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Comfort Care Booklets Available to Area Residents

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Texas County Memorial Hospital Hospice of Care has a new booklet—Considering Comfort Care, A Guide for Families—available to area residents.

These booklets are available at no charge to area residents from TCMH Hospice of Care.

These booklets are available at no charge to area residents from TCMH Hospice of Care.

“This easy-to-read guide is a good way to learn about comfort care,” Courtney Owens, TCMH Hospice of Care director, said. “It can be helpful to you or to a family member, and it’s something you may want to discuss with your healthcare provider, too.”

Hospice of Care purchased the booklets with funds from a grant from Hospice Foundation of the Ozarks. The booklet is written by G. Leigh Wilkerson, an experienced critical care and hospice nurse.

“Comfort care is another option for medical treatment, and many times patients and their family members do not understand comfort care,” Owens said, noting that the book explains comfort care and why and when a patient or a patient’s family member might choose comfort care.

The booklet features frequently asked questions and lists online resources and other books regarding comfort care.

The booklets are available at no charge through the TCMH clinics in Licking, Houston, Cabool, and Mountain Grove; through the Mercy clinic in Houston; through TCMH Hutcheson Pharmacy and through the TCMH Hospice of Care office located behind the hospital at the TCMH Office Annex.

You can also request a booklet by contacting the Hospice of Care office at (417) 967-1279 or cowens@tcmh.org.


Sara McDaniel is Employee of the Month

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Texas County Memorial Hospital has named Sara McDaniel of Houston the January employee of the month.

Sara McDaniel (left), with her supervisor, Courtney Owens

Sara McDaniel (left), with her supervisor, Courtney Owens

McDaniel is a licensed social worker for TCMH Hospice of Care. McDaniel has worked at the hospital since 2010. She was nominated for the award by Courtney Owens, Hospice of Care director.

“Sara is the only one that can do her job at Hospice of Care, and she never complains about that,” Owens said, describing McDaniel as “always willing to help out”.

As the social worker for Hospice of Care, McDaniel is responsible for organizing the grief support groups and the annual bereavement tea. Owens said that in McDaniel’s hands, the Hospice of Care events flourish.

“Sara always brings a smile into the office and into our patients’ homes,” Owens said, adding, “She embodies TCMH values.”

As employee of the month, McDaniel 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, Wher Motors, and Twirlee Q. A reception will be held at the hospital in honor of McDaniel.

McDaniel is eligible for the 2016 TCMH employee of the year award.


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 2016 spring school semester.

The TCMH Healthcare Foundation awarded two $1000 scholarships, left to right, Jay Gentry, Healthcare Foundation director; Ashley Collins; Angela Watkins; and Wes Murray, TCMH CEO.

The TCMH Healthcare Foundation awarded two $1000 scholarships, left to right, Jay Gentry, Healthcare Foundation director; Ashley Collins; Angela Watkins; and Wes Murray, TCMH CEO.

Receiving scholarships from the TCMH Healthcare Foundation were Angela Watkins of Rolla and Ashley Collins of Pomona. The recipients were chosen among several applicants by members of the Healthcare Foundation board of directors.

Watkins is pursuing a graduate degree in the pediatric nurse practitioner program at Maryville University in St. Louis, MO. She is currently a registered nurse and director of the obstetrics department at TCMH.

Collins is a student at Missouri State University-West Plains campus, and she’s pursuing an associate’s degree in nursing. Collins is a licensed practical nurse in the medical surgical and intensive care departments at TCMH.

This is the first time both recipients have received a scholarships 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 www.tcmhfoundation.org.


Board Previews New Website Featuring Quality, Pricing and Community Investment of Hospitals Across the State

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The home page of the new Focus on Hospitals website.

The homepage of the new Focus on Hospitals website.

Texas County Memorial Hospital board members had an early preview of new consumer data in the “Focus on Hospitals” website at their monthly meeting on Monday.

Focus on Hospitals is a consumer-focused website by the Missouri Hospital Association (MHA), of which TCMH is a member. Focus on Hospitals currently provides quality and community data on Missouri hospitals to the public.

A website redesign of Focus on Hospitals is slated to go live in early February, and the new site features pricing as well as quality and community investment data.

“TCMH is one of over 80 percent of Missouri hospitals providing current data to the MHA for the site, and this site is part of the MHA’s efforts to increase hospital transparency,” Wes Murray, TCMH chief executive officer, told board members.

