Director of Nursing Asks county commissioners to reinstate Logue

LACONIA — The director of nursing at the Belknap County Nursing Home has called on the County Commission to reinstate Mathew Logue as administrator of the nursing home as soon as possible, maintaining that it is only a matter of time before he is reinstated by the new commissioners when they take office next month.

''I seek reconsideration of having him return to that post now,'' said Diane Roberts, nursing director, who said that it would be ''in the best interests of all employee at this point,'' to have Logue, who was fired in late August, back on the job.
Commissioner Steve Nedeau asked, ''What do you say to the residents and employees over there who have signed a letter saying they don't want that man back?''

Roberts said, ''We need someone in there at this time. It puts us at risk not to have an administrator there. I think it's time that the battle ends,'' said Roberts, who said that now that acting nursing home administrator Charlotte Flanagan has left it's time to move on.

''I supported Charlotte in that role, but it's not my place to be there,'' said Roberts, who indicated that she will soon be on medical leave and out for a few months.

She made her plea shortly after Belknap County Administrator Debra Shackett said that the state Department of Health and Human Services called her office recently to verify who the administrator at the home is. She said that she told the state that Logue is currently listed as the administrator and is on leave ''but will likely be back.''

Two weeks ago the commissioners filed an appeal with the New Hampshire Supreme Court of the Belknap Convention's Personnel Committee's decision to reinstate Logue as administrator of the Belknap County Nursing Home.

The appeal, filed on Dec. 11, maintains that the Personnel Committee, which at the time of its decision in October to reinstate Logue was composed of Rep. Coltette Worsman (R-Meredith), Rep. Robert Greemore (R-Meredith) and Rep. Richard Burchell (R-Gilmanton) ''ignored limits on its statutory authority as well as overwhelming and uncontroverted evidence,'' which the commission had introduced at a hearing held by the committee on Logue's appeal of his dismissal.
The filing of the appeal took place despite the expressed intention of incoming County Commissioners Burchell and Dave DeVoy (R-Sanbornton) to pull the plug on an appeal of the Logue personnel matter. The pair will take office on January 7 and will constitute a new majority.

Logue is currently on administrative leave, with pay, pending the outcome of an appeal of the committee's decision.

Commissioner Nedeau, who earlier this month announced his decision to resign effective Jan. 1, was adamant about sticking with the appeal, but Commission Chairman John Thomas said that he wanted to wait and have Commissioner Ed Philpot involved in the decision. He said that Philpot will be returning to Laconia shortly after Christmas and that he will schedule a meeting then. Both Philpot and Thomas will be stepping down from the commission next month.

In late August the commission terminated Logue for what it termed willful insubordination, lack of cooperation and inability to perform his duties in a timely manner, claiming that he was "untruthful and unreliable'' in dealing with county officials. Logue appealed his termination to the Personnel Committee, which held a day-long public hearing on October 6, at which attorney Mark Broth of Manchester presented the case against Logue and Logue spoke in own defense.

Four days later the committee voted unanimously to reinstate Logue, after finding his defense of the charges against him to be "credible and persuasive.''

A motion for a rehearing filed by attorney Broth was denied by the Personnel Committee.

The appeal to the Supreme Court will add to the legal bills faced by the county, which were the subject of much discussion by the county convention's Executive Committee when it met last week to take up requests for budget transfers and turned down a request by the commission for $33,000 to pay unpaid legal bills.

Shackett told commissioners last night that if the legal expenses are not paid by the time the auditors start their work early next year it will result in line items being over-expended, which would appear to be in violation of a temporary injunction obtained by the convention in Belknap County Superior Court last August which prohibits the transfer of more than $300 between budget lines without approval of the Executive Committee.

The commissioners, however, have maintained that state statute 29:A:2 which describes the process which will be followed in the defense and indemnification of county officers and employees in the event of any claim or civil action against the county does not require an appropriation and provides that the county ''shall defray all costs of such representation or defense, to be paid from funds not otherwise appropriated.''

Shackett also said that she is working with Executive Committee Vice Chairman Herb Vadney (R-Meredith) to set up a meeting of the committee to handle transfers relating to payroll accounts at the nursing home and a water and sewer bill.

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Council gets tough on delinquent Bike Week vendors

LACONIA — The City Council this week voted unanimously to amend the licensing ordinance authorizing the city to withhold a vendor license for Motorcycle Week to any individual or business with an outstanding debt to the Laconia Motorcycle Week Association.

