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Uncompensated Care at TCMH More than Triple State and National Averages

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Uncompensated care at Texas County Memorial Hospital is more than triple the state and national uncompensated care averages, hospital board members heard at their monthly meeting on front entrance

Uncompensated care is the total amount of healthcare services, based on full established charges, provided to patients who are either unable or unwilling to pay. Uncompensated care includes both charity care and bad debt.

Wes Murray, TCMH chief executive officer, presented data collected and compiled by the Hospital Industry Data Institute (HIDI) showing uncompensated care numbers for the county hospital for 2011, 2012 and 2013.

“On average, we are writing off a much higher percentage of our net revenue than other hospitals in the state,” Murray said. “It’s frustrating and discouraging, but providing care for everyone regardless of their ability to pay is what we have to do as a county hospital. And we will continue to do so.”

In 2011, TCMH had 14.8 percent in total uncompensated and charity care costs; the state and national averages were 5.5 percent. In 2012, TCMH had 16.9 percent in total uncompensated and charity care costs; the state and national averages were 5.1 percent. In 2013, TCMH had 15.8 percent in total uncompensated and charity care costs; the state and national averages stayed the same at 5.1 percent.

“The federal government anticipated that the state expansion of Medicaid services would cut some of our uncompensated and charity care,” Murray said, “And our state legislators have opted to block Medicaid reform in our state.”

Murray noted that states that allowed Medicaid expansion have experienced 40 to 60 percent drops in uncompensated and charity care at public hospitals.

“As we have discussed in the past, Texas County has a high percentage of uncompensated care for the level of volumes we do,” Murray said.

In the financial report for the month of June, Linda Pamperien, TCMH chief financial officer, reported $572,189.15 in bad debt and four charity care cases totaling $15,135.67.

TCMH has a policy that enables patients that do not have the means to cover their healthcare services needed or received to apply for “charity care” which allows the hospital to officially write off the care.

Bad debt is the amount of care that is written off because patients refuse to pay their bill or are unable to pay their bill. Sometimes patients that would qualify for charity care at TCMH do not complete the charity care paperwork, so their healthcare services become bad debt.

“Three-hundred seventy-five thousand dollars of the bad debt came through our emergency department,” Pamperien said. “And several of those patients were so ill they had to be admitted to the hospital as inpatients, incurring additional bad debt.”

Murray explained that the HIDI data is provided to the Centers for Medicare Services, which has collected the information since 2010.

“This information will be taken into consideration for future government payment systems,” Murray said.

Murray introduced Ron Prenger with CoxHealth to those present at the meeting. Prenger, senior vice president and chief hospital officer for CoxHealth Springfield and Monett, will attend TCMH board meetings as his schedule allows, taking the place of Dr. John Duff of Cox Health who retired in May.

“This is a beautiful facility,” Prenger said about TCMH. “You have positioned yourself well for meeting the healthcare needs of this county.”

TCMH has a longstanding, non-binding affiliation with CoxHealth which provides educational, purchasing and recruiting resources to TCMH from time to time.

Murray has spoken with residents of the Cox Family Medicine Residency program about providing some weekend call coverage at the hospital for a few months.

“Currently, our physicians are on call every fourth weekend, which is too much for some of them,” Murray said. “We want to lessen that burden while we work on recruiting additional physicians to the hospital’s medical staff.”

The weekend physician would provide coverage for hospital inpatients only, admitting patients when needed and handling on-call coverage needs.

Dr. Cory Offutt, a family medicine and obstetrics physician, will begin working at TCMH next summer, and he will share call coverage with the current physicians. TCMH is also actively recruiting additional physicians to work at the clinics in Houston and in Mountain Grove.

“I have two family medicine physicians that will be here for site visits this month and next month,” Joleen Senter Durham, TCMH director of physician recruiting, said.

Both physicians are not available until next summer—one is in the third year of residency and one is doing a fellowship in obstetrics.

“I am hopeful that these site visits will be successful,” Durham said. “We definitely have a need for both of these physicians.”

TCMH experienced drops in volume for inpatient and outpatients, according to the June financial report.

“Every department experienced a dip in June except for physical therapy,” Pamperien said, noting that volumes typically drop in the summer months.

Pamperien also explained that TCMH is currently paying interest only on the $19.1 million USDA loan, but principal and interest payments begin in August.

“The payment will be about $87,000 a month, which is right where we left off with our bond payments that were recently retired,” Pamperien said.

TCMH ended the month of June with a negative bottom line of $202,193.09 and a negative year to date balance of $1,058,436.24.

Present at the meeting were Murray; Pamperien; Durham; Prenger; Dr. Jonathan Beers; Doretta Todd-Willis, chief nursing officer; and board members, Dr. Jim Perry, OD; Janet Wiseman and Omanez Fockler.

