Texas County Memorial Hospital building
Texas County Memorial Hospital Credit: FILE PHOTO

New equipment for the radiology department was discussed Tuesday during a meeting of the Texas County Memorial Hospital board of trustees. An alarming trend in COVID-19 cases also was highlighted.

“We have placed an order for two new ultrasound machines, computed tomography (CT) machine, portable X-ray and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI),” Chris Strickland, chief executive officer at TCMH, said. “This new equipment will provide us with the latest and greatest in technology.”

“The CT comes with special software especially for lung and cardiac,” Linda Pamperien, chief financial officer, said. “Having this equipment will give us the ability to do more acute needs, along with caring for COVID patients that have long-term effects.”

She said the CT will allow the hospital to do more intense lung scans that we were not able to do before with older equipment. The ultrasound equipment will have the capability to check for blood clots in COVID patients.

Funds from the CARES Act, enacted last year, must be spent by June 30.  

“We are replacing our current MRI with an Orion from Canon,” Strickland said.  “We are moving from a 55 centimeter bore to a 71 centimeter bore with all new software that will allow us the most advanced technology.”

FINANCIAL REPORT

Overall revenues were up $16,676 for the month, a .25 percent increase from budgeted expectations, Pamperian reported. There was a 20.5 percent decline in inpatient volume, which represented $283,829.

Outpatient revenue showed progress — up $288,538 for the month. Emergency room increased volumes drove an increase in other outpatient areas, such as radiology and lab.

Bad debt in May was $288,834.

The month ended with a loss of $205,050. The year-to-date loss is $669,253.

“Our other revenues were up from our budgeted expectations this month by $1,352,963,” Pamperien mentioned. “This year remains unusual with one-time only items budgeted in this category.” She noted that the increase in other revenues in May was the result of $1.6 million in funding received as part of a roof insurance claim.

OTHER ITEMS

•A PPP loan of about $2.2 million has been forgiven by the Small Business Administration, Strickland said.

•Courtney Owens, quality management director, mentioned that the Medicare Spending per Beneficiary (MSPB) scores were released.  These assess the cost of services immediately prior to, during and following a beneficiary’s hospital stay.  The goal is to be less than 1.

“A snapshot of data was captured from July 1 through Dec. 31, 2020,” Owens said. “We ended with a MSPB score of 1.03 with a comparison to the state average of .98 and national average of .99.”

Owens mentioned when the calculation of risk adjustments was added in, the hospital’s number got inflated.  She noted the hospital had done well, but there is always room for improvement.

•Helania Wulff, director of public relations, gave an update on physician recruitment efforts ongoing with virtual recruiting events and continuous searches. 

COVID CASES INCREASING

Strickland said Missouri is No. 1 in the United States with a COVID uprise, especially southwest Missouri. 

This dramatic increase in positive COVID cases is directly related to our vaccination rates being extremely low in Missouri

TCMH CEO Chris Strickland

“The drastic increase in positive COVID cases is directly related to our vaccination rates being extremely low in Missouri,”  Strickland said.

“TCMH has had 166 COVID positive inpatients since July 31 of last year,” Owens said. “This number includes 7 for the month of May, and 10 for June already.” 

“During the month of May, we ran 261 COVID tests in house with 25 positive results giving us a positivity rate of 9.6 percent,” Owens said.  “During the first 10 days of June, we already ran 83 COVID tests with 27 positive results giving us a positivity rate of 33 percent.”

“For our employees only, we have had 13 positive cases for the month so far,” Owens said. “And 3 of them have been hospitalized.”

In other matters, members:

•Heard Strickland report a new digital sign will be installed in front of the hospital to replace a damaged one. A grant and an insurance payment will cover the costs.

•Learned West Plains Propane had the low bid among four companies. The cost is $1.22 a gallon. Last year’s figure was 78 cents per gallon. That will increase estimated costs from $93,000 to $145,000.

•Heard that the hospital’s foundation raised nearly $23,000 at a recent golf tournament. There were 74 golfers and 66 sponsors. Funds go primarily for scholarships. A deadline to apply for a fall 2021 scholarship is noon July 1.

•Were told a reopening of Hutcheson Pharmacy’s lobby will be marked with a public event Wednesday, June 30. There will be COVID-19 vaccine available, free hot dogs and drinks from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., Custard by C-Sue from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. A cooler basket drawing is at 5:30 p.m.

•Heard that the hospital’s 2020 annual report is finalized, printed and ready for distribution in communities.

Others present for the meeting were Jonathan Beers, DO, chief of staff; board members Jim Perry, Allan Branstetter, Joleen Durham, Jay Loveland and Steve Pierce.

The next board meeting is noon, Tuesday, July 27, in the Jayson Gentry Community Safe Room. To attend by teleconference, call 417-967-1236 to be placed into the teleconference meeting.

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