Charlie St. Clair, executive director of the association, said that in addition to paid advertisements in the Rally News, the magazine published by the association, the association also collects fees from those who use its logo. Although there are only a handful of debtors owing less than $5,000, he said that amending the ordinance would afford the association leverage over its debtors. He noted that news of the proposal to amend the ordinance had prompted one vendor to pay a $2,000 debt.

City Manager Scott Myers acknowledged that the Laconia Motorcycle Week Association is not a municipal agency, but the city is represented on its board of directors. He said that the city attorney reviewed the amendment and raised no objections. However, at the same time Myers conceded, "There could be limits to what the city can do."

Several years ago the council enacted a similar measure to deny licenses to prospective vendors with outstanding debts to the city itself.

Meanwhile, the Laconia Motorcycle Week Association is in the process of restructuring its board of directors as well as addressing its financial condition in order to overcome recurring operating deficits and retire outstanding debts.


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Medicare gives LRGH top score for preventing infections and complications

LACONIA — Lakes Region General Hospital posted the best score for preventing complications that prolong hospital stays, lead to readmissions and increase medical expenses among the 13 hospitals in the state surveyed, according to figures released by Medicare this week.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) included incentives for reducing so-called "hospital-acquired conditions" (HACs) and authorized Medicare to trim reimbursements by 1 percent to hospitals failing to reach specified benchmarks. Hospitals are graded by the three measures: the frequency of bloodstream infections from intravenous tubes, frequency of urinary tract infections from catheters and frequency of complications, included collapsed lungs, surgical cuts, reopened wounds and broken hips.

Lakes Region General Hospital scored 1.7, while Exeter Hospital at 2.95 and Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover 3.05 recorded the next lowest scores. Franklin Regional Hospital, Lakes Region General Hospital's smaller stablemate, is exempt from this provision of the ACA.

Gloria Thorington, director of medical safety and case management at LRGHealthcare, said yesterday there are some 20 different risks of spreading infection that are routinely addressed. "Teams are working on different aspects of
reducing complications and implementing best practices throughout the hospital. Everyone is working on this," she stressed, "every single employee."

"A lot of it is common sense," Thorington continued, beginning with thorough hand hygiene and staying away from work when ill. Likewise visitors are carefully monitored for conditions they could pass on to patients. Patients at risk of falling wear yellow gowns so they are known to every member of the staff. Bed linen and mattresses are changed regularly and patients with pressure ulcers and healing wounds are watched closely. With recent improvements at the hospital most patients now have private rooms and soon all will, which provides an optimal setting for controlling infections.

Dr. Mary Dacuycuy, clinical director of infection control, stressed the importance of following proper procedures in  operating rooms to ensure nothing is left behind when surgery is completed. Orthopedic patients, she noted, are showered three times before surgery and kept under active surveillance. Likewise, she emphasized the judicious use of catheters, saying: "Catheters should only be used when necessary and removed as soon as possible."

"It's a continuous, ongoing process," said Darlene Burrows, director of infection control. "We've got to learn from every case," she remarked, underlining the importance of drawing on the scientific evidence and applying the best proven practices.

Three New Hampshire hospitals — Catholic Medical Center, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and Elliot Hospital — scored above seven and were penalized by Medicare. Although Medicare adjusted for hospitals treating the sickest patients and performing the most complex procedures, Kaiser Health News found that nearly a third of those hospitals with the most demanding cases were penalized compared to only 12 percent of hospitals with the least complex cases.

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Officials still unsure of cause for fatal single car crash in Moultonborough

MOULTONBOROUGH – Police Chief Leonard Weatherbee said yesterday that police have yet to determine the cause of a fatal accident at the intersection of Route 109 and Route 25 Saturday at 9:30 p.m.

Weatherbee said there were no witnesses, that he knows of, that there was no signs of braking or skidding and no yaw marks on the road.

He also said that the victim, Alice Dow, 37, of Ossipee, apparently knew the area and the intersection well.

"This isn't a case of a new driver on an unfamiliar road," he said.

Weatherbee said a passerby noticed lights coming from the marsh area and stopped to investigate. He said a Moultonborough Police Officer on routine patrol happened by at about the same time and stopped.

Weatherbee said the accident had likely just occurred because the engine was still warm and the lights of the car were still working.

He said the rear of the car was submerged however the drivers side was above water.

Weatherbee said the autopsy could tell them more however alcohol was not a factor. He also said the State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Team will also investigate the car for possible mechanical failures.

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