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

The next meeting of the TCMH board of trustees is Tue., Aug. 25 at 12 p.m. in the hospital board room.

TCMH Offers First Gentle C-Section Surgical Delivery

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Baby Abel Hance was the first child born through “gentle” C-section at TCMH.  He’s here with his mother, Jasmine Atkinson and River Hance (front).  Back left to right are part of the obstetrics and surgery team at TCMH, Angela Watkins, obstetrics department director; Heather Lobough, CRNA; Dr. Christopher Baldwin, delivering physician, and Brittany Shepherd, obstetrics RN.

Baby Abel Hance was the first child born through “gentle” C-section at TCMH. He’s here with his mother, Jasmine Atkinson and River Hance (front). Back left to right are part of the obstetrics and surgery team at TCMH, Angela Watkins, obstetrics department director; Heather Lobough, CRNA; Dr. Christopher Baldwin, delivering physician, and Brittany Shepherd, obstetrics RN.

Abel Hance, one of Texas County’s newest residents, was the first baby born by “gentle” Ceasarean section at Texas County Memorial Hospital last week. The gentle C-section is a new family-centered experience available for some surgical births at TCMH.

Jasmine Atkinson of Licking, the mother of baby Hance, had a C-section scheduled at TCMH, and she and her partner, River, agreed to be part of the first gentle C-section performed by the hospital’s obstetrics and surgical teams.

Atkinson had a traditional C-section for the birth of her first child due to medical complications during delivery, and she was not prepared for the first surgical delivery experience which she called “rushed”.

“I knew I was having a C-section this time, and although I was nervous, everyone did a great job making me feel comfortable and part of the birth experience,” Atkinson said.

Dr. Christopher Baldwin, a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist at the TCMH Medical Complex in Houston, was Atkinson’s delivering physician. Atkinson explained that Baldwin’s lighthearted demeanor, provided reassurance for her.

Jim Spantgos, certified registered nurse anesthetist for the procedure, offered to play Beatles music during the delivery.

“I didn’t bring any music to listen to, and the music was very calming,” Atkinson said.

Gentle C-section protocols call for a clear plastic drape so the delivering mother can see the baby as soon as it’s delivered. Intravenous fluids and straps are placed on the mother’s non-dominant arm, allowing the mother the ability to hold her baby for immediate skin-to-skin contact in the operating room.

“I saw Abel’s birth. I could hear him, and I could see my surroundings. It was awesome,” Atkinson said.

Baby Hance did not have any complications at birth, so he was able to be placed on his mother’s chest in the operating room. His first breastfeeding experience was also successful, lasting 40 minutes.

Atkinson noted that with her first surgical delivery it was over two hours before she was able to see her baby.

“The gentle C-section was above my expectations,” Atkinson said, adding, “Everyone worked together in a timely manner. It was amazing.”

River Hance was in the operating room with his partner for her delivery. He was able to cut the umbilical cord for his son and have skin-to-skin contact with the baby shortly after birth, too.

“I was able to see everything,” Hance said, describing the experience as one that “blew me away”.

Angela Watkins, obstetrics director at TCMH, explained that the delivering physicians at TCMH were “very supportive” of adopting the gentle C-section whenever possible for surgical deliveries at TCMH.

“In cases where the C-section is planned and there are no medical emergencies requiring a quick surgical delivery, we have the tools and team to provide the family-centered C-section experience,” Watkins said.

Watkins noted that the immediate skin-to-skin contact in the operating room helps regulate the baby’s temperature after a surgical delivery. Breastfeeding shortly after birth also increases the likelihood of breastfeeding success after the mother and child are discharged from the hospital.

The number of births by Ceasarean section fall below the national average at TCMH, but, according to Watkins, TCMH wanted those births to be just as centered on the family experience as a traditional birth.

“Many women have found a C-section to be disappointing because they can’t see the birth, they don’t see the baby for a long time after giving birth, they can’t hold the baby after birth, and they may not even remember the birth,” Watkins said.

Originating in Europe, the gentle C-section has been adopted by some large women’s hospitals in the US in the past couple of years.

“At TCMH we pride ourselves in providing excellent one-on-one patient-centered obstetrical care,” Watkins said. “We got some clear, surgical drapes, and I worked with our surgery and labor and delivery teams to set up the protocols to do gentle C-sections whenever possible.”

Watkins complimented the surgery and obstetrics teams for working together for an “amazing” first gentle C-section.

“The gentle C-section is a new approach to a surgical procedure that hasn’t been changed in many years,” Watkins said. “It is a new way to provide a better patient experience, which is always important to TCMH.”

For additional information about the gentle C-section or other delivery options at TCMH contact Watkins at (417) 967-1260.

Local Healthcare Services Now Approved for Area Veterans

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Area veterans that have this card may call the VA to receive authorization to receive medical care through TCMH.

