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TCMH Receives State Designation as Stroke Center

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Houston, MO—Texas County Memorial Hospital has received designation from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) as a Level III Stroke Center, hospital board members heard at their monthly meeting on Tuesday.

“A lot of work has been done by our staff to achieve this designation. We are proud to have received it and to offer this level of care for our community,” Wes Murray, chief executive officer at TCMH, said.

According to Murray, hospital staff began working on the designation application over a year ago. Last spring Dr. Jeff Kerr, emergency department medical director, and other key members of the TCMH “stroke team” provided on site information and a presentation to a panel from DHSS to apply for the stroke designation.

TCMH received word from DHSS shortly after their presentation that the protocols and processes were in place for TCMH to receive stroke designation.

The certificate for Level III Stroke Designation received by TCMH this week.

The certificate for Level III Stroke Designation received by TCMH this week.

DHSS officially recognized and designated certain hospitals in the state on Monday. TCMH was among the first hospitals in the state to receive the stroke designation.

“With the stroke designation, our hospital emergency department is recognized statewide as a place for stroke victims to receive emergency care,” Murray said, adding, “There should be a level of comfort that area patients take in knowing that TCMH is a state-designated stroke center.”

With the stroke designation, emergency medical services personnel in the field are required to advise patients and their family members where the nearest “stroke designated” hospital is to the proximity of the patient and to take the patient there if the patient does not object.

“With the TCMH stroke team, patients with stroke symptoms will receive faster, more streamlined care from the moment we begin caring for them,” Murray said.

Currently TCMH is working on designation as a Level IV STEMI (ST segment elevated myocardial infarction) facility. The STEMI designation will allow emergency medical services personnel to bring any patient with symptoms of a heart attack to TCMH where the hospital team will proceed with protocols to begin medical treatment to prevent cardiac muscle damage.

After the initial medical treatment, the patient would be transferred to a healthcare facility where interventional cardiology was available.

At the meeting, Kerr addressed board members, explaining that the need to make some personal lifestyle changes has him leaving the medical director position at TCMH to take an administrative position in the emergency department at Phelps County Regional Medical Center in Rolla.

Kerr will be assisting the hospital in Rolla with administrative issues, and he hopes to continue to provide some emergency department physician coverage at TCMH as well as continuing to help TCMH with the special emergency department designation applications.

“I have been working here for over 20 years, and I am very passionate about TCMH,” Kerr told those present. “This is an awesome place, and I want to thank you for all that you’ve done for me.”

“On behalf of the board and everyone at TCMH, thank you for your commitment to TCMH and to our community,” Omanez Fockler, chairperson of the TCMH board of trustees, said.

Kerr and Murray presented information regarding emergency department staffing sources that will be used beginning in May in addition to the continued services of hospital employed emergency department physicians–Dr. Randal Qualls, Dr. Lynn Hauenstein, and Dr. Louise Wilkinson.

Murray noted that TCMH has entered a contract with Emergency Medical Care, LLC (EMC) of St. Louis to provide emergency department physician staffing. Kerr participated in the interviewing process and recommended EMC among those interviewed.

“This company already provides image reading services through radiologist staffing for our radiology department,” Murray said, “And they work with other hospitals in the area providing emergency room physicians.”

Joleen Senter Durham, director of physician recruiting, explained that with the healthcare trend for hospitals to utilize physician staffing firms in the ER it has become “nearly impossible” to find physicians that want to work in the TCMH emergency department.

Murray and Kerr believe that EMC will be able to retain the physicians needed to provide stability and continuity of care in the TCMH ER in addition to utilizing the physicians that are already employed by TCMH.

“EMC has a local pool of physicians that understand our local needs,” Kerr said.

TCMH continues to recruit physicians and mid-level providers to employed hospital positions. Durham gave a physician recruiting update to those present explaining that TCMH has hosted three recruiting visits since the February hospital board meeting.

“All of the site visits have been very positive,” Durham said. She noted that two visits were with mid-level providers.

Sara Openshaw, a family nurse practitioner student from Mountain Grove, was one of the candidates interviewed, and she has signed a contract with TCMH to practice at the TCMH Mountain Grove Clinic.

