Holiday Giving Program Begins at Hospital

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The Texas County Memorial Hospital Healthcare Foundation begins its ninth year of “Celebrate Our Memories” in partnership with TCMH Hospice of Care this week.

Beginning Fri., Nov. 24th a nine-foot Christmas tree in the front lobby of the hospital will hold Christmas ornaments that can be “gifted” and inscribed with the name or a message in honor or in memory of someone special in their life.

The Foundation will divide all funds generated by the program with another TCMH entity—Hospice of Care–so the Christmas program actually benefits two local charitable organizations.

As part of Celebrate Our Memories, those who have “gifted” an ornament will be invited to keep the ornament as a personal keepsake of their memory at the end of the holiday season, after the tree is removed from the hospital’s front lobby.

The ornaments are hung on the tree as they are gifted.   Sponsorship of one ornament is $25, and anyone can gift as many ornaments as they wish.  Ornaments can be gifted by groups or by individuals.  Gifted ornaments can honor a group, an individual such as a teacher, a parent, a friend, or other loved one.

Anyone who gifts an ornament can provide a name or message that will be inscribed on the ornament tag for them.

“It’s the goal of the Foundation and Hospice of Care to have at least 100 ornaments gifted in recognition of someone this holiday season,” Gentry said.

Hospice of Care uses the funding they receive from the program to provide hospice care, supplies and equipment for patients and their families in Texas county and surrounding areas.  The Healthcare Foundation uses their portion of the funds in meeting a mission of ensuring the quality of healthcare services for children, women and men at the county hospital.

“I am already soliciting and receiving sponsorships for the Celebrate Our Memories program,” he said.  “We hope to have several ornaments on the tree as soon as it goes up.”

Those who wish to gift an ornament should contact Courtney Owens, director of TCMH Hospice of Care at (417) 967-1279 for a form to fill out.  Forms are also available here, at the TCMH Auxiliary Gift Shop located at the front entrance to the hospital, and on the Healthcare Foundation’s website,

A letter of recognition will be sent to those who gift an ornament, and ornaments will be available for pick up at the hospital after the holiday season.

All proceeds from the program will remain in the area and directly impact the local community.  Any donation made to the TCMH Healthcare Foundation or to Hospice of Care is tax deductible.

Chili Cook Off Raises $59,166 for Hospice of Care

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Walmart Super Chili took home top honors for Team Fundraising for the second year in a row, raising $7,405 this year. The team’s chili also won 2nd place in Judge’s Choice for chili. Left to right from the Houston Walmart are: Amanda Weybright; Samantha Mings; Cassie Carter; Alicia Dixon, and Kevin Carter.

A display of “Blue Ribbon Chili” made with pulled pork, ready for sampling.

The Houston Walmart Supercenter came away as the big winner for the second year in a row at the Eleventh Annual Texas County Memorial Hospital Healthcare Foundation Chili Cook Off.  Held in Houston on November 4th, “Walmart Super Chili”, the superhero-themed team from Walmart, raised $7,405 to benefit TCMH Hospice of Care.

The Houston Walmart Supercenter team was one of 14 different teams that cooked chili and competed for prizes in six different categories.  This year’s team fundraising effort totaled $24,335.  The remainder of funds was raised through sponsorships, admission, and auctions at the event.

All of the funds raised at the Foundation event benefit TCMH Hospice of Care which provides end of life and grief support care for patients and their families in Texas County and the surrounding area.

This year’s Chili Cook Off was dedicated to the memory of the late Dr. I.C. Keeney, longtime veterinarian in Texas County.

For the past 11 years Keeney and his wife, Margaret, and their friends, John and Jeannie Beltz of Willow Springs, donated a beef purchased at the county fair to raise funds for the Chili Cook Off and Hospice of Care.  Prior to the inception of the cook off, the Keeney and Beltz families purchased a beef that was donated to Hospice of Care to raise funds for the organization.

The Keeney and Beltz families were in attendance at the event.

David Keeney and Diane Pierce, children of IC and Margaret Keeney, accepted a plaque honoring Dr. Keeney.  David Keeney spoke about the family’s experience with Hospice of Care.

“Hospice has a very special place in my whole family’s heart,” Keeney told the crowd.  Approximately 300 were in attendance throughout the day.

David Keeney and Diane Pierce accepted a plaque honoring the Keeney family at the Cook Off which was dedicated to the memory of their father, the late Dr. I.C. Keeney. Presenting the award were Courtney Owens, TCMH Hospice of Care and Jay Gentry, TCMH Healthcare Foundation.

