The Texas County Memorial Hospital board of trustees heard another month of positive inpatient and outpatient financial trends at their board meeting.
In October, inpatient and outpatient volumes at the hospital were up over budgeted expectations with many outpatient departments such as laboratory, radiology, cardiac rehabilitation and cardiopulmonary showing increased revenues.
Linda Pamperien, chief financial officer at TCMH, presented the October financial report and pointed out that the positive financial trends show an improvement due to the increase in physicians on staff.
“We currently have 1,481 inpatient admissions to date,” Pamperien said. “This is up 123 admissions in comparison to last year at this time.”
TCMH ended October with a positive bottom line of $53,439, bringing the year-to-date balance up to $104,262.22.
The board of trustees commended the medical staff for its work on behalf of the hospital and the patients in the community.
“We are very appreciative of all of our doctors and how well they are working together,” said Omanez Fockler, chairperson of the TCMH board of trustees.
“It is so nice to have so many doctors who are willing to work in our communities to take care of our patients,” said Jane Kirkwood, board member.
Wes Murray, chief executive officer at TCMH, promised to pass the positive words of encouragement on to the medical staff members.
TCMH has two active medical staff members that are not employed by the hospital, and the remaining active medical staff members are employed by TCMH. There are four TCMH physicians in the emergency department — two are full-time. In the TCMH clinics there are two general surgeons, two internal medicine physicians and six family medicine physicians — two of which do obstetrics as part of their practice.
In 2010, TCMH added three full-time physicians in the clinics. Searches are under way for full-time physicians for the hospital’s clinics in Mountain Grove and in Licking.
Medical records payment expected: Pamperien also reported the software vendors that provide the electronic medical records programs used in the hospital and in the clinics have received certification as approved “meaningful use” software programs.
“This is just one more approval that had to be received for us to meet our meaningful use requirements,” Pamperien explained.
TCMH has been working toward achieving “Stage 1, Meaningful Use” since the requirements were released earlier this year.
The hospital began implementing electronic medical records in 2005. In spring 2011, if all of the criteria are met for “Stage 1, Meaningful Use,” TCMH will be in line to receive $1.6 million from the federal government for achieving meaningful use of electronic health records.
Murray commended the hospital information technology department and Doretta Todd-Willis, chief nursing officer at TCMH, for the work that has been done and will continue to be completed for TCMH to achieve meaningful use.
“Our staff is doing an outstanding job to ensure that we meet the government’s requirements when the time is right,” Murray said.
Building project: TCMH continues to work with USDA, HMN Architects and JE Dunn Construction to prepare for the hospital’s 58,000 square foot expansion and related remodeling and renovation in the spring. In October, TCMH was the recipient of an $18 million low-interest loan to fund the project.
Part of the loan requires that products used in the expansion are made in the United States, purchased through what the USDA calls the “Buy America” program.
“We fully support the buy America clause in our loan program, but it has created some challenges for us,” Murray explained.
One example Murray gave involved the new computed tomography (CT) machine that TCMH planned to purchase for the new radiology suite.
According to Murray, the state-of-the-art CT unit that TCMH planned to buy is made abroad, and the unit made in the U.S. is not as sophisticated and costs $200,000 more than the foreign made model.
“There is a way for us to deal with issues like this that may arise,” Murray said. “Anything that we already own prior t0 finalizing the loan with the USDA, we can go ahead and use in the project.”
TCMH may make some capital purchases before signing the USDA loan documents. To offset some of those costs, TCMH can also use some of the USDA loan funds to pay for costs already incurred, such as architectural and engineering fees before getting approval for the loan.
“These are some of the challenges that we face,” Murray explained. “But we can work with the system, and the USDA fully supports our efforts.”
“We have to do what’s best for our patients in the long run,” Kirkwood said.
Pamperien explained that she along with directors of the various hospital departments were “doing our due diligence” to ensure that the loan funds were spent appropriately and where the hospital could get the most for their dollars spent.
Murray met with the Houston City Council the first week of November to explain how the expansion would involve the city.
“The city is very supportive and willing to work with us,” Murray said regarding the meeting.
Murray also reported to board members that TCMH received “Business of the Year” honors from the Mountain Grove Chamber of Commerce.
“To be awarded Business of the Year shows the commitment of Mountain Grove to our business and their gratitude for what we are doing in their community,” Murray said.
Present at the meeting were Murray; Pamperien; Todd-Willis; Joleen Senter Durham, public relations director; Dr. Charlie Rasmussen, vice chief of staff; Ellen Willis, physical therapist; Cory Robinette, physical therapy student; and board members Fockler, Kirkwood, Mark Hampton and Janet Wiseman. Board member Mark Forbes was absent.
Due to the holidays, board members agreed to move their December monthly meeting up one week. The next meeting of the TCMH board of trustees is noon Tuesday, Dec. 21, in the downstairs meeting room of the hospital.