Members of the TCMH board of trustees met Tuesday.

Members of the Texas County Memorial Hospital board of trustees learned a new program to cut pharmacy costs for uninsured patients will start later this month.

TCMH CEO Murray reported that the 340B contract pharmacy program will begin at TCMH about mid-March.

“Our goal is to have all eligible local pharmacies contracting with the program,” Murray said. 

The program provides a drug discount for TCMH outpatients that are uninsured.

“We have physicians and patients that have expressed enthusiasm about this program,” Murray said. “They are anxious to see the program begin and believe it will be a great benefit.”

Medical students to arrive: In May, June and July, TCMH will host two University of Missouri medical students with local ties as part of the “MU Summer Community Program,” a scholarship program for second year medical students. 

Doug Crase of Edgar Springs and Sarah Warner Williams of Houston will spend a few weeks this summer working with Dr. Charlie Rasmussen and other physicians at TCMH.  Crase and Williams will have the opportunity to experience a rural physician’s perspective on primary care, and TCMH will provide a small scholarship toward each student’s upcoming school tuition.

“There were several MU medical students that wanted to come to TCMH this summer,” Murray explained.  “We are really happy to bring two students to the area that are already familiar with rural healthcare and that are interested in working in a setting like Texas County.”

Crase and Williams both have two more years of medical school and a medical residency program after this summer, but Murray acknowledged that it’s never too early to talk with local students about opportunities.

“Connecting with area students that are interested in healthcare careers meets our strategic planning goals for recruiting future providers to TCMH,” Murray said. 

TCMH has hosted students from MU for the past four years, usually one student for four weeks each summer.

Practitioner: Adding to provider services at TCMH, Ray Bruno, a family nurse practitioner, has agreed to continue to work at the hospital one day at week. Bruno had worked one day a week at the Licking clinic for the past two years, but a full-time mid-level provider, Kimberly Olving, began working at the clinic in January.

Bruno is seeing patients on Tuesdays at the TCMH Medical Complex.

“We appreciate Ray’s flexibility and his desire to continue to work with us,” Murray said.  “He is able to help relieve some of the patient load from the physicians at the Houston clinic.”

New equipment: Board members agreed unanimously to utilize $13,180 from the 2012 capital budget contingency fund to purchase a computerized monitoring system for the emergency department that is designed to interface with special computerized monitoring from the medical surgical department and the intensive care unit.

A new patient monitoring system was already planned and budgeted for with the TCMH medical surgical department expansion. About $80,000 was also included in the 2012 capital budget to purchase new patient monitors for the intensive care unit that would work with the new medical surgical department monitors.

“The addition of another monitor in the emergency department will ensure that our patients have 24/7 monitoring on the new system,” Linda Pamperien, chief financial officer, explained when presenting the request to the board.

The new monitor will not be purchased until the complete system is purchased and installed later this year. However, a signed purchase order was required for the company to plan the emergency department computer installation in addition to those in the medical surgical department and intensive care unit.

Profit: TCMH started off 2012 with a positive bottom line of $94,625, according Pamperien.

“Outpatient revenues were up above budgeted expectations for the first time in several months,” Pamperien said.  Inpatient revenues were also up January.

Present at the meeting were Murray; Pamperien; Rasmussen; Doretta Todd-Willis, chief nursing officer; Joleen Senter Durham, public relations director; Dr. John Duff, CoxHealth representative; and board members Omanez Fockler, Janet Wiseman, Mark Hampton and Dr. Jim Perry.  Board member Mark Forbes was absent.

The next meeting of the TCMH board of trustees is noon Tuesday, March 27, in the hospital’s basement meeting room.

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