Keeney explained that his grandparents received hospice care when they passed away many years earlier.  At the time Keeney didn’t realize how hospice services functioned until he and his family experienced Hospice of Care in the last three days of Dr. I.C. Keeney’s life.

Keeney described leaving a hospital in Springfield with his father and returning to his parent’s home where Hospice of Care had made arrangements for a hospital bed to be placed in the sunroom of the home, the place where Dr. I.C. Keeney enjoyed spending at least half his time looking out over the farm, watching wildlife and his herd of cattle.

“Hospice facilitated getting that bed and placing it in my dad’s favorite place in their home, and in those last three days, the family gathered there with him,” Keeney said.  He explained that even the cattle came up in the field “coming to see him”.

Keeney explained that the efforts of Hospice of Care helped create a family bonding experience that was not expected but “so special”.

“It’s comforting to know that hospice is available to my family when the time comes,” Keeney said.  “My dad was right, for charitable causes, hospice is right up there at the top.”

Keeney’s comments kicked off the live auction portion of the event with Raymond Quick, auctioneer.  Numerous businesses and individuals donated items to be auctioned, including a steer purchased by the Keeney and Beltz families at the Texas County Fair.

The cook off also featured booths from each five-member cook off team.  The teams adopted a theme, a team name, and set about raising funds for their team earlier in the year through “casual days” at work, yard sales, raffles, bake sales, and other means.

The Houston Walmart Supercenter had 62 associates that volunteered to walk over 5 hours each in their free time, earning the team a $5,000 donation from the Walmart Corporation which they used to benefit Hospice of Care and to boost their team fundraising efforts.

“This event would not be possible without the incredible effort of the chili cook off teams,” Jay Gentry, TCMH Healthcare Foundation director, said.

Bob Roache prepares to sample “Happy Feet Chili” made Dutch oven-style for the Raymondville United Methodist Church team.

Also receiving top prizes for fundraising efforts were “Tea Time with Team Jayson”, a Cabool-based team in memory of Jayson Gentry, which raised $4,488 to receive second place in the team fundraising category.

“Happy Feet Chili” from Raymondville United Methodist Church raised $2,733 for third place in team fundraising.

The Faretheewells, an Ellington, MO-based Americana band, played throughout the day.  Twenty-five different chili recipes were available for those in attendance to sample and to enjoy all day long, too.

Chili styles ranged from spicy red or white.  Some chili recipes were made with beans and some without beans. There was chili made with shrimp, and chili made with corn.

Three chili judges representing sponsors and supporters of the event were Sandy Howard from Progressive Ozark Bank in Houston; Dr. Matt Brown from Mercy Clinic in Houston, and Diane Pierce from Online Metal Supply in Houston.  Prizes were given to the chili teams who were competing in several different categories.

“Hot Off the Farm”, the team from Justin Shelby’s State Farm Insurance agency, took home awards in four categories—Spiciest Chili, 2nd place for Judges’ Choice chili, 3rd place for Booth Decoration and also for People’s Choice chili. Left to right are: Alicia Wilson; Telisha Linscott; Airika Barnett, and Tammy Wade.

“Judges Choice” and first place went to “The Buckshots”, the TCMH med surg department which made a white chili.  The judges awarded second place to “Walmart Super Chili”, by Houston Walmart Supercenter, for their traditional red chili.  Third place went to “Hot Off the Farm”, by Justin Shelby’s State Farm Insurance office in Houston, for a slightly sweet beef and bean chili.

Seven teams made an additional chili style to enter into the “spicy” category. “Hot Off the Farm” also won the “Spiciest Chili” award, entering for a traditional red, spicy chili.

The cook off teams set up booths according to their team theme on Friday and Saturday morning of the event.  All teams had a team name and a theme, and the judges awarded prizes to the best decorated booths and booth themes.

Houston R-1 School “Chili Chili Bang Bang” had a Latin American fiesta theme with sombreros on their table.  “The A-Team” from Air Evac wore costumes representing different countries from around the world.  “Gold Nugget Chili” was a wild West-themed booth by the Houston FLBA.

“The Walking Wed Zombie Brides” from the TCMH Obstetrics department took home the top Booth Decorating prize again. Left to right are Angel Watkins, Rebecca Steelman, Jennifer Terrill, Yvonne Cope, Maylia Crewse, Dr. Chris Baldwin and Angela Watkins.

