Texas County Memorial Hospital received a big boost for its surgical center project Thursday when Gov. Mike Parson signed legislation directly appropriating $1 million in capital funding for the effort.
TCMH also was earlier awarded a U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development grant also totaling $1 million for the project.
The funds in the state budget represent a big boost from state government, and Jeff Gettys, project director at TCMH, praised the efforts of Sen. Karla Eslinger, who represents Texas County, for her help to make sure the project made it to the finish line last week. He said Eslinger went to bat for the institution and worked with officials in Parson’s office to highlight the project’s merits.
“As construction costs continue to rise, it is imperative that we continue to explore alternative sources of funding to successfully complete these major improvements throughout our health system,” Gettys said.
USDA created the Emergency Rural Healthcare Grant program through the American Rescue Plan Act to address immediate healthcare needs and services in rural communities.
The hospital will use these funds to assist it in the completion of a surgery area, thus improving critical access to quality healthcare services for area residents and will also help the hospital prepare for future pandemics by increasing its capacity for vital medical surgery, director Kyle Wilkens said.
Additionally, a temporary funding source — a Community Improvement District — contributes funds toward costs through a quarter-cent sales tax.
WORK ALREADY DONE
The surgery center shell — between the Jayson Gentry Community Safe Room and east wing of the hospital — is already built and in place. When the hospital constructed the safe room, it included space between the safe room and hospital to build a new surgery department. The new surgery center is designed to house two operating rooms, an endoscopy suite and for pre-surgical prep and post-surgery recovery.