The new TCMH surgery department will be located between the Jayson Gentry Community Safe Room, left, and the east wing of the hospital. The two center windows shown here are part of the hallway outside the new department.

Texas County Memorial Hospital anticipates a 6,000 square foot surgery center will be completed by the summer of 2018.

During their monthly meeting last week, board members unanimously agreed to approve a resolution accepting a $150,000 Delta Region Authority grant for the project. With the funds, TCMH said it will be able to complete infill for the planned surgery department.

“This grant couldn’t have come at a better time,” said Wes Murray, TCMH chief executive officer.

The department shell — between the Jayson Gentry Community Safe Room and east wing of the hospital — is already built and in place. When the hospital built the safe room, it included space between the safe room and hospital to build a new surgery department.

TCMH anticipates an 18-month turnaround time on the surgery project.

“Our plant operations crew will build out the department according to the plans that we already have drawn up,” Murray said.

Several years ago, the hospital began working toward building or renovating all patient care areas. The final phases of the plan include building a new surgery department, and relocating and enlarging the obstetrics department in the old surgery space and relocating and enlarging the intensive care unit in the old obstetrics space.

The new surgery department is designed to house two operating rooms, an endoscopy suite and seven private rooms for pre-surgical prep and post-surgery recovery.

The anticipated cost to complete construction is $990,500. In addition to the $150,000 federal grant, TCMH will utilize funds raised during the “Care for Your Future” capital campaign and tax credits.

TCMH said it requested $200,000 from the Delta Region Authority for the project, so the effort is still $50,000 short.

“We will continue to work toward raising funds for the surgery department and other future capital and construction needs at TCMH,” Murray said.

The TCMH Healthcare Foundation has a brick paver project underway that will raise additional funds and create an engraved brick paver area at the front entrance of the hospital. The brick paver funds could be utilized to continue capital projects.

Murray told board members that the new surgery department was a key factor to recruiting Dr. Jason Loden to work at TCMH when he completes his residency in 2018. He and his wife, Dr. Teresa Loden, both signed with the hospital.

“Dr. Loden and I have talked about the things he can concentrate on in his final months of residency to best meet the surgical needs of the patients in our area,” Murray said. “Dr. Loden also has a lot of interest in providing wound care and offering additional services for area patients with wound care needs.”


Murray said Dr. Teresa Loden, a pediatrician, was welcomed by all members of the TCMH staff when she recently visited the hospital and met with hospital staff.

“In the past, our family medicine physicians have provided care for pediatric patients, and they expressed to Dr. Loden the need for additional specialized pediatric care for area pediatric patients,” Murray said.

Physicians in the emergency department at TCMH were especially vocal to Murray about the need for a local pediatrician.

“Our ER physicians have found it very difficult to get follow up care with a pediatrician for young patients that receive initial treatment in the ER,” Murray said.

Murray said with the recruiting of Dr. Jason and Dr. Teresa Loden, the hospital’s current physician recruiting needs are filled.


Dr. Cory Offutt began working at the TCMH Medical Complex in Houston in July. Dr. Jennifer Groner began working full-time at the TCMH Mountain Grove Clinic in November.

Offutt and Groner are board certified family medicine and obstetrics physicians. Groner just completed her first week of work at TCMH.

Murray explained that for Groner, the traditional family medicine practice is “somewhat different” than the academic setting where she has worked for the past six years.

“We’re very glad to have a full-time physician at the clinic in Mountain Grove, and we believe that practice will continue to grow with Dr. Groner at the helm,” Murray said.


The Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Clinic began working with patients last week, Murray said. The clinic is at the end of the hospital’s east wing where four patient rooms were renovated to house the program.

TCMH recently received a $357,000 grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH) to fund a three-year outpatient cardiopulmonary rehabilitation program. Patients will qualify for the multi-disciplinary program following testing for lung disease. The 12-week program will help patients improve lung function and activities of daily living.

Funds from the grant are utilized to employ a part-time secretary for the program and a full-time respiratory therapist. Kathy Carr, cardiac rehabilitation nurse at TCMH, is also working with the cardiopulmonary rehabilitation patients. Dr. Juan Mella, pulmonologist at TCMH, will oversee the program and patients.

“Dr. Mella has already referred 22 patients to the program, and nine additional referrals have been made by other physicians to the program,” Murray reported. TCMH said it has a goal of averaging four new patients each week for the cardiopulmonary rehabilitation program.

Murray reported that patient referrals to the Sleep Study Laboratory is also growing. In August, the laboratory added new sleep study technology and increased availability for the lab.

“We are averaging 29 patients a month and growing,” Murray said.

Before Mella joining the TCMH medical staff, the Sleep Studies Laboratory averaged 10 patients a month.

“The addition of Dr. Mella’s specialized pulmonology and sleep services are working the way they are supposed to,” Murray said.


Anita Kuhn, controller at TCMH, presented the financial statement for October. Inpatient volumes were down $322,612 from budgeted expectations, but outpatient volumes were up $354,744 from budgeted expectations. TCMH ended October with a negative bottom line of $47,000 and a year-to-date negative balance of $1,032,745.

According to Kuhn, the TCMH is down 83 admissions for the year in comparison to last year. Swing bed utilization was moderate with eight admissions in October.

Present at the meeting were: Murray; Kuhn; Doretta Todd-Willis, TCMH chief nursing officer; Amanda Turpin, quality management director; Joleen Senter Durham, director of public relations; Ron Prenger, CoxHealth representative; and board members Dr. Jim Perry, DO, Janet Wiseman, Omanez Fockler and Mark Hampton. TCMH board member Russell Gaither was absent.

Due to the Christmas holiday, the next meeting of the TCMH board of trustees is noon Dec. 20 in the TCMH board room.

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