10 W Fallon Ave Baker, MT 59313
Fallon County of Montana

FMC Board of Trustees Meeting October 2022

FMC Board of Trustees Meeting October 2022



Wednesday, October 5, 2022

MEMBERS PRESENT                              

Betty Mueller, President

Doug Varner, Vice-President

Rich Menger, Secretary                             

Alice Kay Schweigert, Board Member

Curt Arnell, Board Member

Elaine Stanhope, Board Member

Bryant Steen, Board Member

            OTHERS PRESENT                      

            David Espeland, CEO

            Marjorie Losing, CFO

            Marissa Skogen, Recorder


Betty called the meeting of the FMC Board of Trustees to order at 5:30 p.m. in the FMC Community Room. 

II.         PUBLIC INPUT – Brenda Stoddard thanks the board for allowing corporate members to apply to be on the board. She feels some issues were unaddressed from earlier concerns. Dru Burk introduced himself to the board and conveyed his interest to be on the board. Marty Asay shared that he’d like to be on the board.

III.        APPROVAL OF MINUTES           

Elaine had a possible revision to the September 7, 2022 minutes regarding board policies and how they relate to the bylaws. David will contact FMC’s lawyer to confirm that the board is able to write policies to clarify topics that are not explicitly spelled out in the by-laws. Minutes will be reviewed next meeting.


Housekeeping: Linden Krech introduced herself and shared her history here at FMC with the board. Linden shared that she has been a manager since January of 2016 and that housekeeping cleans the hospital, nursing home, clinic, and the board rooms. Previously, the provider house and Sawhorse house were cleaned by her employees as well, but due to staffing shortages, they have delegated that responsibility to our laundry staff. Housekeeping is looking into getting a new floor machine as a result of the current one having ongoing issues.

Purchasing: Tammy Reetz introduced herself as Purchasing supervisor and explained her additional responsibilities in telemedicine, biomedical repair, and Central Services. She informed the Board that she’s been here for 17 years, and due to supply shortages, this has been one of her most difficult years. She reported that the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent supply shortages have greatly affected her department and how she conducts business. Many of the supplies in her department are starting to expire due to an increase in ordering for Covid-19. She shared how the conversion to the new electronic medical record (EMR), Thrive, has taken up a lot of her time. The Purchasing department has changed over their group purchasing organization (GPO). A current supplier out of Billings is no longer allowing low volume purchases so they are having to buy case lots. Tammy and the Board of Trustees discussed possibilities to address supply shortages.

Home Care: Karol introduced herself to the Board and stated that she’s been an FMC employee for 34 years. She notified the Board of her roles as Friends of FMC Foundation Coordinator, Lifeline Manager, Business Office Clerk for Home Care, CNA/PCA (personal care attendant for Medicaid), Healthy Lifestyles Coordinator for the Baker site, Chairman for the FMC PR Committee, Chairman for the Southeastern Montana Health Fair, in charge of FMC’s Facebook posts, and participates in the “Talk Around Town” for KFLN and KJJM. Karol reported on the number of people who are on Lifeline. She explained the process of first responders for that service.  She reported that we have 0 clients in Home Care. Jean Rost is the Home Care PCA. We currently do not have an RN Supervisor. She and Jean are both certified in CPR. Lifeline: We currently have 32 lifeline subscribers: 4 in Ekalaka; 1 in Beach; 2 in Plevna; 4 in Wibaux; 2 in Marmarth; 4 in Baker; and 15 in Parkview 1 & 2. There hadn’t been an increase in Lifeline since July 2019 so there was an increase of $1.00 on October 1, 2022, increasing the cost to $38. People with two personal health buttons (PHB) in the home are charged $43. It is $48 for a single Auto Alert and $55 for two Auto Alerts. The installation fee will remain at $50. The response center is located in Framingham, Massachusetts.

Foundation: The Foundation Board Members are President-Rosanne Varner, Vice President-Craig Pinnow, Secretary/Treasurer-Laurie Mackay, currently looking for an employee representative, member Doug Varner represents both boards, member David Stevens, and currently looking for a member of the community to join the board. The FMC Foundation events occur over the span of a year. The 24th “Mammo Whammo” was held on Saturday, June 11th and had 36 golfers participate. The Foundation sponsored the sand volleyball and horse shoes at Fun on the 4th in Fallon County. The Foundation utilized an EMEDA Advertising Grant for advertising. “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” occurred on Sunday’s Rodeo at the fair, with $1 per ticket donated to the Foundation. Baker Chamber Fall Festival was Saturday, September 10th and included a 5k and concessions: tator-pigs, sloppy joes, chili, Taco-in-a-bag, and polish dogs. The Foundation is responsible for the “October Breast Cancer Awareness Luncheon,” with the DI department doing the organizing and serving the food. The Luncheon is scheduled for Thursday, October 6th from 11:00 to 1:30. XI Alpha NU and the annual Christmas Bazaar will be held Sunday, November 20th. The 13th annual “Festival of Trees” is scheduled for Monday, November 21st through Thursday, December 8th. There will be a free-will supper during the Baker Chamber Christmas Stroll. Christmas in the Park will be held on Saturday, November 26th.  The Foundation is discussing whether to hold “St. Patrick’s Leapin’ Leprechaun Race” and Pub Crawl again; it would happen in March and all proceeds go towards scholarships. They may also possibly hold the “Lights of Life” indoors, but are currently unsure of the date. “Buy a Brick” has been on hold due to the Healing Garden being torn up during the PVC1 renovation. There are 7 FMC employees who make paycheck deductions donating to the Foundation. We are registered at Reynolds’ Friends of Reynolds program; all of the funds from Reynolds go into a scholarship program. Amazon Smile funds go into the scholarship program, too. Recipients for the 2022 FMC Foundation scholarships are Peyton Janeway, Emilia Cuppy, Taylor Schell, Mattie Mastel, and Emily O’Connell. The Foundation is a member of the Montana Nonprofits Association.


