Anticipation for the completed hospital expansion project continues to grow, Texas County Memorial Hospital board members heard at their monthly meeting on Tuesday.
“Unseasonably good weather continues to provide the contractors with very good working conditions,” Wes Murray, chief executive officer at TCMH, said.
Currently the concrete walls for the basement portion of the expansion are being poured, and the footing for the elevator shaft has been poured. Cinderblocks for the shell of one of the stairwells are also rising up in front of the hospital.
“Due to the good weather our construction superintendent has coordinated completion of some plumbing and other parts of the project that were initially slated for later the upcoming months,” Murray said, adding, “We have actually already completed some parts of the construction that were to be done in March and April.”
Murray explained that even though there have been a few bad weather days, the number of good weather days are helping to keep the overall project on track.
Three large shipments of steel will be delivered to the construction site the week of March 11th.
“Those that are keenly watching this project unfold will begin to see a structure rise up very soon,” Murray said.
Murray encouraged hospital board members to follow the construction progress via a blog created specifically for the project—www.hospitalbuzz.wordpress.com.
Murray also reported that the 340B contract pharmacy program will begin at TCMH about mid-March.
“Our goal is to have all eligible local pharmacies contracting with the program,” Murray said.
The 340B contract pharmacy program provides a drug discount for TCMH outpatients that are uninsured.
“We have physicians and patients that have expressed enthusiasm about this program,” Murray said. “They are anxious to see the program begin and believe it will be a great benefit.”
In May, June and July, TCMH will host two University of Missouri medical students with local ties as part of the “MU Summer Community Program”, a scholarship program for second year medical students.
Doug Crase of Edgar Springs and Sarah Warner Williams of Houston will spend a few weeks this summer working with Dr. Charlie Rasmussen and other physicians at TCMH. Crase and Williams will have the opportunity to experience a rural physician’s perspective on primary care, and TCMH will provide a small scholarship toward each student’s upcoming school tuition.
“There were several MU medical students that wanted to come to TCMH this summer,” Murray explained. “We are really happy to bring two students to the area that are already familiar with rural healthcare and that are interested in working in a setting like Texas County.”
Crase and Williams both have two more years of medical school and a medical residency program after this summer, but Murray acknowledged that it’s never too early to talk with local students about local opportunities.
“Connecting with area students that are interested in healthcare careers meets our strategic planning goals for recruiting future providers to TCMH,” Murray said.
TCMH has hosted students from MU for the past four years, usually one student for four weeks each summer.
Adding to provider services at TCMH, Ray Bruno, a family nurse practitioner, has agreed to continue to work at TCMH one day at week. Bruno had worked one day a week at the Licking clinic for the past two years, but a full-time mid-level provider, Kimberly Olving, began working at the clinic in January.
Bruno is seeing patients on Tuesdays at the TCMH Medical Complex.
“We appreciate Ray’s flexibility and his desire to continue to work with us,” Murray said. “He is able to help relieve some of the patient load from the physicians at the Houston clinic.”
Board members agreed unanimously to utilize $13,179.68 from the 2012 capital budget contingency fund to purchase a computerized monitoring system for the emergency department that is designed to interface with special computerized monitoring from the medical surgical department and the intensive care unit.
A new patient monitoring system was already planned and budgeted for with the TCMH medical surgical department expansion. Eighty-thousand dollars was also included in the 2012 capital budget to purchase new patient monitors for the intensive care unit that would work with the new medical surgical department monitors.
“The addition of another monitor in the emergency department will ensure that our patients have 24/7 monitoring on the new system,” Linda Pamperien, chief financial officer, explained when presenting the request to the hospital board.
The new monitor will not be purchased until the complete monitoring system is purchased and installed later this year. However, a signed purchase order was required for the company to plan the emergency department computer installation in addition to the installations in the medical surgical department and intensive care unit.
TCMH started off 2012 with a positive bottom line of $94,624.96, according Pamperien.
“Outpatient revenues were up above budgeted expectations for the first time in several months,” Pamperien said. Inpatient revenues were also up for the month of January.
Present at the meeting were Murray; Pamperien; Rasmussen; Doretta Todd-Willis, chief nursing officer; Joleen Senter Durham, public relations director; Dr. John Duff, CoxHealth representative, and board members Omanez Fockler; Janet Wiseman; Mark Hampton and Jim Perry, OD.
Board member, Mark Forbes, was not present at the meeting.
The next meeting of the TCMH board of trustees is Tue., Mar. 27 at 12 p.m. in hospital’s basement meeting room.