On the new site, consumers can select a hospital, review the hospital’s price, quality or community investment data and compare the data against a statewide average. Consumers can also pick a second hospital to compare data from specific hospitals to each other.

Amanda Turpin, quality management nurse manager, took board members through the soon-to-be-released website. She explained that TCMH does not have data displayed on the site for some quality and pricing measures because the hospital doesn’t treat enough cases or provide services for certain things.

“The pricing is broken down into ‘inpatient’ and ‘emergency’ pricing and includes the current 100 most common diagnosis related groups at Missouri hospitals,” Turpin said.

According to Turpin, the maximum, median, and minimum charges are calculated and displayed with the lowest and highest 10 percent outliers removed.

“Our charges look good,” Turpin said. “You can see that we are down in all areas compared to the state average.”

Turpin pointed out that the TCMH “self-pay” discount of 30 percent was shown on the site, and the self-pay discount was shown for any hospital that provided the information to the MHA.

Turpin specifically pointed out emergency department and newborn birth charges.

“Frequently people complain that the emergency department bill is high, but this site shows clearly that all emergency room visits are expensive, and TCMH is actually lower in cost than the state average,” Turpin said.

Likewise, patients delivering at TCMH incurred less cost with longer inpatient stays at the hospital than at other Missouri hospitals.

“Our pricing is right in line with state averages,” Murray said, adding, “It’s easy to see that it’s affordable to have a baby here.”

Pricing data will be updated annually.

The Focus on Hospitals site includes 23 quality measures for consumers to review. Quality data is refreshed quarterly, and a hospital must have at least 25 cases in a 12-month reporting period to have information displayed.

“The MHA has risk adjusted the data to paint a more accurate picture,” Turpin said.

Factors like age, race and ethnicity, education, community setting, environment, poverty, nutrition, and current health status may affect how a patient responds to treatment in the short and the long-term.

According to Turpin, the patients in Texas County tend to be older and sicker than average, so the TCMH quality data has been adjusted to reflect the patient population.

“The MHA has denoted where the data has been risk-adjusted,” Turpin said, showing the risk-adjusted data points to those present at the meeting.

The community involvement portion of the site includes hospital-specific data that can be found in the TCMH Annual Report such as uncompensated care, payroll and benefits, number of employees, total expenses, and net revenue.

“Comparing pricing and quality shopping is here to stay in healthcare,” Turpin said. “We stack up well in the comparisons.”

In the administrative report, Murray reported that TCMH recently brought in an additional general surgeon for a site visit. Recruiting efforts for primary care physicians are ongoing, but no potential candidates are scheduled for visits at this time.

Kim Kemnitzer, FNP

Kim Kemnitzer, FNP

Family nurse practitioner, Kim Kemnitzer of Salem has been working full-time in the TCMH Walk In Clinic in Houston while another provider is out on medical leave. When the provider returns to work, Kemnitzer will continue to split her time between the Walk In Clinic and the TCMH Family Clinic in Licking where she will work each Monday and Friday.

“With Kim at the Licking clinic, we will have two providers at the clinic five days a week,” Murray said. Kemnitzer will work with Dr. Joshua Wolfe, a family medicine and obstetrics physician, and Whitney Young, a physician assistant, which both work full-time at the clinic in Licking.

Charles C. Scott, MD

Charles C. Scott, MD

Charles C. Scott, MD began working at the TCMH Mountain Grove Clinic two days a week. Scott is a semi-retired physician with over 30 years experience in primary care. Most recently Scott was the associate medical director at South Central Correctional Center. Scott is working with Sara Openshaw, family nurse practitioner; William Wright, family medicine physician, and Tracey Arwood, certified nurse midwife, at the Mountain Grove clinic.

“Kim asked us about returning to TCMH full-time, and Dr. Scott approached us about working part-time,” Murray said. “We are always eager to find ways to plug in area healthcare providers that are looking for work locally.”

Due to a drop in emergency room and ambulance services during the month of December, TCMH ended the month with a negative bottom line of $572,637.14.

“When our ER volumes drop, it always affects our ancillary services like radiology and lab,” Linda Pamperien, TCMH chief financial officer, said in her monthly financial report.

TCMH ended the year with a loss of $2,037,499.21. Pamperien noted that the numbers are “unaudited”.

