An architectural rendering of the tornado safe room and surgery department entrance at Texas County Memorial Hospital.

The Texas County Memorial Hospital Healthcare Foundation has launched “Care for Your Future,” a $3.2 million capital campaign to construct a new surgical department and tornado safe room to be attached to the current hospital.

The project will complement the current $19.1 million, 59,000 square foot expansion and renovation project already under way at the county hospital.

Wes Murray, TCMH CEO, said the hospital’s board is committed to continue improvements after the current project is completed. Under construction is a new medical surgical department and new 13-bed emergency department and radiology suite.

“To continue to build on the future of patient care at TCMH, we must press forward continuing to improve all of our patient care areas, including surgery, obstetrics and intensive care. Construction and renovation of the surgery department must be done first.”

Murray noted that surgical services are “a key component to providing primary care and taking care of obstetrics and intensive care patients.”

The surgical department construction project will also include construction of a Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) approved tornado safe room.

“The FEMA approved tornado safe room will provide safe care for our patients, staff and community members during severe weather,” Murray said. “We are the first hospital in the state of Missouri to receive funding for a tornado safe room for our community.”

Murray explained that the TCMH Healthcare Foundation was asked by the hospital board and administration to take on a capital campaign project to help fund the additional construction needs. TCMH does not receive county tax funds to assist in building and maintaining the hospital facilities or to help run the day-to-day operations of the hospital.

“For the first time in over 20 years TCMH is approaching the community asking for a pledge of financial support,” Murray said. “This community-wide campaign will only be successful if every family considers the value of healthcare in our rural community.”

Jay Gentry, director of the healthcare foundation, began working with the foundation’s board of directors in the spring of 2011 to put together a steering committee of community volunteers to lead the campaign efforts.

Dr. I.C. Keeney is the honorary chare of the steering committee. Other committee members include Reese Bucher, Jim Bukowsky, Omanez Fockler, Conway Hawn, Joe Hederman, Gena Hillhouse, Diane Ingalls, Kay Jordan, Anne-Marie Mueller, Murray, Linda Pamperien, Stacey Rasmussen and Joleen Senter Durham.

Keeney, a lifelong resident of Texas County, considers the local hospital to be a vital part of the community.

“Anybody that comes to our area looking to live here asks about two things – hospital and schools,” Keeney said. “Having a hospital in the community provides more industry for the community and better teachers for our schools.”

Care for Your Future is the official title of the capital campaign, and materials for the project have been put together for distribution to community members. Information about the campaign is also available on the foundation and hospital websites. Additionally, the healthcare foundation placed information about the campaign project in the hospital’s main hallway – directly across the hall from information about the current construction and renovation project under way at TCMH.

“On behalf of our capital campaign steering committee and the many other community volunteers involved in the fundraising process, I am pleased to share our vision for meeting the future healthcare needs of our county,” Gentry said. “We believe this plan addresses the limitations of the aging and inadequate portions of our surgery department and adds a tornado safe room to the hospital property.”

The new surgery department will double the size of two operating rooms and add an outpatient surgery room for 6,091 square feet of climate-controlled space. The latest technology will be incorporated in the building and design of the new department that increases operating room efficiency. Seven private pre- and post-surgery bays will be part of the new department, increasing privacy for patients and their family members and allowing for infant/parent bonding following C-sections.

The tornado safe room will have 4,000 square feet of climate-controlled space that can be utilized as waiting space during non-threatening weather times. During threatening weather, the room will be capable of sustaining 250 mile per hour winds for two hours as well as providing shelter for up to 462 patients, staff members and community residents. The tornado safe room at the hospital will enhance the hospital’s capabilities for triage during times of mass casualty as well as supplying an additional generator with backup power.

FEMA has already approved a portion of the funding to build the tornado safe room, and the $562,000 in FEMA funds is included in the $3.2 million fundraising goal.

In addition to the FEMA funds, members of the capital campaign steering committee have already solicited pledges and funds from businesses and individuals. These initial funds total $862,000.

“We are extremely excited about the commitment of funds we have already received toward our $3.2 million goal,” Gentry said. “Our community members are extremely receptive to our campaign goals, and they understand the importance of our hospital to our rural communities.”

Murray noted that although capital campaigns are very common, they have not been commonly done in south-central Missouri.

“I know there are many people that have a passion for our hospital,” Murray said, “and they have different levels of ability to support this project.”

Murray cautioned that the current construction under way at TCMH not be confused with the construction that will be done as part of the capital campaign.

“Our current construction will be paid for by the hospital from the revenues of the hospital,” Murray said. “But there is still work that needs to be done to our hospital to make all of our patient areas meet today’s healthcare needs.”

Murray explained that rather than ask for tax support, the hospital is hoping to raise the additional funds needed through Care for Your Future.

“We are giving our community the option of raising money for the hospital by giving on their own,” Murray said. “Every dollar that’s given is an investment in our county, the hospital and the people of this area. Every dollar given will stay here to benefit our community, and we hope people can connect with that purpose.”

Charlie Rasmussen, chief of the TCMH medical staff, commended the foundation on its efforts to continue to improve the hospital.

“This construction project demonstrates the hospital’s commitment to the area patients and to the physicians and staff that care for the patients,” he said.

Rasmussen noted that more technologically advanced spaces will allow the physicians and the hospital staff better areas to do their jobs more efficiently.

“Greater efficiency will in turn create a better overall patient experience,” he said.

The Care for Your Future campaign is reaching out to individuals and businesses throughout the area to raise the additional funds needed to reach the goal. Care for Your Future provides donors the opportunity to receive recognition with naming opportunities throughout all of the TCMH construction projects which include patient rooms, meeting rooms, specific departments and the new medical surgical patient tower.

“Many donors like to honor or memorialize a loved one with a donation,” Gentry explained. “The Care for Your Future naming opportunities also allows individuals or families to also connect with this important community project in a significant and lasting way.”

For additional information about Care for Your Future, contact Gentry at 417-967-1377 or


The project will complement the current $19.1 million, 59,000square foot expansion and renovation project already under way atthe county hospital.

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