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

Texas County Memorial Hospital has an emergency surge staffing plan in place, in preparation for another Covid spike, board members heard at their monthly meeting on Tuesday.

Chris Strickland, TCMH chief executive officer, explained that the plan will keep medical surgical and emergency departments operational. The plan, if needed, restricts service lines, rotating staff and mandating overtime.  

“We are monitoring the current Covid situation very closely,” Strickland said. “Thankfully, at this time our Covid patient numbers are remaining steady.” Strickland explained that TCMH continues to be short staffed, so the plan is a precautionary measure for a worst-case scenario.

We are monitoring the current Covid situation very closely.

TCMH CEO CHris Strickland

According to Strickland, Missouri’s risk level has elevated to “severe” this week, the highest classification level.  Covid patient levels in Missouri are the same as the first big Covid wave in 2020. The infection rate in Missouri is currently 1.14 and the positive test rate is 21.3 percent. Daily new positive cases are 83.1 per 100,000 people this week, in comparison to 39.7 last week.

“The ICU beds occupied in Missouri crept back up to the critical category with 86 percent occupancy,” Strickland said. “This makes it very hard to get patients transferred to other hospitals even when desperately needed.”

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According to Strickland, estimated influenza activity in Missouri is now widespread, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

“Missouri’s season-to-date lab-positive influenza cases include 6,033 influenza A, 685 influenza B, and 70 untyped,” Strickland said. “We have detected influenza A through our TCMH lab already and the symptoms include high fever, cough, nasal drainage, chills, sore throat and muscle aches.”

“With Covid and influenza numbers escalating we are preparing our hospital for the worst,” Strickland said. “The hospital and staff will do all we can to make sure our patients are well taken care of.”

In November, Linda Pamperien, TCMH chief financial officer, reported that inpatient and outpatient revenues were up, and expenses were down.

“With the increase in revenue and overall expenses being lower, the hospital ended the month of November with a positive bottom line of $192,822 and a year-to-date loss of $510,806,” Pamperien said.

TCMH board members approved the 2022 operating and capital budgets at the meeting.

Capital funds are allocated to purchase a new ambulance, two glidescopes, a lap tower with colonoscopy, a esophagogastroduodenoscopies (EGD) scope, an immediate use sterilizer, two vital sign monitors, a sterilizer, a c-arm, two electrocardiogram (EKG) machines, a treadmill for nuclear stress testing, a ventilator, a single node scale for disaster recovery, microbiology, clinic X-ray equipment, an infant warmer and 44 computers to replace old computers.

The 2022 operating budget includes $2.3 million for Covid expenses such as medications, testing, and staffing.

Helania Wulff, TCMH director of public relations, marketing and physician recruitment, announced that Dr. Hollis Tidmore, general surgeon, has signed a contract with the hospital. 

“We are very excited to welcome Dr. Tidmore to our hospital and community,” Wulff said. “His tentative start date will be April 11.”

Jeff Gettys, TCMH Healthcare Foundation director, provided as overview of the recent foundation activities including the online auction and UTV raffle to benefit TCMH Hospice of Care. 

“The Hospice of Care online auction raised $32,020.66 and the UTV raffle raised $8,168,” Gettys said. “We are grateful for all the support from our sponsors and community as 100 percent of the proceeds will benefit Hospice of Care.”

Gettys discussed the recent Community Improvement District (CID) annual meeting. He said that Steve Hutcheson was elected as district chairman. 

“The total CID disbursement for 2021 was $121,546.95,” Gettys said. “These funds were utilized for a triple sink-wash, rinse and sonic clean, Amsco washer-disinfector with rack, and controls and boxes for chiller/HVAC.”

Present at the meeting were Strickland; Pamperien; Wulff; Gettys; Courtney Owens, quality director; Jonathan Beers, DO, chief of staff; Renina Pearce, medical staff coordinator; board members, Dr. Jim Perry, OD; Jay Loveland; Joleen Durham; Allan Branstetter and Steve Pierce.

The next meeting of the TCMH board of trustees is noon Tuesday, Jan. 25in the Jayson Gentry Community Safe Room.  Due to COVID-19 and social distancing restrictions, persons may attend the meeting via teleconference. Call 417-967-1236 to be placed into the teleconference meeting.

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