A jump in emergency room usage helped to produce a profit in July, the Texas County Memorial Hospital board of trustees heard Tuesday.

The hospital turned a gain of nearly $150,000.

“Our positive bottom line for July was a direct result of an increase in our revenues,” said Linda Pamperien. The numbers brought TCMH’s year-to-date loss down to $329,463.

Overall revenues stood at about $1.63 million for the month, which was about a 25 percent increase from budget.

Sicker patients due primarily due to COVID-19 resulted into a 75.5 percent increase in inpatient volume at about $1.04 million.

Outpatient volumes — amid a surge in ER visits — were up about $605,796 for the month, a reflection of increased usage that drives other departments, including CT, ambulance and lab.

“The trend will likely continue as our inpatients are sicker and staying longer due to COVID,” Pamperien said.

Expenses were up about $193,503, sparked due to using expensive medications on COVID patients to ensure the best quality care.

“We are currently administrating the Actemra IV medication for those who are severely ill,” Dr. Jonathan Beers, chief of staff, said. “We have seen several patients lately that fit this category.”

“We are also taking advantage of monoclonal antibody infusions to combat COVID,” said Amana Turpin, chief nursing officer. “The infusions are for those patients who have either had high risk exposure to COVID or are COVID positive, but not sick enough to be hospitalized.”

Jessica Gettys, TCMH pharmacist, was recognized for her work on determining the newest medications for treatment of COVID. “We want to ensure the physicians are provided with all the tools they need to fight COVID,” Pamperien said.


Trustees heard several reports on projects occurring at the hospital:

•CEO Chris Stickland said the Licking ambulance base has moved to a temporary location with intentions to land at a permanent outpost.

•Courtney Owens, quality management director, reported on a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services  report that involves the hospital’s readmission numbers. “For the reporting, we had 328 eligible discharges that were reviewed around COPD and heart failure,” she said. “We had 68 patients of those 328 discharges that will into this category.

The result was a reduction of a half percent. “Traditionally we run about 1 percent reduction with our readmissions. Our outcome on this payment adjustment was really good and we are pleased.”

•Helania Wulff, director of public relations, highlighted physician recruitment efforts and a recent visit to Wichita. “We were able to make great connections with a few high-quality physicians,” she said. “We are looking forward to their visit at TCMH and have high expections of bringing a couple of family medicine physicians to our community.”

•Strickland noted FDA approval of the Pfizer (Comirnaty) vaccine on Aug. 23. Those 12-16 are still only approved for emergency use. The hospital participated at several back-to-school events to increase vaccination numbers.

•Owens gave a report on a patient feedback survey launched Aug. 1. Emergency room patients are encouraged to complete it. About 1,000 records have been submitted to a firm to gather information.

•Strickland reported that the hospital is seeking a quick replacement for X-ray equipment at its Licking clinic after it recently went down to technology issues.

•A project to improve accessibility at a north TCMH driveway entrance is underway. The hospital is working with MoDOT’s Transportation Advisory Committee to install a traffic light where Highway 17 lines up with it. “It is a dangerous intersection especially if you are turning left,” Stickland said. “We would like to see this happen for the safety of everyone.” It is among projects in the mix for possible funding.

•Stickland also gave a report on a quarterly breakfast meeting that brings city and county leaders together to work for the betterment of communities.

•Beers and Strickland will travel Sept. 21 for a lobbying trip to Washington, D.C. U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt and Rep. Jason Smith will be visited.

The board’s next meeting is noon Tuesday, Sept. 28, in the Jayson Gentry Community Safe Room. Persons can attend the teleconference by calling 417-967-1236 and ask to be placed into the meeting.

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