First place in the booth decorating category was “The Walking Wed Zombie Brides”, a gothic-style booth with skeletons and detritus of death.  The OB department nurses dressed zombie brides, and Dr. Christopher Baldwin of TCMH dressed a zombie groom.

The TCMH med surg department nursing staff dressed in hunting attire as “The Buckshots”.  The team created a hunting “lodge” from a pop up tent, complete with a glowing wood stove, and won second place for best team booth.

“Hot Off the Farm” won third place for booth decorations with fiery motorcycle décor.

Everyone in attendance was given a ballot to exercise their own vote for the “People’s Choice” in chili or chili cook off teams. “Tea Time with Team Jayson” won first for people’s choice.  “The Buckshots” won second place in the people’s choice category. “Hot Off the Farm” came in third for people’s choice.

TCMH employees in attendance were given the opportunity to vote for the “TCMH Choice” among TCMH teams participating in the event.  “Marvels”, the TCMH emergency department team, won among TCMH employee voters, an honor the team has enjoyed in the past.

Gentry noted that teams helped sell raffle tickets for a shotgun and a Kawasaki-brand utility vehicle that were raffled at the end of the event.

With one lucky ticket, Kim Brugman of Edgar Springs won the Kawasaki Mule. Left to right are Wes Murray, TCMH CEO; Mark Brugman; Kim Brugman; Courtney Owens, TCMH Hospice of Care, and Jay Gentry, TCMH Healthcare Foundation.

Kay Brugman of Edgar Springs won the UTV.  Candy Cooper of Mountain Grove won the gun.

After Saturday’s event, the cook off raised $44,754 in cash donations and $14,412 in in-kind donations.  All the proceeds raised by the Chili Cook Off support Hospice of Care and remain in Texas County to benefit area residents.

Donations came in the form of sponsorships by area businesses for chili teams, corporate and entertainment sponsorships, cash donations, and donations of items for the auctions.

The Healthcare Foundation has a designated “Hospice Fund” where the cook off funds and other donations to Hospice of Care are held.

The Houston R-1 School team booth provided a chili photo op for Hospice of Care staff Courtney Owens and Sara McDaniel of TCMH Hospice of Care.

Healthcare Foundation to Award $2,000 in Scholarships

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The Texas County Memorial Hospital Healthcare Foundation plans to award $2,000 in educational scholarships for the spring 2018 academic year.  The organization is currently accepting applications for the scholarships.

The TCMH Healthcare Foundation Educational Scholarship Program is designed to assist area students that are pursuing or planning to pursue education in a healthcare related field or students currently working in healthcare that are pursuing additional education for their current career.

The Healthcare Foundation is in its tenth year of awarding scholarships in the fall and the spring, and the Foundation’s board of directors has awarded scholarships totaling $81,750 in that time.  Students from towns across the TCMH service area have received the scholarships.

“Educational scholarships are a major focus area of the Healthcare Foundation,” Jay Gentry, TCMH Healthcare Foundation director, stated.  “The board of directors of the Foundation recognizes the need to assist areas students in their educational endeavors with hopes that the student will return to or stay in the Texas County area to provide healthcare services to area residents after receiving additional education.”

Endowed scholarships provide some of the educational funds, and the Healthcare Foundation hosts an annual golf tournament to raise money for the scholarship program, and plans are underway to host a tournament again in 2018.

Eligible students for the scholarships must be accepted to or currently enrolled in an accredited university, college or post-secondary training program.  Residents of the TCMH service area—all of Texas County and Mountain Grove—and students that are graduates of Texas County and Mountain Grove schools are eligible to apply.  Applicants already pursuing a career in a healthcare organization, or applicants planning to pursue a career in a health field with direct patient care are eligible to apply for the scholarships.

The scholarship application asks for information about the student and requires a short essay about the student’s career and educational goals.  Applicants are also asked to list community involvement activities on their application, and they may be asked to meet with Foundation board members for a short personal interview.

The deadline for the spring scholarship application is January 15, 2018.  Awards for the scholarship will be announced by February 1, 2018.

For more information about the scholarship program or to receive an application, contact Gentry by phone at (417) 967-1377 or 1-866-967-3311, ext. 377 or by e-mail at  The scholarship application and complete details are also available here.

Two Missouri Hospital Trustees Honored as Trustee of the Year

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Two Missouri hospital trustees, Omanez Fockler, R.N., of Texas County Memorial Hospital in Houston, Mo., and Peggy Dunn of Truman Medical Centers Inc. in Kansas City, Mo., were named Trustee of the Year by the Missouri Hospital Association. The award was presented on Thursday, Nov. 2, during the Installation and Recognition Banquet at the Missouri Hospital Association’s 95th Annual Convention & Trade Show in Osage Beach, Mo.