“Sara’s training program ends in August, so she won’t begin working for us until the fall,” Durham said, adding, “We are thrilled to have a Mountain Grove resident providing patient care in the clinic.”

Durham explained that Openshaw will also do a clinical rotation with William Wright, MD, a TCMH family medicine physician, at the TCMH clinics in Mountain Grove and Houston in May and June.

“Sara will have the opportunity to meet future clinic patients while working with Dr. Wright, and she will get hands on experience with our electronic medical records program and the hospital and clinic services before she even starts working for us,” Durham said.

Durham also reported that a family medicine physician that interviewed at TCMH in March is considering a contract with the hospital.

The TCMH board of trustees will have a new chairperson beginning in April. Dr. Jim Perry, OD, of Cabool was elected unanimously to the position by his fellow officers. Janet Wiseman of Houston remains in the vice chairperson/secretary position for another year, also by unanimous decision of the board.

Linda Pamperien, TCMH chief financial officer, presented the February financials which showed an overall drop in revenues.

Although inpatient volumes were up slightly for the month, Pamperien explained that weather played a role in a drop in the numbers for the emergency department, the ambulance service, the clinics and outpatient services.

“Unfortunately, we had a lot of patients in February, but we were only paid for a small percentage of the patients we cared for,” Pamperien said.

TCMH ended the month of February with negative bottom line of $582,731.39 and a year to date loss of $585,260.60.

“We are not going to turn away any patients that need to be seen,” Pamperien said, “And in February we had many seriously ill patients that either didn’t have a way to pay for the care they received or the care they received wasn’t reimbursable.”

Murray presented updated information regarding Medicaid reform efforts in the state of Missouri.

“Data is out showing that the states surrounding Missouri that have expanded their Medicaid coverage are seeing the numbers of uninsured patients and uncompensated care drop dramatically,” Murray said.

Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky and Arkansas have expanded Medicaid coverage to their state residents. The governor of Tennessee has also moved to expand Medicaid coverage in Tennessee.

“TCMH is the poster child for why Medicaid expansion exists,” Murray said.

Murray and other healthcare leaders in the region plan to participate in a public round table discussion regarding Medicaid in West Plains on March 31.

Present at the meeting were Murray; Kerr; Pamperien; Durham; Doretta Todd-Willis, chief nursing officer; Dr. Jonathan Beers, chief of staff; Dr. John Duff; and board members, Fockler; Perry; Wiseman, and Mark Hampton.

Board member, Russell Gaither, was not present.

The next meeting of the TCMH board of trustees is Thur., April 28 at 12 p.m. in the TCMH board room.

Hospital Offers Free Cancer Screening

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The American Cancer Society designates the month of March as colorectal cancer awareness month. In observance of colorectal cancer awareness month, Texas County Memorial Hospital is offering free colorectal cancer screening during the fourth week of March.

Area residents may contact TCMH for a free colon cancer screening kit from Monday, March 23 through Friday, March 27. The screening includes a fecal occult blood test kit for individuals who are over 50 or for individuals who are younger if they have risk factors for colorectal cancer. The kit and information about colorectal cancer will be mailed to participants. Instructions will be included with the kit.

Colorectal cancer is the number two cancer killer in Texas County and the rest of the United States.

However, the American College of Gastroenterologists calls colorectal cancer one of the most preventable and curable types of cancer when detected early. One way to detect colorectal cancer early is to be screened using the fecal occult blood test.

The American Cancer Society recommends that individuals over the age of 50 who are at average risk follow one of five screening options: yearly fecal occult blood test; flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years; yearly fecal occult blood test plus sigmoidoscopy every five years; double contrast barium enema every five years or colonoscopy every 10 years. An individual who has a family history or a personal history of colorectal cancer, polyps, or inflammatory bowel disease may begin colorectal cancer screening at an earlier age as directed by a physician.

There are several symptoms to colorectal cancer. Symptoms may include a change in bowel habits such as diarrhea, constipation, or narrowing of the stool that lasts for more than a few days; a feeling of needing to have a bowel movement that is not relieved by doing so; rectal bleeding or blood in the stool; cramping or steady abdominal pain or weakness and fatigue.