Marjorie Losing went over the July and August 2022 Financials with Board of Trustees. July was a slower month with 6 Inpatient Days and 38 Skilled Days. July’s Gross Revenue was $778,491 while the budgeted amount was $917,029. Net Operating Revenue was $730,185 while the budgeted amount was $938,874. Expenses for the month of July were $995,116. Operating Loss for the month of July was ($264,931) and Net Loss for the Month of July was ($236,337). August had 13 Inpatient Days and 16 Skilled Days. August’s Gross Revenue was $901,903 while the budgeted amount was $917,029.  Net Operating Revenue was $1,010,613 due to positive contractuals putting us on the positive side of the budget. Expenses for the month of August were $1,063,168. Our Supplies expense was showing a budget variance due to a very large drug replacement order. Operating Loss was ($52,555) which was on the favorable side of the budget and Net Loss for August was ($29,322). Our YTD FY2023 Gross Patient Revenue is $1.6 million, putting us $153,000 under budget. The auditors will be on site October 10-12 and Margie informed the Board that they are welcome to come and meet with the auditors. (Enclosure)


  1. Investment Policy: David presented a revised draft investment policy that Jim Cusimano, CFP had looked over to make recommended adjustments. Doug made a motion to accept the statement of investment policy as presented. Curt seconded the motion. The motion carried.  Discussion was held about how much money should be invested. Rich made a motion to invest the amount proposed recommended by Mr. Cusimano. Curt seconded the motion. The motion carried.
  • Nominating Committee: Discussion was held about the timeline requirements for the nominating committee. It was clarified that the nominating committee needed to be established at least 60 days prior to the annual meeting, and nominations would need to be made no later than 30 days prior so that members could receive at least 10 – 30 days’ notice of the meeting and election. That means that nominations must be made at the November 2nd regular board meeting. Further discussion occurred pertaining to voting and the by-laws.


  1. Dr. Hallberg Visit: Dr. Hallberg was presented to us by Dr. Peterson, who employs Dr. Sullivan.  Dr. Hallberg has been working in Alaska and decided to return to the lower 48 states.  He and a colleague started a “boutique” clinic in Missoula, and he would like to get back into rural medicine during his time off by working in our clinic on a routine basis. He is interested in coming to FMC 4-5 days a month and provide little or no ER call. Jessie is seeing how we can utilize him at this time.
  • Annual Trustee Election “Record Date”: David shared that the by-laws say that “at least sixty (60) days before the annual election of Trustees (the “Record Date”), a complete list of all members entitled to vote shall be prepared in alphabetical order, according to name, and containing the address of each member on the list.” David presented the voting list to the Board of Trustees. It was agreed that the record date was set as October 5, 2022 and that no more members could be accepted after this date. New corporate membership applications were presented. Rich made a motion to approve them. Elaine Stanhope seconded. The motion carried.
  • Student Loan Repayment Policy: David presented potential options for revisions to the existing student loan repayment program. Discussion was held about maintaining the annual loan repayment program as-is, other than the Board decided to temporarily waive the requirement for applicants to provide two denial letters from government payment sources.  Margie shared that FMC is not going to recertify with the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) due to our dismal Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) Score the past couple of years.  We do not anticipate it improving anytime soon.
  • Dedicated Physician Search:  There are two types of searches that can be conducted to find physicians: 1) a dedicated search, or 2) a contingency search. A dedicated search means that a person is dedicated to our specific search, actively working on an ongoing basis until a candidate is found.  This requires upfront payments to the company to fund the search. During a contingency search, that person may be working with multiple facilities at the same time, offering the same candidate to one or more of them.  The company doesn’t ask for payment until they have secured a new hire. The Board discussed the costs associated with a dedicated search, which can be double or triple that of a contingency search. David suggested using a dedicated search company called CI Health Group which has been having great success in placing providers in rural Montana. Curt made a motion to go forward with a dedicated search using CI Health Group. Bryant seconded. The motion carried.
  • Provider Credentialing: An addition was made to the agenda to include credentialing the following providers who were jointly recommended for appointment by FMC Chief of Medical Staff and the CEO: Mark Peterson, MD, Tauna Jeffery, FNP, and Tyler Price, MD. Curt made the motion to recredential the named providers and keep Dr. Peterson as an associate member. Bryant seconded. The motion carried. (Enclosure)


The Board adjourned their regular session having completed the agenda.

s/ Betty Mueller, President

s/ Marissa Skogen, Recorder