Omanez Fockler with Herb Kuhn, Missouri Hospital Association President

Omanez Fockler, R.N., joined the Texas County Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees in November 2000. Since that time, she has served in multiple board roles including board chair, and she has led numerous committees. Her appointment to the board came only months after her retirement from TCMH, where she had worked as an R.N. since 1959. She has been a tireless advocate for TCMH and a voice for the nursing profession statewide. Her efforts and leadership were essential to the hospitals’ $19 million, 56,000 square foot expansion, and its establishment of primary care and clinic locations in Houston, Cabool and Mountain Grove.

Peggy Dunn joined the Truman Medical Center Inc. board in 2006. Her service to Truman Medical Centers Inc. has allowed the system to build a stronger, more community-connected board, expand access to health care services for at-risk populations and widen the patient population. She understands and is an advocate for the essential mission of Truman Medical Centers — exceptional care, without exception. Her service is reflected in her personal motto, “be kind.” She is the long-serving Mayor of Leewood, Kan., and a respected civic and cultural leader. Her service to the health system began in 2002 as a member of the TMC Foundation and later as the foundation chair. Dunn served as board chair at TMC from 2013 to 2017.

“Hospital trustees are essential to establishing and maintaining strong community connections,” said Herb B. Kuhn, MHA President and CEO. “This year’s honorees exemplify how a strong community voice can link an institution to the community it serves.”

The Missouri Hospital Association is a not-for-profit association in Jefferson City that represents 145 Missouri hospitals. In addition to representation and advocacy on behalf of its membership, the association offers continuing education programs on current health care topics and seeks to educate the public about health care issues.

Watch the video introduction of Omanez Fockler used at the MHA Convention.

Read the nomination of Omanez Fockler from Wes Murray, TCMH CEO.

Calling All Women to Kick the Habit in November

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By Tracey Arwood, CNM

Tracey Arwood, CNM

November is National Quit Smoking Month–an opportunity for women and men to put down their cigarettes, eliminating from their bodies over 9,000 chemicals and 60 cancer causing agents.

Most people are aware of the health risks of smoking and the benefits of quitting.  However, you may not be aware of the effect smoking has specifically on women.

Women are twice as likely to develop lung cancer related to smoking and at an earlier age than men.  Women who smoke are also 25 percent more likely to suffer from a heart attack or stroke than men who smoke.

Female smokers are at an increased risk for depression, chronic pain, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, cataracts, gum disease, ulcers, and complications after surgery.  Women in their 20s and 30s who smoke are more likely to suffer from irregular and painful periods, infertility, pregnancy loss, pregnancy complications, breathing problems, and early menopause.

Secondhand smoke is the smoke burning from the end of a cigarette and exhaled smoke.  Secondhand smoke also increases the risk of developing lung problems, heart disease and cancer.  Babies who are exposed to secondhand smoke are at risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (commonly known as SIDS).

Children who are exposed to secondhand smoke develop a number of health problems, including underdeveloped lungs, more frequent and severe asthma attacks, respiratory infections, and ear infections. There is no safe level of secondhand smoke exposure and even short amounts of exposure can have harmful effects.

It is never too soon or too late to quit smoking.  The body will begin to repair itself as soon as a smoker puts down their last cigarette.

Twenty minutes after a smoker stops smoking, their heart rate and blood pressure will return to normal.  In 12 hours, the level of carbon monoxide in the blood drops to normal. Within three days, major nicotine cravings will diminish.  After one to two weeks, circulation and lung function improve.

A couple of weeks after a smoker stops smoking, he or she will also notice improvement in shortness of breath and chronic cough, as well as fewer colds and respiratory infections. One year after quitting, a former smoker’s risk of heart disease is half that of someone that smokes regularly.  Risk of cancers and cardiovascular disease continue to diminish over the next five to 15 years to the level of someone who has never smoked.

Many women who successfully quit smoking say they feel more in control of their lives. Women report having more energy to play with their kids and engage in activities. Their mood has improved and depression and anxiety become more manageable.  Skin and hair smell and look better.  They have fewer worries and are more financially stable from saving money they would have spent on cigarettes.

Maybe you have tried to quit in the past or are thinking of quitting soon, but the task seems daunting.  According to the CDC, 68 percent of adult smokers want to quit and 52 percent have tried to quit in the past.