Other health conditions may also cause these symptoms. Only a physician can determine the cause of suspicious symptoms. Individuals should discuss any symptoms with their physician as early as possible.
To request a free kit or additional information about colon cancer, contact Connie Brooks, education coordinator at TCMH, by calling 1-866-967-3311 or (417) 967-1340 or e-mail Brooks at Please leave your name, address and phone number when calling or e-mailing for a kit.

All kits must be returned to TCMH by April 30, 2015 for processing.

Roberts Named as March Employee of the Month

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Texas County Memorial Hospital has named Katelyn Roberts of Mountain Grove the February employee of the month.

Roberts is an emergency department tech, and she has worked at TCMH a year and a half. Roberts was nominated for the award by Jerri Sue Crump, emergency department nurse manager.

“Katelyn does a fantastic job in the emergency department,” Crump said. “She’s always positive, works hard and looks for ways to improve the patient care process.”

Describing Roberts as “dynamic”, Crump noted that Roberts enjoys working with the TCMH Youth Ambassadors that volunteer in the emergency department by “fostering a safe environment and a sense of belonging”.

“The sky is the limit for Katelyn,” Crump said, “She loves caring for patients, and she’s always hungry to learn new things.”

As employee of the month, Roberts received a certificate honoring her achievement; a pin; $100 cash; 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, Janstiques and Blissful Nirvana Massage. A reception will be held at the hospital in honor of Roberts.

Roberts is eligible for the 2015 TCMH employee of the year award.

Katelyn Roberts (left), the Texas County Memorial Hospital February employee of the month, is shown here with her supervisor, Jerri Sue Crump.

Katelyn Roberts (left), the Texas County Memorial Hospital February employee of the month, is shown here with her supervisor, Jerri Sue Crump.

New Era of Care Begins at TCMH with Team-Based Nursing Practice

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Texas County Memorial Hospital medical surgical floor has implemented a new team-based nursing approach, board members heard at their monthly meeting on Tuesday.

“An RN, an LPN and a CNA are assigned to a pod of patients,” Doretta Todd-Willis, TCMH chief nursing officer, told board members. “The staff works together to provide the patient care.”

Todd-Willis explained that in the past TCMH medical surgical patients were assigned on an individual basis to certain staff members. Three weeks ago, the hospital implemented the team-based nursing approach which is supported by physicians on the TCMH medical staff. The Missouri State Department of Health and Senior Services also recommends the practice.

“Hospital regulations require that an RN supervise every patient’s plan of care,” Todd-Willis said, noting that many hospitals no longer use LPNs because an LPN cannot supervise the patient’s plan of care.

“We have some great LPNs at TCMH, and we want to continue to use LPNs,” Todd-Willis said. “If we have an RN and an LPN working together as a team to care for patients, we will be in compliance with state regulations, and we will improve patient care.”

Todd-Willis explained that the team-based nursing approach ensures that multiple staff members know what is happening with each patient’s plan of care, and they can communicate that knowledge with the patient, the patient’s physician, the patient’s family members and each other.

“We have had some initial resistance to making these changes, but the team nursing approach builds a positive and supportive atmosphere that is better for patient care and boosts employee satisfaction,” Todd-Willis said.

According to Todd-Willis, communication between nursing staff and physicians has already improved with the new approach.

“This approach to patient care is here to stay,” Wes Murray, TCMH chief executive officer, said. “Doretta and the med surg staff will continue to improve this team-based approach to nursing, improving patient care and overall satisfaction of our patients, our employees and our physicians.”

In other hospital business, Murray presented to the board members information about Missouri Senate Bill 419 prepared by Senator Ryan Silvey of Kansas City to transform the Medicaid program and keep it within conservative principles which concern many members of the Missouri Congress.

Known as the “Healthcare Transformation Block Grant”, Silvey’s bill would create a trust fund that would be used to expand Medicaid rolls in Missouri.

“I know that this board is very much in support of Medicaid expansion in Missouri,” Murray said. “This bill has more traction in our state Senate than anything else regarding Medicaid.”

Murray explained that public polling in the state also shows support of Medicaid expansion. Missouri is one of 22 states in the nation that has not expanded Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act from 2010.

“This bill may not progress beyond the state Senate, but it has the basic components that would help TCMH provide care for patients in our area,” Murray said. Murray urged those present to express personal support for Senate Bill 419 with their representatives.

