Texas County Memorial Hospital is preparing to add centralized fetal monitoring in the hospital’s obstetrics department, board members heard last week at their monthly meeting.
TCMH planned in the capital budget to purchase the fetal monitoring system, which comes with a price tag of $93,000 — the largest planned capital expense for the hospital in 2010.
Centralized fetal monitoring is a delivery room monitoring system that is specifically adapted to the monitoring requirements of perinatal medicine. Fetal measurement and monitoring are done at the patient’s bedside. The data is collected via computer and is available at the bedside, the nurses’ station or the physician’s office or home computer.
In addition to making it easier for a physician to view their patient’s labor progress at home in the wee hours of the morning or working in their office during the day, the new system will allow the data to be filed electronically rather than printing a paper strip of data. The paper strips fade over time, but the electronic data can be stored indefinitely.
The obstetrics department nursing staff will also be able to view the fetal monitoring of all patients at one time. In the past, the data was available only at the patient’s bedside.
The fetal monitoring software, developed by General Electric, will be installed the first week of June. Personnel will be trained after the system is in place.
“The OB physicians and nursing staff are greatly appreciative of this purchase by the hospital,” said Doretta Todd-Willis, chief nursing officer.
Wes Murray, chief executive office at TCMH, explained that centralized fetal monitoring is very important for physicians such as Dr. Charlie Rasmussen, who sees patients at the TCMH Mountain Grove Clinic one day a week. The system will allow Rasmussen to monitor patients without physically coming into the OB department.
“Centralized fetal monitoring is also important for recruiting future physicians that want to do OB,” Murray said.
Inpatient numbers continue to inch upward at the county hospital, board members also heard.
Linda Pamperien, chief financial officer, presented the financial report for April, which showed an increase in inpatient volumes for the second month in a row. Hospital inpatient admissions were up by 29 admissions for the year-to-date over 2009.
Utilization of the hospital’s swing-bed program – the long-term inpatient care program – continues to see increases in volumes. Eleven patients were admitted as swing-bed patients in April.
Also for the second consecutive month, TCMH had a positive bottom line of $37,304 in April, lowering the year-to-date bottom line to a negative balance of $38,198.
The board members agreed unanimously to sign two resolutions to allow the hospital to seek grant funding in two areas.
The first resolution indicated the board’s intent to seek funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to build a storm shelter at TCMH. It could be used as meeting room space by the hospital when not in use as a storm shelter.
“FEMA will provide 75 percent of the funding for the building, and TCMH will be responsible for the other 25 percent of the cost,” Murray said. He explained that the shelter structure could be incorporated into the hospital’s overall expansion plan if it occurred in the future.
The proposed structure is 3,500 square feet with an estimated con
struction cost of $750,000. TCMH is seeking $562,500 from FEMA. The storm shelter would provide appropriate cover for hospital patients and employees during severe weather as well as a space for community members to use.
The second resolution approved by the TCMH board of trustees will allow the hospital to seek grant funding from the Ozarks Health Advocacy Foundation to develop a program in conjunction with the Mountain Grove School District to teach in-school Heartsaver CPR to students.
The grant funding would cover the cost of materials and tools for the classes as well as covering the cost for hospital personnel to teach the classes.
“Both of these resolutions provide great opportunities for us to expand what we offer the communities we serve,” Murray said He added that if the CPR program was funded and was successful in the Mountain Grove school district, it might be done in all school districts in TCMH service area in the future.
Herb Kuhn, president of the Missouri Hospital Association (MHA), stopped by TCMH for a visit on May 12. He is in his first year of work at the MHA, of which TCMH is a member. Kuhn has been traveling to member hospitals throughout the state in recent months.
While at TCMH, Kuhn was able to see firsthand the National Hospital Week festivities at TCMH. He watched hospital employees participate in a team-building game, and he was presented the T-shirt given to hospital employees.
Murray and Kuhn ate lunch in the hospital’s cafeteria in addition to looking at the facility and meeting some physicians and staff members. Murray told board members that Kuhn expressed how he “loved the atmosphere” at TCMH during his visit.
Murray also reported that TCMH is talking with the Houston Optimist Club about moving the current TCMH Fitness Center into the building on First Street that was purchased by the Optimists in 2009. The organization hopes to increase physical fitness and opportunities for area youth by creating a larger space for the TCMH Fitness Center to operate as well as creating additional space for new opportunities.
“The Optimists want our presence in their building, and we can use the building to expand what we are able to offer the community for its fitness needs,” Murray said.
Murray noted that several local groups of residents that utilize the fitness center on a regular basis have talked with him in support of the move.
“Currently, the TCMH Fitness Center does not make enough money to allow us to expand our services, but the agreement with the Optimists will allow us to make the move without incurring additional losses,” Murray said.
Murray also noted that by partnering with the Optimists Club, TCMH might be able to get some grant funding to increase services provided by the fitness center.
Present at the meeting were Murray; Pamperien; Todd-Willis; Joleen Senter Durham, director of public relations; Dr. Steve Hawkins, medical staff representative; and board members Omanez Fockler, Janet Wiseman, Jane Kirkwood, Mark Hampton and Mark Forbes.
The next meeting of the TCMH board of trustees is noon Tuesday, June 22, in the downstairs meeting room of the hospital.