Women tend to have a harder time quitting due to their different responses to nicotine, as well as a lack of social support, fear of weight gain, depression, and hormonal changes.  Women are more likely to require multiple attempts before successfully quitting.

Female addiction is stimulated more by the sensory and social context of smoking, rather than nicotine.  Therefore, smoking cessation plans should involve multiple avenues of support, including family, friends, coworkers and healthcare providers.

Missouri has a free smoking cessation program accessible to any Missouri resident at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or   Medication is also available through your healthcare provider to help anyone quit smoking.

For additional information or local help for women attempting to stop smoking, contact Tracey Arwood, CNM at the TCMH Medical Complex in Houston, 417-967-5639 or at the TCMH Mountain Grove Clinic, 417-926-1770.


Breonna Woodmansee is Employee of the Month

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Texas County Memorial Hospital has named Breonna Woodmansee of Houston the October employee of the month.

Woodmansee is the chief phlebotomist in the laboratory at TCMH, and she has worked at TCMH for over five years.  Woodmansee was nominated for the award by her supervisor, Kirby Holmes, laboratory director.

“Breonna brings enthusiasm and hard work to her job which rubs off on her co-workers,” Holmes said. He described Woodmansee as “professional”.

Holmes noted that Woodmansee trains new phlebotomists to ensure regulatory compliance, assists with scheduling for the department, and provides customer service training for the department staff.

“Breonna is a firm believer in going the extra mile for patients,” Holmes said.

As employee of the month,  Woodmansee received a certificate honoring her achievement; a pin; a special parking place in the TCMH lot; one day of paid vacation; a $50 gift card, and gift certificates to Paws N Claws, D&L Florist; Blissful Nirvana Massage, Wehr Motors, and Savor Grill.  A reception will be held at the hospital in honor of Woodmansee.

Woodmansee is eligible for the 2017 TCMH employee of the year award.

Breonna Woodmansee is the Texas County Memorial Hospital October employee of the month. She’s here with her supervisor, Kirby Holmes.


Hospital Board Discusses County’s Past Due Prisoner Healthcare Bills

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Past due bills for healthcare services provided to prisoners of the Texas County jail totaling $196,744.02 were the main topic of discussion at the monthly meeting of the Texas County Memorial Hospital board of trustees on Tuesday.

Wes Murray, TCMH chief executive officer, filled board members in on a recent meeting with the Texas County Commission and county sheriff’s department to discuss the payment delinquencies.  Murray has also received counsel on the matter from the hospital attorney.

“For decades, the county has brought prisoners to the hospital for routine and emergency healthcare services, and our staff has also gone to the jail to assist with blood draws on prisoners when needed,” Murray said.  He stressed, “We have never had an issue with the county paying the bills for services provided to county prisoners or to the jail.”

Murray explained that if the prisoner receiving services at TCMH has private insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid, TCMH bills the insurer first.  The remainder of any prisoner bills not covered by insurance, the bills of any uninsured prisoners, and bills for prisoner blood draws done at the jail are sent to the sheriff’s department.  TCMH has also always made arrangements to reduce the bills by 50 percent as a service to the county.

According to Murray, delinquent bills incurred by the sheriff’s department go back to January 2014 and include county prisoners receiving healthcare at TCMH and blood draws of county prisoners which are provided by TCMH personnel at the county jail.  Bills for those services were sent to the sheriff’s department.

TCMH learned that the sheriff’s department made a decision to stop paying for healthcare service from TCMH in 2014, and the bills to the sheriff’s department were apparently not forwarded on to the County Commission for payment.

“According to Missouri statute, the sheriff’s department is required to provide healthcare services to prisoners of the county when needed, and state law allows the sheriff’s department to collect payment from the prisoners for their medical bills while in custody,” Murray said, adding that TCMH legal counsel agrees with this interpretation of this statute.

Murray cited state statute RSMo 221.120:  If any prisoner confined in the county jail is sick and in the judgment of the jailer, requires the attention of a physician, dental care, or medicine, the jailer shall procure the necessary medicine, dental care or medical attention necessary or proper to maintain the health of the prisoner. The costs of such medicine, dental care, or medical attention shall be paid by the prisoner through any health insurance policy as defined in subsection 3 of this section, from which the prisoner is eligible to receive benefits. If the prisoner is not eligible for such health insurance benefits then the prisoner shall be liable for the payment of such medical attention, dental care, or medicine, and the assets of such prisoner may be subject to levy and execution under court order to satisfy such expenses in accordance with the provisions of section 221.070, and any other applicable law. The county commission of the county may at times authorize payment of certain medical costs that the county commission determines to be necessary and reasonable.