Area veterans that have this card may call the VA to receive authorization to receive medical care through TCMH.

Texas County Memorial Hospital services, doctors and mid-level providers have been approved as a “Veterans Choice Provider” giving some area veterans the opportunity to receive local healthcare rather than travel to Veteran’s Administration facility.

Due to wait times for veterans to receive healthcare services and accessibility to those services, the “Veteran’s Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014” established the “Veterans Choice Program” with the goal of improving access to healthcare services for the nation’s veterans.

Veterans that are eligible for the Veterans Choice service can contact the Department of Veterans Affairs to request authorization to see a TCMH doctor or mid-level provider or to utilize a TCMH service such a laboratory, radiology, physical therapy or surgery. Veterans Choice will authorize a referral to the healthcare provider and provide an authorization number so the charges are billed to the insurance provider and not to the veteran.

“This is a great opportunity for TCMH to be able to provide care for area veterans that are part of the Veterans Choice program,” Wes Murray, chief executive officer at TCMH, said.

Murray explained that TCMH joined the Veterans Choice program after a local veteran contacted TCMH because he preferred local healthcare services rather than traveling to a VA healthcare facility.

“It is definitely not convenient for our area veterans to have to drive a long distance to get services that can be provided quickly and conveniently at the local hospital or clinic,” Murray said.

Eligible veterans must call the VA at 1-866-606-8198 and provide information from their Veterans Choice Card to request authorization to receive a service at TCMH or from a TCMH provider.

“Any veteran that’s interested in seeing a local healthcare provider or using TCMH for a service just needs to get the authorization from the VA, and we will gladly take care of him or her,” Murray said.

For additional information about TCMH services, contact Joleen Senter Durham, director of public relations at (417) 967-1258 or

Physical Fitness Is a Great Benefit for Moms and Babies

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Tracey Arwood with a patient at the TCMH Medical Complex.

Tracey Arwood with a patient at the TCMH Medical Complex.

Tracey Arwood, certified nurse midwife at Texas County Memorial Hospital, believes in the importance of physical fitness for pregnant women. In addition to her Master’s degree in nursing and midwifery, Arwood has had three babies herself, giving her firsthand knowledge and experience with pregnancy and health.

“When there are no medical or obstetric complications, pregnant women should exercise 30 minutes a day on most or all days of the week,” Arwood said, citing guidelines recommended by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Arwood also recommends talking with your healthcare provider if you have medical conditions that might cause complications with exercise during pregnancy.

“Exercise during pregnancy has many benefits,” Arwood said. “You can maintain or even improve your fitness level, prevent excessive weight gain, prevent or reduce lower back pain, reduce the risk of developing gestational diabetes or preeclampsia and decrease the risk of delivery by cesarean.”

Most types of exercise and recreational activities are safe during pregnancy. Suggested activities include walking, aerobic dance, yoga, Pilates, swimming, cycling and light weight training. Aquatic exercise can improve swelling pressure on joints, balance and body temperature.

Arwood cautions that activities with an increased risk of falling such as gymnastics, horseback riding and skiing or activities with an increase risk of abdominal trauma such as hockey, soccer and basketball should be avoided. Straining while exercising which might be done during heavy weight lifting or decreasing oxygen intake while scuba diving or high altitude hiking or skiing should also be avoided.

“Exercise during pregnancy will not cause any adverse pregnancy outcome and does not lead to preterm labor for women with an already healthy pregnancy,” Arwood said, explaining that babies will tolerate exercise during any month of pregnancy.

Arwood noted that women exercising during pregnancy need to be aware of changes to joints and the body during pregnancy.

“Abdominal growth will change a woman’s balance which can increase the likelihood of a fall,” Arwood said. “It’s also important to stay hydrated and cool during prenatal exercise.”

Women that are beginning exercise during pregnancy should start with 15 minutes of low-intensity exercise, three times a week, and increase intensity, frequency and duration over time.

Women that exercise regularly prior to pregnancy should try to maintain physical fitness without strenuous training for competitions.

“Vigorous exercise during pregnancy is not generally recommended,” Arwood said. “You should be able to carry on a normal conversation while exercising.”

Proper hydration is “essential” during exercise. Arwood also recommends eating protein and healthy carbohydrates such as peanuts or yogurt if exercising for 45 minutes or more. Excessive heat, saunas and hot tubs should be avoided during pregnancy.

“Call your healthcare provider if you experience any bleeding or leaking of amniotic fluid while exercising,” Arwood said. Other possible conditions to watch for include lightheadedness, difficulty in breathing, calf pain or swelling, muscle weakness, uterine contractions or decreased fetal movement.

Exercise during pregnancy and continued after giving birth can help with weight loss and reduce future obesity-related risks such as diabetes and hypertension.

“Postpartum exercise can help relieve stress and may alleviate symptoms of postpartum depression,” Arwood said, adding, “Immediately after giving birth, women may need to rest, heal, and adjust to a new baby, returning to an exercise routine slowly, as your body allows.”