Murray noted that Kentucky has seen the numbers of uninsured patients drop over ten percent since the expansion of Medicaid in the state, and uncompensated care at Kentucky hospitals has dropped by 60 percent.

Murray has also asked the Missouri Hospital Association to let him know if any Congressional representatives in TCMH districts express any level of support for Medicaid expansion efforts.

“At least some of our state legislators are talking about this,” Murray said. “Anything will help.”

In the medical staff report, Dr. Jonathan Beers, chief of the TCMH medical staff, noted that medical staff members are excited to have Dr. Cory Offutt join TCMH in 2016 when he completes his residency.

“We hope there is continued recruiting success to help with the on call needs of the hospital,” Beers said.

The demands for a physician on call at the hospital vary according to the number of physicians on staff and the specialties of those physicians.

Joleen Senter Durham, director of physician recruiting at TCMH, noted that she continues to look for internal medicine and family medicine physicians to work in Houston and in Mountain Grove.

“Our communitys’ health needs continue to outweigh the number of providers we have available to meet those needs,” Durham explained, adding, “I am trying to leave no stone unturned in the search for additional providers.”

Durham is currently working closely with two physician assistants that are interested in full-time jobs with TCMH. A candidate is scheduled to visit on March 2nd, and the other candidate working with Durham to finalize a site visit date.

“We are very fortunate to have recruited Dr. Offutt to come to work at TCMH next year, and he and Samantha are very excited about finalizing their decision to come to our community,” Durham said.

In the January financial report, Linda Pamperien, chief financial officer at TCMH, reported increased revenues and inpatient volumes.

“We had 19 admissions to our swing bed program in January, and we’ve had 146 admissions year-to-date,” Pamperien said.

Increased expenses in a few departments and three payroll periods in the month of January left the hospital with a negative bottom line for the month and for 2015 of $13,310.25.

Present at the meeting were Todd-Willis; Murray; Beers; Durham; Pamperien; Dr. John Duff and board members, Omanez Fockler; Janet Wiseman; Dr. Jim Perry, OD; Mark Hampton and Russell Gaither.

The next meeting of the TCMH board of trustees is Thurs., March 24 at 12 p.m. in the hospital board room.

Dr. Cory Offutt Signs Contract with TCMH

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Texas County Memorial Hospital inked a three-year contract with Cory L. S. Offutt, MD, a family medicine physician and obstetrician.

Offutt is a second-year resident at the family medicine residency program at the University of Missouri in Kansas City, and he will join TCMH as a full-time employed physician in the summer of 2016 after his residency program ends. Offutt and his wife, Samantha, plan to relocate to Texas County next summer.

Dr. Offutt grew up in Lebanon, MO, and Samantha grew up in Harrison, AR. The Offutt’s sought a home in a smaller community in the Ozarks. Dr. Offutt wanted a place to practice medicine with inpatients and outpatients from birth to the end of life, including practicing obstetrics with surgical privileges.

“My wife, Samantha, and I are very excited to relocate to Texas County and to begin the next chapter in our lives,” Dr. Offutt said.

“Dr. and Mrs. Offutt are the type of people that would have been welcome at any hospital and community in the nation,” Wes Murray, chief executive officer at TCMH, said. “We are fortunate to have recruited a physician of Dr. Offutt’s caliber, and they will be a great asset in our community.”

Offutt will be based at the TCMH Medical Complex in Houston, but he also plans to provide an outreach clinic at the TCMH Mountain Grove Clinic where TCMH does not currently have a full-time physician.

“There is something special and rewarding about practicing full spectrum family medicine,” Dr. Offutt said, adding, “I have the opportunity to take care of pregnant moms, deliver their babies, and care for those babies as they grow older.”

“We are very pleased to be able to provide additional obstetrical services for patients in the Mountain Grove are and to provide a location that’s close to home for area patients to deliver their babies,” Murray said.

Currently Tracey Arwood, CNM provides obstetrical and women’s healthcare at the TCMH Mountain Grove Clinic and delivers her patients at TCMH.

“Signing Dr. Offutt to a contract is key to the hospital’s commitment to provide quality healthcare to patients throughout Texas County and the surrounding area,” Murray said.

The Offutt’s visited TCMH and the Houston and Mountain Grove communities in early January.