“I try to project conservatively in my numbers,” Pamperien said. “Our audit should improve the numbers a little.”

Pamperien explained that in 2015 TCMH had $2.2 million in depreciation and amortization costs, and the hospital ended the year with $1.6 million in the general operating fund.

“Our cash flow remains strong,” Pamperien said, explaining that TCMH reduced accounts receivable in the hospital and clinic in 2015, a goal of the finance department at the beginning of last year.

“We also have over $5 million in funded depreciation, but we only earned $12,000 in interest on it last year,” Pamperien said.

Present at the meeting were Murray; Turpin; Pamperien; Doretta Todd-Willis, chief nursing officer; Joleen Senter Durham, public relations director; Ron Prenger, CoxHealth representative, and board members Dr. Jim Perry, OD; Omanez Fockler, and Janet Wiseman.

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

The next meeting of the TCMH board of trustees will be Tue., Feb. 23 at 12 p.m. in the hospital board room.


Hospital’s Heart Attack Response Protocol is a Lifesaver

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Bud Evans thought it was just an ordinary day in October.

Evans, manager of Oakwood Golf Course in Houston, went to the golf course bright and early that day, just like he always did. However, about 9 a.m., he decided he was feeling poorly enough that he should go to the Texas County Memorial Hospital emergency department to get medical advice.

“I wasn’t in pain, but I had some discomfort in my chest,” Evans said. “I thought I should get it checked out.”

Evans drove from the outskirts of Houston to the hospital parking lot, stopped at the corner, decided he was feeling better, and drove back to the golf course.

By 10 a.m., Evans had driven himself back to the TCMH parking lot. This time he parked his vehicle and got out of the car, stopping momentarily to question whether or not he was imagining the discomfort in his chest.

“I called my wife and told her I was going to the ER,” Evans said.

Evans described the TCMH emergency waiting area that day as “not busy”. When Evans told the registration clerk that he was having “chest discomfort”, the clerk immediately sounded the “chest pain” alert to hospital personnel.

“I was quickly placed in a room, given a shot of blood thinner and an IV,” Evans said. “In a matter of minutes, the doctor was in my room telling me and my wife that I was having a mild heart attack and a helicopter was inbound to the hospital to take me to Springfield.”

Evans was a “hot load” on an air ambulance bound for an interventional heart procedure at CoxHealth in Springfield.

A “hot load” is the quickest type of air ambulance pick up. For a hot load the air ambulance personnel and the helicopter land on the helipad and immediately load the patient and leave with the patient without stopping the engine or rotors of the chopper.

STEMI Designation
TCMH has been providing life saving care for patients experiencing heart attacks since its doors were opened in 1958. Later this year, the hospital anticipates receiving a designation from the state Department of Health and Senior Services as a “Level Four STEMI” hospital for their ability to respond to patients experiencing a ST segment elevation myocardial infarction or STEMI, commonly referred to as a heart attack.

Lauren Toman, cardiopulmonary director at TCMH, has been actively involved in the application process for the STEMI designation, and she has worked closely with the emergency department and cardiopulmonary department teams to decrease crucial times in the medical process for area heart attack patients.

“The heart is a big muscle, and during a heart attack blood stops flowing to the heart which causes the muscle to die,” Toman said. “Every minute that we have with a heart attack victim is an opportunity to save more of that patient’s heart.”

The state of Missouri’s benchmark for STEMI response is 30 minutes from the time a patient is in the door of the hospital with heart attack symptoms to transfer to a higher level of cardiac care.

However, most rural hospitals do not have everything in place to meet the 30 minute benchmark. Rural hospitals must recognize and stop the heart attack process and work around obstacles for getting the patient where he or she needs to be for cardiac intervention as quickly as possible.

Rural hospitals like TCMH face particular challenges in getting cardiac intervention for patients because most rural hospitals do not have an air ambulance on site to ship patients to a hospital where cardiac intervention can be provided. TCMH is a 24 minute flight from the nearest air ambulance base.

TCMH does have multiple ground ambulances available and on site at the hospital, but in the case of heart attacks, ground ambulances are only used during times of bad weather.

When a heart attack patient is diagnosed, there’s at least a 24 minute window of waiting for the air ambulance to arrive on the TCMH helipad. More time is spent loading the patient on the ambulance, too.