Currently, the Texas County sheriff’s department contracts with a physician that sees prisoners one day a week and a nurse that provides care for prisoners three days a week at the jail.  The physician and nurse services are paid for through the sheriff’s budget.  Routine or emergency healthcare services needed outside the jail are provided by TCMH.

“Although these bills were incurred by the sheriff’s department, the county is responsible for paying the bills,” Murray said, reminding board members that TCMH does not receive any portion of county tax dollars.

In Murray’s meeting with the Texas County Commission and the sheriff, TCMH was asked to negotiate the outstanding bills to an amount below 50 percent, or to something less than $98,0000.

Before agreeing to further reduce the outstanding bills below 50 percent, Murray asked if the county would pay any TCMH bills incurred by the jail going forward.

“They would not provide answer regarding their willingness to pay healthcare bills going forward, so I believe we are at a point where we have to make a decision as a hospital about providing routine healthcare services for prisoners of Texas County and allowing our staff to go to the jail to do blood draws on prisoners,” Murray said.

Murray did not agree to reduce the delinquent bills below the standard 50 percent charge either.

“After consulting with our attorney, this seems to be an isolated issue between our hospital and our county,” Murray said.

Dr. Jim Perry, DO, chairperson of the TCMH board of trustees, asked how other county hospitals handled county prisoners and how TCMH handles prisoners from counties without a jail.

Murray explained that other nearby county hospitals provide care for the prisoners of those county jails or the prisoners of county jails that do not have a county hospital. Occasionally Wright or Shannon county prisoners also receive healthcare services at TCMH.  There are no known delinquent bills.

“It’s risky to interpret the state statute in ways that no one else interprets it,” Murray said, adding, “There seems to be disconnect of responsibility.”

“We make an effort to collect payment from any citizens of the county that receive healthcare services at TCMH,” Omanez Fockler, TCMH board member, said.  “Giving free healthcare to prisoners of the sheriff’s department doesn’t seem fair for the citizens of Texas County that are not in trouble with the law.”

Murray explained that the Texas County sheriff’s department could take prisoners to healthcare facilities in other counties for routine outpatient care if TCMH is unwilling to provide routine care at no charge.

“The expense of care would be a lot higher in Rolla,” Dr. Jonathan Beers, TCMH chief of staff, said.

“Would that be a good use of taxpayer dollars to take patients to Rolla or elsewhere?” Fockler asked.

Murray noted that it was stated at the meeting of the Texas County Commission that prisoners could just be released in the parking lot of the hospital to seek their own medical care, releasing the county from responsibility.

“I don’t think the county citizens would like to have prisoners released in our parking lot because the sheriff’s department doesn’t want to pay for the prisoners’ healthcare services,” Murray said.

According to Murray, to avoid medical bills incurred by county prisoners, the sheriff’s department has a history of releasing prisoners from county custody after the prisoner is registered at the hospital or when a prisoner required an overnight or inpatient stay.

“When the prisoners realize they are no longer in the custody of the sheriff’s department, they leave against medical advice,” Murray said.  “Due to patient privacy laws, there is nothing we can do about it.”

The meeting between Murray and the Texas County Commission did allow the hospital and the county to work through some procedural issues that may help in reaching a better resolution, according to Murray.

Hospital board members requested additional information gathering from Murray and a possible meeting with the Texas County Commission at the November hospital board meeting.

In other news, Murray reported that a $90,000 Federal Emergency Management Association grant request for a new generator to power the surgery department under construction at TCMH has gone to the second round of consideration.

“The grant would cover 75 percent of the cost of the new generator,” Murray said.  “We will not know anything more about our request until June of next year.”

The new department, located between the Jayson Gentry Community Safe Room and the East wing of the hospital, will have two operating rooms, an endoscopy suite and seven private pre-surgical and post-surgical rooms for patients.  The area is 6,091 square feet in size.

Construction work on the surgery department should be complete in 2018.

Linda Pamperien, TCMH chief financial officer, presented the financial statement for the month of September.

Inpatient volumes and outpatient revenues were dramatically down for the month.  Expenses were also down for the month of September, but not enough to offset losses. TCMH finished the month with a negative bottom line of $353,228.35 and a negative year to date balance of $685,127.44.

