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Wednesday, June 27, 2001

Hospital board OKs adjusting staff salary rates

Staff Writer
PECOS, Wednesday, June 27, 2001 -- The Reeves County Hospital Board of Directors approved salary rate adjustments for the hospital employees during executive session of the regular meeting last night in the classroom at Reeves County Hospital (RCH).

Board member Chel Flores requested that members go into executive session to discuss the salary rate structure.

Once the board reconvened in open session, they approved a base rate and a maximum rate for the employees.

Hospital Administrator Robert Vernor said that the salary rates would vary from position to position.

"There will be a minimum and maximum for each position," he said.

Vernor said that the board realized that the hospital salaries for certified employees are often lower than other hospitals in the industry.

"Some of our maximum rates were lower than others industry wide," he said.

Vernor said that the majority of the hospital salaries would be raised with the exception of some where minimum pay is currently at the minimum wage rate. Those would stay at that rate.

Vernor said that the employees should start seeing some pay adjustments by mid to late July.

In other action, the board approved John Libbie's resignation from the hospital staff.

Vernor said that Libbie, who has been in Pecos since the late 1990s, moved his practice to Odessa earlier this year.

The Board also approved the purchase of a C-Arm unit for X-ray use in surgery.

Vernor explained that the C-Arm unit shaped like a `C' with a X-ray tube at the end of it and is mainly used in surgery because of its maneuverability.

"It's a very important item, especially in orthopedic surgery," he said.

Vernor told the board that the hospital currently has a C-Arm unit but that it is in bad shape.

"The one we have now, it's pretty much on its last leg," he said.

Vernor said that refurbishing the current unit would cost the hospital $35,000 but they have found a used unit in good condition at a cost of $28,600.

The board voted to table the discussion of a new prescription drug program for the employees until they could receive more information.

The board discussed the co-pay rates that the hospital currently has for employee prescriptions.

Under the current prescription plan, the hospital employees are required to make a co-payment of $5 for generic brands, $15 for brand names and $30 for prescription drugs not on the approved list.

"Someone requested that the co-pay for more than a 30-day supply change," Vernor said.

Right now, hospital employees are required to pay the regular co-pay for a 30-day supply and if they receive a prescription for 90-days the co-pay rate would triple.

"They requested that the co-pay for 90 days be the same as 30 days," he said.

Vernor said that the insurance company gave him an estimate on how much it would cost if the board decided to change the prescription plan to one co-pay for 30 to 90 days.

He said that the company is "estimating that it would increase our payout (from the RCH Employee Medical Benefit account) to $12,000 per year."

Vernor said that he would suggest the Board to adopt some difference in co-pays for a bigger supply because he said he is concerned that people would receive more medicine than needed.

"A lot of people would get a 90-day supply and never use them all," he said.

The Board agreed that they needed more figures to varying co-pays before they could make a decision.

In other business the board approved the monthly tax report, financial statements and budget amendments, and the minutes of the last meeting.

Internet filters use in schools topic for board

Staff Writer
PECOS, Wednesday, June 27, 2001 -- Internet safety procedures and what the school district provides in terms of protection will be discussed at a special meeting of the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Board on Thursday.

Members will meet at 6 p.m., Thursday in the boardroom for a public hearing to discuss P-B-T ISD's Internet safety procedures as required by The Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA).

"There is a national law that went into effect at the end of December, the Children's Internet Protection Act," said Career and Technology Coordinator Jodi Exum.

Exum said that the law states that if the school district uses e-rate funds, federal funds, for infrastructure they must follow this act. "If we use these federal funds for technology, such as wiring and Internet use, we must comply with CIPA," she said.

One of the things the federal act requires is to put the policy in effect and we have had that for six years, according to Exum.

"The second thing is we must use a filter on the Internet and we have had that for five years, and the other thing, the one we haven't done is to hold a public meeting," said Exum.

She said the purpose of the meeting was to provide the community with information and to address any concerns.

"This public meeting is for anyone in the community who has concerns about their children using the Internet at the schools," said Exum, who will go over what the district does as far as Internet safety procedures.

"We want to let the public know that they don't have access to a lot of things they shouldn't," said Exum. "We structure, filter and monitor the Internet."

In other business, the board will discuss and approve professional personnel appointments.

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