“To hot load a patient on a helicopter, it takes five minutes,” Toman said, adding, “And that’s a really crazy five minutes–rushing a patient to a helicopter and loading them while the helicopter’s still running.”

Going into the STEMI designation application, Toman knew that TCMH faced a lot of obstacles to cutting down STEMI response times just due to the hospital’s rural location.

STEMI Protocols
The first protocol implemented for the STEMI response was a “chest pain” alert that goes out to the hospital staff when a potential heart attack patient presents at the emergency department registration desk or when an ambulance crew is in route to the hospital with a possible heart attack patient. Staff from multiple hospital departments’ work together to get the patient in a room and hooked up to vitals monitors, the cardiopulmonary team starts an electrocardiogram (EKG), and the heart attack is diagnosed or ruled out.

“Our goal is to have STEMI patients hooked up to an EKG within five minutes of coming through the door,” Toman said. If a patient is in a ground ambulance in route to the hospital, the paramedics can start the EKG before arriving at the hospital.

Once the hospital personnel receive confirmation through the EKG that the patient is indeed experiencing a heart attack, the emergency department staff make contact with a hospital with a higher level of cardiac care available and get the patient accepted into that care.

Depending upon the severity of the patient’s symptoms, various medical procedures will take place.

“We can give a medication to patients that will send blood back to the heart,” Toman said, referring to “lytic”, but she added, “All of the patients will need some type of physical intervention to remove the blockage that’s stopping the flow of blood to their heart. Our goal is to get the patient to that intervention as quickly as possible.”

Toman explained that STEMI scenarios require “split second decisions” because every action during a heart attack can save more heart muscle.

According to Toman, the new STEMI protocols have the TCMH door to door response time for patients down to a 34 minute average. “Door to door” refers to the moment a patient tells the registration clerk that they are experiencing chest pain to the moment the patient is shipped to a higher level of care.

TCMH has no control over what happens with a patient after they are flown from the hospital, but Toman explained that the overall goal is that a patient receives interventional care at the larger hospital within 120 minutes of entering the TCMH emergency room.

“When the ambulance with the STEMI patient arrives at the next hospital, they are ready and waiting for the patient,” Toman said. “The patient is unloaded and wheeled into a hospital procedure room.”

The Perfect Experience
The staff at CoxHealth was ready for Bud Evans when the chopper landed. Evans’ cardiac procedure was quite involved—open heart surgery for a three vessel bypass.

The TCMH staff, using the new STEMI protocols, had saved Evans’ life.

Bud Evans (seated, center) is shown here with some of his Texas County Memorial Hospital healthcare providers.  Left to right:  Kathy Carr, cardiac rehabilitation nurse; Carol Turner, Jeri Sue Crump, and Jennifer Neal, emergency room nurses, and Dr. Lynn Hauenstein, ER physician.

Bud Evans (seated, center) is shown here with some of his Texas County Memorial Hospital healthcare providers. Left to right: Kathy Carr, cardiac rehabilitation nurse; Carol Turner, Jeri Sue Crump, and Jennifer Neal, emergency room nurses, and Dr. Lynn Hauenstein, ER physician.

How has TCMH honed their STEMI protocols and decreased their door to door times for patients of heart attacks?

For almost a year, the emergency department and other hospital personnel have practiced their protocols with surprise mock drills. TCMH personnel work with other hospital STEMI coordinators and the cardiologists at other hospitals. Community education is also an important component to saving the lives of patients experiencing heart attacks.

Forty to 60 patients a month come into the TCMH emergency department complaining of chest pain. Approximately two of those chest pain patients are having actual heart attacks, but the STEMI protocols are always activated when a patient may be having a heart attack.

“Successful STEMI response is due to awesome communication,” Toman said, explaining that the in-house hospital team must communicate quickly and effectively, and the admitting hospital must also have communication avenues open and in place to quickly respond to patients that need to be shipped in to them from TCMH.

Evans recalls his heart attack experience as “perfect” from the moment he walked into the TCMH emergency room doors.

Prior to his heart attack, Evans didn’t have much experience with hospitalization at TCMH or anywhere else. He does remember the “old days” when Evans Funeral Home operated the local “ambulance”, rushing people by car—the funeral home hearse–driving 100 miles per hour down two lane roads to Springfield.

“The doctor and the staff worked together efficiently and quickly to save my life,” Evans said. “Everything worked exactly as I envisioned this hospital doing if I ever needed it.”

