Petersburg’s Hospital Board plans to discuss its childcare programming at its monthly meeting this evening. The pilot programming is wrapping up its first year, and the board will hear a status report on the project before they decide whether it’ll continue. 

As KFSK’s Shelby Herbert reports, a new board member will be helping to make that decision.

Petersburg’s hospital board will have a new face at its meeting tonight. Following the municipal election in September, Mika Hasbrouck will begin her first term on the hospital board. Board president Jerod Cook and board secretary Marlene Cushing were re-elected to their seats. And a major decision lies ahead of them — whether PMC will continue its pilot childcare programming. 

Last year, PMC partnered with Kinder Skog, a local nature-based childcare provider, to host after-school youth programming. Kinder Skog left the umbrella of the Petersburg Lutheran Church, and is currently housed by PMC’s Community Wellness Department.

The idea for the partnership arose from the results of the childcare needs assessment funded by the Petersburg Community Foundation. The survey underscored the lack of childcare options for working parents in the community. As the program wraps up its first year, it’s scheduled to go under review by the board. 

At their meeting last month, the board heard several impassioned testimonies from the public about the importance and efficacy of the pilot programming. Katie Holmlund, who is in charge of the medical center’s youth programs, thanked the board for their support of Kinder Skog. She said that the program has grown substantially. And, that many healthcare providers across the state are now trying to emulate its success. Tonight, PMC youth programming staff will report on the status of the pilot program and make their case for its future. 

The board will also hear several reports from hospital staff, including one from its Chief of Staff, Dr. Alice Hulebak. PMC is trying to expand specialty care and will welcome several new medical specialists this month. They’re bringing in a general surgeon to perform colonoscopies and endoscopies, as well as a dermatologist to provide consultations at regular intervals. 

They also signed a contract with a psychiatrist, who will soon be able to provide mental health consultations. Dr. Jennifer Hyer, PMC’s former family physician, left her role in August to sail across the ocean with her family. Now, the hospital is actively recruiting to fill her position.

PMC is also trying to expand services by training up the staff it already has. Dr. Hulebak got licensed as an Aviation Medical Examiner for the Federal Aviation Administration, which means pilots will be able to schedule appointments locally for certain regulatory medical exams. And Dr. Selina Burt is now a certified Medical Review Officer for workplace drug testing.

Chief Nursing Officer Jennifer Bryner will report on the hospital’s efforts to control and prevent infection in the community. It’s flu season, and flu shots are available at the clinic and hospital, as well as in the public and home health offices. The clinic is also awaiting delivery of the new RSV vaccine.

In other business, the board will accept a $20 million grant that will fund its Workforce Education Resource Center. The center will be part of PMC’s new facility, which will replace the existing hospital. 

Then the board will enter into an executive session — which is closed to the public — to consider medical staff appointments and reappointments.

Petersburg’s Hospital Board will hold its monthly meeting in the Assembly Chambers of the municipal building this evening at 5:30 p.m. ​​KFSK will broadcast that meeting live and post the recording on in our Hospital Board Archives. There’s more information on the community calendar.