“After visiting, we came away with a strong sense of community and family that we have not felt anywhere else we visited, and that means more to us than anything,” Dr. Offutt said.

Dr. Cory Offutt has an undergraduate degree in cell and molecular biology from Missouri State University in Springfield. He attended medical school at the University Of Missouri Columbia School Of Medicine.

Samantha Offutt is pursuing a Master’s degree in graphic design. The Offutt’s plan to reside in Texas County.

Cory & Samantha Offutt

Cory & Samantha Offutt

Healthcare Foundation Awards Scholarships

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The Texas County Memorial Hospital Healthcare Foundation has awarded two $1,000 scholarships to area students to assist with their educational costs for the 2015 spring school semester.

Receiving $1,000 scholarships from the TCMH Healthcare Foundation were Nancy Hovelson of Rolla and Kerry York of Houston. The recipients were chosen among several applicants by members of the Healthcare Foundation board of directors.

Hovelson is pursuing an Associate of Applied Science in radiologic technology through Rolla Technical Institute and East Central College in Rolla. Hovelson is a student technologist in the TCMH radiology department.

York is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in nursing through Cox College in Springfield, MO. She is a registered nurse in the TCMH emergency department.

York has been a recipient of a TCMH Healthcare Foundation scholarship in the past. This is Hovelson’s first time to receive a scholarship from the Healthcare Foundation.

“Educational scholarships are a focus area of the TCMH Healthcare Foundation,” Jay Gentry, Healthcare Foundation director, said. He added, “Our board of directors believes in the importance of education for area students that are pursuing training in healthcare-related fields.”

The Healthcare Foundation awards educational scholarships for students pursuing additional higher education each spring and fall. This fall, the Healthcare Foundation will award endowed scholarship funds in addition to the Healthcare Foundation scholarships.

“The Foundation board of directors recognizes the growing need for healthcare providers in rural America,” Gentry stated. “It is the hope of the Foundation that these scholarships will assist in attracting and retaining qualified residents to work in the local healthcare fields.”

Complete scholarship information and the scholarship application is available online at

The Texas County Memorial Hospital Healthcare Foundation gave two $1,000 scholarships to area students, Kerry York and Nancy Hovelson this week.  Shown at the presentation are: Jim Bukowsky and Donna Jones, Healthcare Foundation board members, York and Hovelson, Jay Gentry, Healthcare Foundation director, and Reese Bucher, Healthcare Foundation board member.

The Texas County Memorial Hospital Healthcare Foundation gave two $1,000 scholarships to area students, Kerry York and Nancy Hovelson this week. Shown at the presentation are: Jim Bukowsky and Donna Jones, Healthcare Foundation board members, York and Hovelson, Jay Gentry, Healthcare Foundation director, and Reese Bucher, Healthcare Foundation board member.

New Year Brings Recruiting Opportunities and Challenges at TCMH

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Texas County Memorial Hospital has hosted site visits for five healthcare providers and has executed two signed contracts with nurse practitioners, members of the hospital board of trustees heard at their monthly meeting on Tuesday.

“Last fall, we began working to add to our medical staff, and those efforts have continued to be very strong in the new year,” Joleen Senter Durham, TCMH director of physician recruiting, told board members.

Durham explained that since January 1st, TCMH has hosted site visits for five healthcare providers and visited the CoxHealth Family Medicine Residency in Springfield for recruiting efforts.

Holly Atterberry of Evening Shade and Sheena Painter of Houston, family nurse practitioner students, have signed contracts with TCMH, and will work for the hospital when their training is complete.

Atterberry will complete her training program in May, and she will work in the TCMH Medical Complex collaborating with Dr. Jonathan Beers, TCMH internal medicine physician.

“Holly is very sharp, efficient, and she knows our system well,” Beers said.

Atterberry has completed clinical training with Beers and other TCMH providers while in school. She is also a registered nurse in the hospital’s medical surgical department.

Beers explained that his office is already putting patients on a schedule for Atterberry, and he described the office staff as “excited” for her to join them.

Atterberry will see patients by appointment and also through the TCMH Walk In Clinic in Houston.

Painter has a year and half of nurse practitioner school to complete, and she wants to work at least part-time for TCMH when she completes her training.