“Almost all of our providers were on vacation in the month of September, and that definitely affected our bottom line,” Pamperien said.  She noted that 2017 is still shaping up as better financial year than 2016.

Present at the meeting were: Murray; Beers; Pamperien; Doretta Todd-Willis, chief nursing officer; Joleen Senter Durham, director of public relations; Amanda Turpin, quality management director, and board members, Perry, Fockler, Janet Wiseman and Jay Loveland.

TCMH board member, Mark Hampton, was not present at the meeting.

The next meeting of the TCMH board of trustees is Tue., Nov. 28th at 12 p.m. in the TCMH board room.

Eleventh Annual Chili Cook Off Dedicated to Memory of Longtime Supporter

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The Eleventh Annual Chili Cook Off sponsored by the Texas County Memorial Hospital Healthcare Foundation will be dedicated to the memory of Dr. IC Keeney, a longtime supporter of TCMH Hospice of Care and a veterinarian that spent over 50 years working in Texas County.

Dr. IC Keeney

The annual event is planned for Sat., Nov. 4th from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Community Building at the Texas County Fairgrounds.  The Foundation is hosting the event to raise funds to benefit TCMH Hospice of Care.

For the past 11 years Keeney and his wife, Margaret, and their friends, John and Jeannie Beltz of Willow Springs, donated a beef purchased at the county fair to raise funds for the Chili Cook Off and Hospice of Care.  Prior to the inception of the cook off, the Keeney and Beltz families purchased a beef that was donated to Hospice of Care to raise funds for the organization.

Keeney also served as the honorary chair of the “Care for Your Future” Healthcare Foundation Steering Committee that raised funds to build the tornado safe room and surgery center at TCMH.  Keeney considered the hospital to be an important part of Texas County.

“Anybody that comes to the area looking to live here asks about two things—hospital and schools,” Keeney said in 2011 when serving on the Care for Your Future committee.  “Having a hospital in the community provides more industry for the community and better teachers for our schools.  We need to do whatever we can to improve our hospital.  We need this hospital in our community.”

“Dr. Keeney’s donations were always an important part of our annual auction for Hospice of Care, and we wanted to honor his legacy of giving to the hospital by dedicating the Chili Cook Off to him this year,” Jay Gentry, Healthcare Foundation director, said.

Gentry oversees the chili cook off and related fundraising activities for Hospice of Care.

Gentry noted that the Keeney family raised additional funds for the Chili Cook Off through a family event earlier in the year, and they are taking a role in the events at the cook off.

“In 2016 the Foundation brought in $47,862 for Hospice of Care,” Gentry said.  “We have a tradition of holding an event that provides fun and entertainment for all ages and raises much needed funds for a really good cause.”

The TCMH Healthcare Foundation Chili Cook Off will feature 15 teams competing for chili prizes and in raising money for Hospice of Care.  The event will also feature live music by the band The Faretheewells, a live auction, a chili dog eating contest and booths with special foods or games as well as the opportunity to sample all the chili.

Chili cooking teams are comprised of five people and are sponsored by businesses and organizations.  Raymondville United Methodist Church; Houston Walmart Supercenter; Houston R-1 Schools; Gentry Residential Treatment Center; Peoples Community Bank; Bank of Houston; Air Evac Lifeteam; Forbes Pharmacy Powered by Walgreens; TCMH Mountain Grove Clinic; Justin Shelby and State Farm Insurance; Drury University; CoxHealth Home Support; Dr. Christopher Baldwin; Dr. Randal Qualls; Dr. Jonathan Beers; Dr. Juan Mella, and Dr. Cory Offutt have sponsored chili cooking teams.

“We added live music to this cook off again this year, and hope that brings out some additional guests that just want to eat chili and listen to music,” Gentry said.

The four-person band, The Faretheewells, hail from Ellington, MO.  The band is known for upbeat Americana original music and covers.  The Faretheewells will begin playing at 11 a.m.

Some of the items donated to the TCMH Healthcare Foundation for the live auction portion of the 2017 Chili Cook Off.

A live auction held at 2 p.m. in the Community Building will be a major portion of the fundraising for the day.

The auction features handmade and donated items.  A vacation getaway to Estes Park, CO, a crossbow, a YETI brand cooler, a fire pit, and a rustic oak rocking chair and side table are included in the live auction.  Harold Mitchell made a portable bar with storage in the back and a natural edged top of cedar wood to honor of his mother who was in Hospice of Care service.  Other unique, donated items in the auction include a king-size, hand-quilted quilt by Arlene Brill and a handcrafted oak pie safe by Jimi McClenahan.

