TCMH Studies 38,000 Square Foot Addition

Texas County Memorial Hospital’s board of trustees reviewed a detailed plan last week that would add 38,082 square feet of space for a two-story expansion of the emergency, radiology and medical surgical departments to create a new core hospital.

Wes Murray, chief executive officer at the hospital, showed the preliminary plans to hospital board members. Murray said the institution is still in the planning stages of determining how much space it needs.

“Our current emergency and radiology departments are very fragmented and have great needs,” Murray said. “We met with the staff of both departments to discuss with them their needs to try to put them in a square footage format.”

According to Murray, about 90 percent of the departmental requests could be accommodated with the preliminary plans – draft blueprints showing more details regarding specific locations of specific rooms in various departments.

The first floor of the expansion housing the emergency and radiology departments, as well as the outpatient clinic, would be 20,768 square feet. The medical surgical department on the second floor would be 17,314 square feet containing 16 large private or semi-private rooms and four private telemetry rooms. An additional 6,000 square feet of space would be created in a basement for housing the mechanical needs of the building.

“This expansion isn’t big enough to be a new hospital, but we would get a new core hospital,” Murray said.

Currently, the core of the hospital goes back to the hospital’s original inception in Texas County in 1957.

“The expansion would have a stand alone mechanical system and would not rely on any existing electrical, sewer or other mechanical parts of the current hospital,” Murray noted.

HMN Architects, the firm working on the TCMH master site plan and related expansion project, has projected a $16 million price tag for the expansion and related equipment needs. The renovation to the existing facility would be about $1.5 million more.

UMB Bank, the bond holder for the hospital, and BKD, LLC, the hospital’s accounting firm, are crunching the numbers, analyzing debt and debt capacity for the county hospital. TCMH is not funded by any county tax dollars and has not received public monies since the early ’90s.

“This expansion would create a new facility, a new medical surgical department that meets current building codes, and most importantly, it would give the people of this county the type of healthcare facility that they deserve,” Murray said.

Murray explained that with the help of UMB Bank and BKD, TCMH officials are looking at all options, including the future of healthcare in the county.

“Healthcare is a priority to the people that live in Texas County and to the people that are choosing to move to Texas County,” Murray noted. “We want to be sure we do the right thing in moving forward with hospital growth.

“It’s our responsibility as a hospital to stand alone as much as we can, but we may look at other revenue sources.”

Murray met with members of the Community Medical Needs Assessment Committee on Monday night before the Tuesday hospital board meeting. He presented the expansion information to the committee members, and they were “very supportive.”

Complete financial analysis should be finalized in the next couple of weeks for presentation to board members at the next meeting.

Martin Fisher of Houston attended the board meeting to ask that a marker recognizing his father, Glen D. Fisher Sr., be restored to a location by the hospital’s helipad. Board members approved that the commemorative marker be located next to the helipad at its current location and any future locations of the helipad.

TCMH officials will work with the hospital’s foundation to ensure that commemorative plaques and other recognition pieces are not displaced in the future.

In old business, Murray noted that the combining of the two Cabool clinics went smoothly.

“Dr. Boda moved to Houston and has done an outstanding job moving forward with the changes,” Murray said.

Murray complimented the Cabool Medical Clinic staff on a “seamless transition” into a new building.

“They started moving on a Monday night. They continued to move on Tuesday, their usual day off, and they were seeing patients on Wednesday morning,” he said.

Dr. Steve Hawkins and nurse practitioners Terry Bruno and Cheryl Bell are working together to see patients on Tuesdays at the clinic, so that a healthcare provider is available in Cabool five days a week.

Internal demolition has begun on the building that housed the TCMH Business Office. The building behind the hospital will become an annex of the hospital holding a sleep study lab, Hospice of Care and the office of Deborah Belt-Kell, TCMH professional counselor.

Murray reported that Dr. Charlie Rasmussen would begin overseeing adenosine stress tests at the hospital.

The procedure uses a drug to make the patient’s heart respond as if they were exercising. An adenosine stress test is used in the place of the traditional exercise or treadmill stress test. The doctor administering a stress test studies the test to determine how the heart responds to stress and whether or not the patient may have heart disease.

Dr. Boda provides exercise stress tests at TCMH, but adenosine stress tests will be a new addition to the hospital’s repertoire of outpatient services.

Linda Pamperien, chief financial officer at the hospital, gave the financial report for July. Overall revenue at the hospital was down as was inpatient volume. Outpatient volume was up in most departments.

The hospital netted $32,805 during July, bringing the overall bottom line up to $287,276. The average daily census in July was 12.

Present at the meeting were Murray, Pamperien, Martin Fisher, Doretta Todd-Willis, director of nursing; Dr. Charles Mueller, chief of staff; Joleen Senter Durham, director of public relations and board members Larry Southern, Mark Forbes, Jane Kirkwood and Omanez Fockler. Board member Janet Wiseman was not present.

The next meeting of the TCMH board of trustees is noon Sept. 25 in the downstairs meeting room of the hospital.

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