyson,” said Eschenbrenner.

Moving on to the rest of the financial report, Eschenbrenner said the hospital saw a drop in revenue as many services were halted in April and May due to the pandemic but in June there was an uptick in gross revenue which returned to nearly normal levels.

There was a spike in inpatient census days as people were admitted into the hospital during the height of virus cases spreading throughout the community, but swing bed days were down due to the same situation.

Cash reserves for the hospital were higher due to Medicare Advance payments which will be paid back in the future and the influx of the stimulus funds provided through the CARES Act. Eschenbrenner said they are finalizing everything to prepare for the audit in September.

The board approved the financial report.

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