LOGAN — In an emergency session, the Logan City Council approved of a sub-grant agreement between the city and Hocking Valley Community Hospital. The local hospital is set to receive $400,000 in funding which will go towards items used to fight against COVID-19.
On Monday, Dec. 28, the Logan City Council approved Resolution No. 36 prior to the date when the council believed it had to give CARES Act funding back to the state.
According to Logan Mayor Greg Fraunfelter, the city had leftover money from the CARES Act. After consulting with members of the Mayors’ Partnership for Progress, he decided that the unspent dollars would be put to better use at HVCH.
“I knew of all the things they do for the city and do for the county,” Fraunfelter said. “If we could sub-grant this money to the hospital, it would be something that we could do.”
The mayor spoke with CEO Stacey Gabriel who welcomed the opportunity to have the city assist in covering costs the hospital has undertaken.
City Council did not conduct a second meeting in December due to the holidays. With the threat of a Dec. 31 deadline for returning the CARES Act funding, however, city council quickly convened to approve the emergency resolution.
“The day of that emergency meeting, the use of the moneys had been extended,” Fraunfelter said.
The mayor said that according to Logan City Auditor Christopher Robers, more federal and state relief may be on the way, with the deadline for returning the CARES Act funding being pushed back.
Fraunfelter plans on assisting small businesses in Logan who have experienced the economic impacts of COVID-19.
According to HVCH CFO Julie Grow, the city recognized the ability it had to partner with the hospital in regard to CARES Act funding. The city reached out, Grow noted, to see if the facility needed assistance in any projects.
According to Grow, the hospital is currently working on implementing a “state-of-the-art medication management system.” The new system, she explained, will increase efficiency, reduce staff intervention, and increase storage capacity, as well as provide medication storage capacity at HVCH’s Rural Health Clinic.
“This will allow staff to focus on patient care, and decrease direct contact during medication counts,” Grow told The Logan Daily News. “This system allows for more remote monitoring and will allow us to more easily treat larger volumes of patients.”
While combating a pandemic, hospitals across the state have experienced financial hardships along with many other public and private entities. According to Grow, the HVCH saw an approximate 30 percent drop in revenue compared to what had been expected for 2020.
“While the funding we’ve received thus far has helped to offset some of that loss, it hasn’t been enough to cover all of the added expense we’ve been faced with in preparing for and responding to COVID-19,” Grow explained.
Grow added that in some cases, due to shortages being seen worldwide, the hospital experienced a 500 percent increase in the cost of personal protective equipment, or PPE.
However, while dealing with a chaotic world at least in the public health sector, the hospital was able to increase technology infrastructure to give better capacity for telehealth, increase disinfecting facility-wide, and screen entry into the building.
“We are very appreciative to the mayor and to the city of Logan for recognizing the benefit of including HVCH as part of the city’s CARES Act funding,” Grow stated. “Caring for the community is at the heart of HVCH’s mission and all of the local agencies coming together to achieve this goal has certainly been a bright spot in the midst of such a difficult time.”