TCMH is also actively seeking additional full-time physicians for the clinics in Houston and in Mountain Grove and for the hospital emergency department.

“Primary care physicians continue to be the hardest positions to fill, and less than two percent of physicians are willing and interested in practicing in a community with less than 50,000 people,” Durham said.

On January 9, Dr. Schaun Flaim and Dr. Gretchen Price, married internal medicine physicians, resigned from their positions at the TCMH Medical Complex, indicating that they are going to Cape Girardeau, MO to practice as hospitalists.

“Our positions at TCMH give physicians the opportunity to see hospital inpatients and to do hospital procedures as well as seeing patients and having a clinic practice,” Durham said, adding that hospitalist positions across the nation are hiring internal medicine and family medicine physicians that want to practice only in the hospital.

TCMH is currently in contract negotiations with a physician that would do a traditional inpatient and outpatient practice.

“We are hopeful that we will be able to make an official announcement very soon,” Durham said.

Three providers have met with TCMH regarding full-time practice opportunities at the TCMH Mountain Grove Clinic.

“Again, it seems very positive that we may have a full-time provider in the clinic very soon,” Durham said.

Currently Dr. William Wright, a family medicine physician, Tracey Arwood, CNM and Terry Bruno, FNP are seeing patients at the clinic one to two days week to provide full-time coverage at the clinic.

TCMH has a physician that has worked at TCMH in the past that is interested in a full-time emergency department position. There is a need for additional coverage in the ER due to currently employed full-time physicians cutting back their number of monthly shifts.

“We have recruited two excellent nurse practitioners, and it looks very positive that some of these other site visits will result in contracts, too,” Durham said.

Durham explained that student loan repayment opportunities through the National Health Service Corps continue to draw healthcare providers to look at employment with TCMH. Due to Texas and Wright County’s status as “medically underserved”, healthcare providers are able to receive loan repayment or forgiveness for hundreds of thousands in student loans by working full-time or part-time in a TCMH clinic.

“Almost all of our area healthcare providers have received student loan repayment or forgiveness, which is a great recruiting tool for us,” Durham said. “Unfortunately many providers leave TCMH after their loans are forgiven or repaid because they seek a different lifestyle or practice opportunity.”

Wes Murray, chief executive officer at TCMH, noted that the hospital recently completed a review by legal counsel of the standard physician contract.

“Our legal counsel had a couple of minor changes, but told us that the contract was ‘very strong’,” Murray said.

In the medical staff report, Beers noted that with the current physician changes, he has taken over the role of chief of the TCMH Medical Staff. Dr. Steve Hawkins serves as vice chief of staff, and Dr. Matthew Brown serves as secretary/treasurer of the medical staff.

“We have some committee leadership changes that will take place, but overall it’s a seamless transition,” Beers said.

Murray, Doretta Todd-Willis, chief nursing officer at TCMH, and Amanda Turpin, quality management director at TCMH, presented data showing 2015 hospital reimbursement adjustments based on data gathered from hospitals across the nation by Center for Medicare Services (CMS).

“CMS can penalize hospitals up to five and half percent for Medicare reimbursement, and hospitals have the opportunity to gain up to an additional two percent in reimbursement,” Turpin explained.

Data gathered by CMS has given TCMH a positive reimbursement of an additional 0.82 percent for Medicare patients.

According to Turpin, 3,559 hospitals in the US are affected and over half the hospitals in the nation and in the state will experience a negative financial impact from CMS in 2015 in Medicare reimbursement.

Twenty-one of the 79 Missouri hospitals and 794 hospitals in the nation will have a positive financial impact from CMS in 2015 in Medicare reimbursement.

“TCMH ranked second in the state and 132nd in the nation in the data points CMS looked at,” Turpin said.

Turpin explained that the CMS data is public information and the data has been part of recent local and national media stories.

“There is a consistent theme to our numbers,” Turpin said. “We rank at our above the state and national averages as shown on the website”

TCMH will continue to manage patient expenses, patient experience and patient care so penalties from CMS will not be incurred at the hospital in future years.

“It’s nice to see a positive result for the hospital,” Murray said.