Since his heart attack, Evans has made some lifestyle changes, and he’s participating in the cardiac rehabilitation program at TCMH. Evans’ cardiologist told him recently to come back for a follow up visit in a year. Evans is very grateful for the technology and the quick actions of hospital personnel at TCMH and at CoxHealth that saved his life last October.

“I had a moment where I thought I might not make it,” Evans said, “And now I’m planning a vacation in Florida.”


Vein Finding Machine Purchased with Grant Funding

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“Everyone hates needles.” Jeri Sue Crump, Texas County Memorial Hospital emergency department nurse manager, said with the confidence of someone that’s been on the giving end of needles a few times.

Crump noted that patients in any hospital know when they enter the doors that they face needles for shots, to draw blood, or to administer intravenous fluids. Unfortunately for the patients it’s not always easy for a healthcare provider to find a vein for withdrawing blood or for giving intravenous fluid.

“Patients that come into the ER are often sick and nervous, and that can make it hard to find a vein,” Crump said. “Changes in room temperature, body tissue density, and age can also affect the ease of finding a vein.”

Pediatric patients, elderly patients and patients with dense body tissue present particularly challenging bodies for healthcare providers to find a vein to stick a needle in—especially in one try.

However, a new tool—the AccuVein vein viewing system—at TCMH has made finding a blood vein on the first try much simpler for healthcare providers and much easier on patients.

TCMH emergency department personnel demonstrate the AccuVein vein finding machine.  The red laser light illuminates the veins in the arm.

TCMH emergency department personnel demonstrate the AccuVein vein finding machine. The red laser light illuminates the veins in the arm.

Using red laser radiation, a patient’s veins are highlighted allowing the healthcare provider to clearly see where veins are located on a patient before inserting a needle. Veins that are not clearly seen with the naked eye are illuminated with the use of the laser. The laser also has different light settings to work with different skin tones.

The portable AccuVein machine is housed in the hospital’s emergency department, but it’s available to all hospital nursing departments when needed.

“The AccuVein has already saved many of our patients from more than one needle stick,” Crump said.

Frank Steelman, a paramedic in the hospital emergency department, has been using the AccuVein machine on his patients whenever he has the opportunity.

“The AccuVein provides a lot of useful information to me when I’m sticking a patient,” Steelman said, explaining that he doesn’t have to “feel” for a vein because the vein is illuminated by the laser light.

Steelman and Crump noted that it’s not uncommon for a vein to move after a needle has been placed in it. With the AccuVein illuminating the veins, the healthcare provider is able to see the vein move and respond accordingly.

“The more I use the machine, the better I am with it,” Steelman said. “It’s definitely a much better way to stick a patient.”

The AccuVein light is on a stand, so it can be held in place over a patient’s appendage. The healthcare provider has both hands free to use on the patient. Steelman admitted that he likes the “hands free” capabilities of the machine.

The laser light is attached to a device that can also be removed from the machine for a hand held option, too.

The machine is battery operated, and when it’s not in use, the staff plugs the machine in to charge.

TCMH was able to obtain the AccuVein machine through a $4,500 grant from the Bess Spiva Timmons Foundation and additional funding support of $1,690 from the TCMH Healthcare Foundation.

“The Healthcare Foundation’s partnership with the Timmons Foundation to provide grant funding to purchase the Accuvein helps us improve the care we provide to our patients,” Murray said.

Murray noted that most inpatients discharged from TCMH are asked about tests and treatments on a follow up survey.

“We receive a lot of feedback about our staffs’ ability to administer an IV or to draw blood,” Murray said. “An IV or needle stick is a very small part of a patient’s experience at TCMH, but it’s always memorable.”

Murray explained that through the surveys some patients praise staff for finding a vein with one poke of a needle and some patients complain that it took multiple tries or multiple staff members helping each other to successfully find a vein.

“The AccuVein is an awesome tool for our staff to use to increase the overall satisfaction our patients have in their hospital experience,” Murray said. “The AccuVein makes the needle a little less scary for our patients.”

The Timmons Foundation is a private family foundation of the descendants of Bess Spiva Timmons. The late Dr. Joe L. Spears, a long-time family practice physician from the Cabool area, is a past president of the Timmons Foundation Board. Tim Spears, son of Dr. Joe L. Spears, assisted in obtaining the funding for TCMH through his family’s foundation.