Two large raffle items will also be awarded to winners at the event.

All of the chili cook off teams are raffling tickets for a Kawasaki Mule utility vehicle and a Del-Ton DT Sport AR-15.  The raffle items will be immediately awarded following the live auction.

Brandon Beck, meteorologist at Springfield television station KY3, will again serve as the master of ceremonies for the day’s events.

“Hospice of Care has a long tradition and a well known reputation for providing physical, mental and spiritual care for terminally ill patients and their family members in Texas County and the surrounding area regardless of their ability to pay for the services,” Gentry said.  “Many people look forward to the annual Hospice fundraising event as a way to give back to a charity that has benefited them, their family or friends.”

Hospice of Care provides end of life care for patients and their families regardless of a patient’s ability to pay for the service.  If insurance coverage is not available, Hospice of Care may use Chili Cook Off funds to purchase medications in addition to providing care at no charge.  Hospice of Care also uses funds from the cook off for palliative care training and materials for patients and the family and friends of hospice patients.

“Our goal is to raise at least $40,000 for Hospice of Care through the raffles, cook off ticket sales, the auction and team fundraising,” Gentry said, noting that the proceeds from the Chili Cook Off remain in Texas County to benefit area residents.

The Healthcare Foundation has a special “Hospice Fund” for the chili cook off money and other hospice donations such as memorials.  “A very important aspect of the annual Hospice of Care fundraising event is that all money raised at the event will stay in the Texas County area to benefit area patients,” Gentry said.

“We want everyone to come out to our event, bring their kids, and have an afternoon of fun while raising money for a very worthy cause,” Gentry said.   “Once again, the Foundation board of directors and Hospice of Care staff are excited to bring this event to the community.”

Tickets to the event are $10 for adults and $5 for children and are available through Hospice of Care and the Healthcare Foundation at TCMH.

For more information about a sponsorship or to make a gift in support of the chili cook off, contact the TCMH Healthcare Foundation, (417) 967-1377 or online at

Award Given to CNA of the Year

joleen General Comments Off on Award Given to CNA of the Year

Debbie Breckenridge (front right) was given the 2017 CNA of the Year award at TCMH this week. Breckenridge is shown here with Wes Murray, TCMH chief executive officer, and Doretta Todd-Willis, TCMH chief nursing officer.

Debbie Breckenridge of Houston has received the 2017 Certified Nurse Assistant of the Year award at Texas County Memorial Hospital.

Breckenridge, a CNA at TCMH since 2002, was chosen for the award by the nurse managers at TCMH.  She is a CNA in the medical surgical department at TCMH.

Doretta Todd-Willis, chief nursing officer at TCMH, described Breckenridge as “very compassionate”.

Todd-Willis shared the story from family members of a patient that credited Breckenridge with helping their mother recover after an illness that had her “at death’s door”.

“Debbie is always pleasant in her demeanor with her patients, and she’s known for trying to make them laugh,” Todd-Willis said, adding that the patients and their family members appreciate the respect Breckenridge has for them even with her joyful and upbeat attitude.

“Debbie is a shining star among our CNAs at TCMH,” Todd-Willis said.

As CNA of the year, Breckenridge received a personalized award of crystal, a gift card, and fresh flowers.

TCMH provided breakfast for CNAs and other assistive personnel at the hospital.

A mandatory skills lab was provided for the staff, too.  Ten stations provided education—some of which were hands on—on topics such as customer service, patient safety, and infection control.

TCMH currently employs 33 CNAs or assistive personnel.  They work in several departments of the hospital—medical surgical, obstetrics, emergency room, home health, and hospice.

Participants Sought for EMT-Basic Class

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Texas County Memorial Hospital is seeking participants for an emergency medical technician basic (EMT) program to be held at the hospital.

Twelve individuals would meet twice weekly in the evening for 16 weeks to complete the course.  The cost of the program is $600 which covers educational materials for the program.

The class is limited to 12 students.

“We have a need for more EMTs at TCMH,” Bill Bridges, TCMH emergency medical services director, said.  “We are hopeful that this class will help us train some area residents that might be suited to work at TCMH.”

TCMH uses EMTs in the emergency department at the hospital and on the hospital ambulance service.

For additional information or to sign-up for the EMT basic program when it’s offered at TCMH, contact Scott Higgins, class instructor, at or by phone at (417) 967-1385 or 1-888-967-3311.


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