Because TCMH is a recipient of Federal Transportation Administration funds through the Missouri Department of Transportation, board members were asked to approve and sign a resolution of non-discrimination for providing non-emergency transportation through the TCMH Medivan service.

The board unanimously agreed to pass the resolution which formally identifies the Medivan’s operation for area patients regardless of race, color or national origin.

Janet Wiseman, member of the TCMH board of trustees, will not face an opponent in the April election for the TCMH board of trustees. TCMH board members agreed that a “public election” was not necessary since Wiseman was unopposed.

The board member position will not be listed on the April ballot which will save funds for the Texas County government.

Linda Pamperien, TCMH chief financial officer, presented the financial report for the month of December which showed a negative bottom line of $376,234.18.

“Our inpatient and outpatient volumes were right in line with our budgeted expectations,” Pamperien said. “Unfortunately we had six patients that made our contractual adjustments rise over 75 percent for the month.”

Pamperien explained that the patients were extremely ill and unable to be discharged, and TCMH continued to provide care for the patients although the reimbursement for care was much less than the cost of care.

“We are not able to ship patients on to other hospitals if we can care for them,” Pamperien said. “We did what was best for the patients, but it hurt us financially last month.”

TCMH will end the year with a negative bottom line of $1,141,477.28.

“My numbers are always a conservative projection,” Pamperien said. “I’m hopeful that our annual audit will create a positive number with the settlement of Medicare and Medicaid payments.”

Present at the meeting were Murray; Pamperien; Todd-Willis; Durham; Turpin; Beers, and board members Wiseman, Omanez Fockler, and Dr. Jim Perry, OD.

Board members, Mark Hampton and Russell Gaither, were not present at the meeting.

The next meeting of the TCMH board of trustees is Tue., Feb. 24th at 12 p.m. in the hospital board room.

Chapel Dedicated on Second Floor at TCMH

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The Volunteer Chaplains Association at Texas County Memorial Hospital recently gathered to dedicate a new chapel space for patients, visitors and employees at the hospital. The chapel is located on the medical surgical floor at TCMH. IMG_9099

Originally a consultation room on the medical surgical floor, the room was not being “utilized to its fullest extent”, according to Wes Murray, chief executive officer at TCMH.

“A private room for counseling can be beneficial on any hospital floor,” Murray said, “But with our private rooms, most physician and patient or family member consultation and counseling is done in the patient’s room.”

With the new construction, and the availability of space TCMH had a “great opportunity” to bring a chapel back into the hospital.

“It’s a place for spiritual reflection, but it can also be used as a place to hold private or family discussions when needed,” Murray explained.

In 2003, with the formation of the Volunteer Chaplain’s Association, Murray designated space for a “quiet room” near the emergency department. The chaplains were eager to bring a chapel back into the hospital after it was removed for renovation and construction in 2000.

“The chaplains had a desk in the quiet room, and it was set up as a place to counsel families with patients in the emergency room,” Murray said.

With the new construction completed in 2013, the emergency department has a larger room inside the department that is available for counseling when needed.

“Credit for this new chapel space goes to the Volunteer Chaplain’s Association,” Murray said. “They have been consistent over the past few years in requesting a designated chapel space.”

Murray explained that the Chaplain’s Association maintains a schedule, regularly providing clergy for hospital patients and family members when needed.

“They care a lot about meeting the spiritual needs of everyone that comes through our doors, and they are very encouraged to have a chapel back inside the hospital,” Murray said.

IMG_9100The chapel was designed and built by the TCMH maintenance department. They lined the rooms with wood panels. Stained glass is lit and placed in the panels on the walls. Furniture that was handcrafted for the original hospital chapel has been placed in the new space.

One large stained glass piece—a dove—was part of the original chapel. The other stained glass pieces—one large, two small in memory of Elmer and Jean Ellis—cam from the Freewill Baptist Church in Cabool. IMG_9104

Murray explained that the Ellis stained glass pieces were purchased with funds donated by Monkey Grip, the business that employed Elmer Ellis, to the Ellis family church.

“The church gave the stained glass panels back to the Ellis family after they removed the panels during a remodeling phase,” Murray said. The four Ellis daughters donated the stained glass panels to the hospital to be utilized in the new chapel space.