The TCMH Healthcare Foundation is the non-profit organizational arm of the hospital with a mission to ensure the quality of healthcare services for children, women and men at TCMH.

“The Healthcare Foundation was pleased to partner with the Timmons Foundation to provide another tool for our staff to use to improve the patient experience at TCMH,” Jay Gentry, TCMH Healthcare Foundation director, said.


Youth Ambassador Receives Volunteer Award

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Texas County Memorial Hospital has recognized Melody Tate, a Houston high school senior, for volunteering over 500 hours at the hospital through the Youth Ambassador program.

Tate was accepted into the Youth Ambassador program and began volunteering at the hospital in the fall of 2014 when she was a junior in high school. She has continued to volunteer and reached 510 hours at the beginning of 2016.

“Melody has far exceeded the number of hours worked by any Youth Ambassador since the program’s inception,” April Steele, Youth Ambassador program coordinator, said.

Youth Ambassadors are required to volunteer four hours a month during the school year to maintain active status in the program. According to Steele, most Youth Ambassadors average 40 hours of volunteer time during a school year.

Tate achieved 450 hours of volunteer time within her first year of service at TCMH. During her time at TCMH she has volunteered in many hospital departments—medical surgical, obstetrics, medical records, registration, emergency department, administration and dietary.

“Melody is dependable, honest and flexible,” Steele said. “She is responsible for her actions when she’s volunteering at TCMH, and that has helped her advance in the volunteer services she’s able to offer.”

After showing her abilities as a volunteer, Tate was interviewed by emergency department nurse manager to volunteer in the emergency department. Volunteers in the ED must go through an interview and training process. Tate was selected to volunteer in the department and was subsequently offered a part-time ward clerk position in the department.

“When I heard about the Youth Ambassador program from my school counselor, it sounded like something I would be interested in doing,” Tate said.

Prior to volunteering at TCMH, Tate did not have any experience in the field of healthcare.

“I love working here, and I like the people I work with,” Tate said.

Tate is now considering a career in the healthcare field after high school. She is interested in a job providing patient care, and she’s also interested in continuing to stay in the area and to work at TCMH.

“I really enjoy the ER because of the variables in what I am able to experience,” Tate said, adding, “Interacting with the patients is my favorite part as a volunteer at TCMH.”

To honor Tate’s volunteer efforts, Wes Murray, chief executive officer at TCMH, presented Tate with a certificate and a fleece jacket embroidered with the hospital logo.

“Through the Youth Ambassador program, Melody has had the opportunity to experience what goes on behind the doors of her local hospital,” Murray said, calling Tate’s decision to make a career in healthcare “a success”.

“Melody has been able to find a job she’s interested in doing, and she’s interested in staying in the area to continue her education and her career,” Murray said. “This is a win for Melody, for the Youth Ambassador program and TCMH and for our community.”

Youth Ambassadors have volunteered over 6,000 hours at the hospital since the program began in December 2009. During the 2014-2015 school year, youth ambassadors volunteered over 2,400 hours.

“Our Youth Ambassadors are an asset to our hospital, and we are extremely grateful to Melody for the efforts she’s made to volunteer here whenever possible,” Murray said.

Youth Ambassadors are area high school juniors and seniors and area college students that volunteer their time at TCMH. The next group of Youth Ambassadors will be recruited in September 2016.

For additional information about the program, contact Steele at (417) 967-1236.

Melody Tate (center) received special recognition from Texas County Memorial Hospital for volunteering over 500 hours at the hospital over the past year and half.  Shown here with Tate are Wes Murray, TCMH CEO (left), and April Steele, TCMH Youth Ambassador program coordinator.

Melody Tate (center) received special recognition from Texas County Memorial Hospital for volunteering over 500 hours at the hospital over the past year and half. Shown here with Tate are Wes Murray, TCMH CEO (left), and April Steele, TCMH Youth Ambassador program coordinator.


Crystal Finley is Employee of the Month

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Texas County Memorial Hospital has named Crystal Finley of West Plains the December employee of the month.

Finley is a respiratory therapist in the TCMH cardipulmonary department. Finley has worked at the hospital since 2006. She was nominated for the award by Lauren Toman, cardiopulmonary department director.

“Crystal brings an amazing team approach to cardiopulmonary,” Toman said, describing Finley as organized, efficient and offering customer service that is “above and beyond”.

In addition to her patient care work as respiratory therapist, Finley assists Toman with monthly quality assurance reporting and in making the department schedule.

“Crystal often digs deep into a patient’s clinical history to offer the best care she can give,” Toman said, adding, “She embodies TCMH values.”

As employee of the month, Finley 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 and Blissful Nirvana Massage. A reception will be held at the hospital in honor of Finley.

Finley also received the December 2009 employee of the month award at TCMH. She now is eligible for the 2016 TCMH employee of the year award.

Crystal Finley (left), TCMH December employee of the month, with her supervisor, Lauren Toman.

Crystal Finley (left), TCMH December employee of the month, with her supervisor, Lauren Toman.


Local Contest Benefits TCMH Hospice of Care

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Texas County Memorial Hospital Hospice of Care is the beneficiary of $291.68 following this year’s Christmas tree contest hosted by D & L Florist in Houston.

Shari McCallister, owner of D&L Florist, hosts the contest annually by decorating numerous trees in her shop with various themes for Christmas. Visitors to the store are asked to vote on their favorite tree with money. One penny counts for one vote, and all of the funds collected go to TCMH Hospice of Care.

“Voting for a tree has become a family tradition for many,” McCallister said, explaining that grandchildren are brought in by their grandparents, mothers and daughters and groups of friends come in together.

The majority of the funds collected are small change, but many people vote with paper money, too.

“There are quite a few one and five dollar bills, and some tens and twenties,” McCallister said.

McCallister noted that the fundraising effort is a giving opportunity for many people that might not be asked to give to a local charity on a regular basis.

“The Hospice of Care team took care of my father, Doyle Sillyman, and it’s an honor to be able to give back to them through this contest each year,” McCallister said.

McCallister said the “music tree” was the winner of the 2015 contest, garnering the most votes.

The funds collected will go into the Hospice of Care Fund managed by the TCMH Healthcare Foundation. The funds will be utilized locally to help provide end of life care for Hospice of Care patients and their families.

According to Jay Gentry, director of the TCMH Healthcare Foundation, the Christmas tree contest has raised $2,068 for Hospice of Care since the contest began.

The TCMH Healthcare Foundation and TCMH Hospice of Care received a donation from a contest hosted by D&L Florist.  Shown here, from left, are Melanie Evans, Sara McDaniel and Courtney Owens, Hospice of Care staff; Shari McCallister, owner of D&L Florist; Sandy Eaton, Hospice of Care, and Jay Gentry, Healthcare Foundation director.

The TCMH Healthcare Foundation and TCMH Hospice of Care received a donation from a contest hosted by D&L Florist. Shown here, from left, are Melanie Evans, Sara McDaniel and Courtney Owens, Hospice of Care staff; Shari McCallister, owner of D&L Florist; Sandy Eaton, Hospice of Care, and Jay Gentry, Healthcare Foundation director.


First Baby of the Year Arrives

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Sarah and Trent Anderson

Sarah and Trent Anderson

It’s a girl!

Kaylyn Rose Anderson took the honors as the first baby born at Texas County Memorial Hospital in 2016, arriving at 4:39 a.m. on Saturday, January 2nd.

Baby Kaylyn is the daughter of Sarah and Trent Anderson of Licking, and she joins her older brother, one-year old Trent Junior, in the Anderson home. Dr. Matthew Brown, physician at the Mercy Clinic in Houston, delivered baby Kaylyn and she was six pounds, three ounces and 19 inches long.

Roma Hollenbeck and Shirley Kruse, representatives of the TCMH Auxiliary, and Wes Murray, TCMH chief executive officer, presented gifts and gift certificates to Kaylyn and her parents after her birth. Businesses throughout the county donated the gifts to celebrate the arrival of the first child born at TCMH in 2016.

Presenting gifts to Texas County’s firstborn of 2016 were(from left) Shirley Kruse and Roma Hollenbeck of the TCMH Auxiliary, Wes Murray, TCMH CEO.  Shown here with Baby Kaylyn and Sarah and Trent Anderson of Licking.

Presenting gifts to Texas County’s firstborn of 2016 were(from left) Shirley Kruse and Roma Hollenbeck of the TCMH Auxiliary, Wes Murray, TCMH CEO. Shown here with Baby Kaylyn and Sarah and Trent Anderson of Licking.


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