IMG_9108Two benches, a kneeling bench, a cross and candle holders made by Loi Leek, a Houston resident and former employee in the hospital’s maintenance department, made the chapel items in the early 1980’s. Leek also made a pulpit that was too large for the chapel space, but can be used elsewhere in the hospital.

According to Murray, the dove stained glass piece, the benches and other handmade items were placed in storage when the chapel was closed for the construction done at TCMH in 2000. The maintenance department refinished the furniture and placed it in the new space.

A large Bible was also in storage with the chapel furniture, and it has been placed on the kneeling bench in the chapel.IMG_9105

“Nobody seems to know the history of the Bible, but it appears to have been presented to the hospital by several businesses,” Murray said.

There is no date in the Bible, but the businesses listed inside the Bible are Progressive Federal Bank; Mr. Terry’s; Richards Brothers; Reese Oil; Houston Mill Inc., and Scheets Hardware.

“The quiet room served its purpose and was very good for the hospital for many years,” Murray said, adding, “But it’s good to bring a chapel, a designated space open to the public, back to this hospital.”

The TCMH Healthcare Foundation, the charitable arm of the hospital, is utilizing the new space for memorial and other donation recognition with brass naming plates on the wooden panels.

IMG_9109Jay Gentry, Healthcare Foundation director, explained that with a minimum $500 donation, a donor may designate a plate in the chapel space.

For additional information about donor recognition inside the TCMH chapel, contact Gentry at or (417) 967-1377.

The chapel is located on the second floor of the medical surgical floor of the hospital, just off the main waiting room and North stairwell and elevator. It is open to the public.

Vlietstra Named Employee of the Month

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Texas County Memorial Hospital has named Evania Vlietstra the December employee of the month.

Vlietstra is a medical lab technician in the TCMH laboratory, and she has worked at TCMH for over two years. Vlietstra was nominated for the award by Kirby Holmes, laboratory director.

“Evania has quickly become a highly flexible and efficient team player in the short time she’s been at TCMH,” Holmes said. “Evania can be called upon to perform any task in our laboratory.”

Holmes noted that Vlietstra’s enthusiasm and positive attitude earned her a role as an independent night technician in the lab.

“Evania is frequently selected as the ‘go to tech’ for special assignments that must be done quickly and correctly the first time,” Holmes said.

As employee of the month, Vlietstra received a certificate honoring her achievement; a pin; $100 cash; 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, Janstiques and Blissful Nirvana Massage. A reception will be held at the hospital in honor of Vlietstra.

Vlietstra is eligible for the 2015 TCMH employee of the year award.

Evania Vlietstra, TCMH December employee of the month, with her supersvisor, Kirby Holmes.

Evania Vlietstra, TCMH December employee of the month, with her supersvisor, Kirby Holmes.

First Baby of the Year Arrives

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It’s a boy!

Gunnar Jaxson Teller Green took the honors as the first baby born at Texas County Memorial Hospital in 2015, arriving at 4:18 p.m. on Friday, January 2nd.

Baby Gunnar is the son of Brittany and Rick Green of Licking, and he joins three older brothers and two older sisters in the Green home. Dr. Tricia Benoist, physician at the Mercy Clinic in Houston, delivered baby
Gunnar, and he was eight pounds, fifteen ounces and 21 and one-quarter inches long.

Reese Bucher, a representative of the TCMH Auxiliary, presented gifts and gift certificates to Gunnar and his parents after his birth. Businesses and individuals throughout the county donated the gifts.

The gift basket for the first baby born at TCMH is a project of the TCMH Auxiliary. Area businesses that were not able to participate in 2015, but would like to participate in 2016 should contact the TCMH Auxiliary at (417) 967-1370 or 1-866-967-3311.

Gunnar Green of Licking was the first baby born at Texas County Memorial Hospital in Houston this year.  Shown here with baby Gunnar are Wes Murray, chief executive officer at TCMH; Rick Green, father; Brittany Green, mother and holding Gunnar Green, and Reese Bucher of the TCMH Auxiliary.

Gunnar Green of Licking was the first baby born at Texas County Memorial Hospital in Houston this year. Shown here with baby Gunnar are Wes Murray, chief executive officer at TCMH; Rick Green, father; Brittany Green, mother and holding Gunnar Green, and Reese Bucher of the TCMH Auxiliary.

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