According to Arwood, most women return to their pre-pregnancy state around six weeks after having their baby as long as there were no complications during delivery or a delivery by cesarean-section.

Arwood also noted that exercise will not affect breast milk or infant acceptance of breast milk.

“Women that are exercising and breastfeeding should increase their fluid and nutritional intake so milk production does not decrease,” Arwood said.

Strenuous exercise while breastfeeding can increase lactic acid in breast milk which an infant might reject.

“I have found that pregnancy is an ideal time for positive lifestyle changes for many women,” Arwood said. “Increasing physical activity and eating a healthy diet are an excellent way to benefit your baby and yourself.”

Wilkins Named as May Employee of the Month

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Texas County Memorial Hospital has named Stephen Wilkins of Summersville the June employee of the month.

Wilkins is an emergency medical technician in the emergency medical services department at TCMH where he’s worked since December 2013. Wilkins was nominated for the award by Bill Bridges, EMS director at TCMH.

“Stephen steps up and performs any task asked of him,” Bridges said, adding, “He never complains and always has a smile on his face.”

Bridges noted that Wilkins has taken over scheduling for the TCMH Medivan, driving many patients himself. Wilkins also teaches courses for area firefighters which has built relationships between TCMH and area fire departments.

“Stephen is an excellent representative of TCMH,” Bridges said.

As employee of the month, Wilkins received a certificate honoring his 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 Wilkins.

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

Stephen Wilkins (right), Texas County Memorial Hospital June employee of the month, with his supervisor, Bill Bridges.

Stephen Wilkins (right), Texas County Memorial Hospital June employee of the month, with his supervisor, Bill Bridges.

Five Simple Ways to Improve Your Overall Health

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ellen willisEllen Willis, physical therapist at Texas County Memorial Hospital, has treated and counseled hundreds of patients in her 14 years working in the physical therapy department at TCMH.

“There are a few key things that everyone can do to help prevent injuries and to actually improve your health,” Willis said.

1) Drink more water.

“The human body is 60 percent water, so even mild dehydration can lead to fatigue and reduced energy,” Willis said.

She recommends that men consume an average of 13 cups of fluid daily and women consume nine cups, increasing intake if you are sweating.

“Try to avoid sugar and caffeine which cause you to actually deplete water in your body,” Willis said.

Willis explained that water is needed for the health of muscles.

“Cramping and Charlie horses are much worse when you don’t consume enough water,” she said.

2) Improve flexibility.

“Spend five to 10 minutes a day stretching,” Willis said, adding that yoga or modified yoga for specific conditions is also a form of stretching.

Stretching improves muscle length and can improve activities of daily living by improving range of motion.

“Stretching decreases pain associated with aging because the joints aren’t as stiff, and it improves posture and reduces stress levels,” Willis said.

Willis noted that stretching could be done every day or at least four times a week and should not be painful.

3) Practice good posture.

Willis talks about the importance of good posture with every new employee at TCMH, and she explained that posture is the number one thing modified with physical therapy treatment.

“Proper posture minimizes stress on the spine, and helps the muscles work more appropriately,” Willis said.

Proper posture is—ears over shoulders, shoulders over hips. Proper posture can reduce neck pain, headaches and lower back pain. It can also improve shoulder function.

4) Get 150 minutes of cardiovascular exercise weekly.

The American Heart Association has new guidelines recommending 150 minutes of moderate exercise weekly or 30 minutes a day, five days a week.

“Find something you can do to move your body—clean house, mow the lawn, take a walk,” Willis said, noting that it can be done in two 15 minute sessions daily or three 10 minute sessions.

“Do an activity that will burn a few calories, and it will also improve your heart health and lower your weight,” Willis said.

5) Get a good night’s sleep.

“Sleep is vital to overall health,” Willis said, citing increased energy levels, reduced stress and depression, improved memory.

Children ages six to 13 should get nine to 11 hours nightly. Ages 14 to 17 should get eight to 10 hours nightly. Eighteen to 64 year olds should get seven to nine hours nightly. Those over 65 years of age should get seven to eight hours of sleep daily.

“The right amount of sleep will make you feel better, and it will reduce inflammation in your body in general,” Willis said.

Willis and her team at the TCMH physical therapy department are willing to work with anybody that needs help getting on the right track with their physical health.

“Speak with your healthcare provider about whether or not physical therapy would be a benefit to you, or give us a call or stop by our department in the hospital,” Willis said.

The TCMH Physical therapy department is located inside the hospital or can be called at (417) 967-1201.

Sport Physicals Offered for Mountain Grove Area Athletes

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The Texas County Memorial Hospital Mountain Grove Clinic is sponsoring sport physicals for Mountain Grove area high school and middle school athletes at the TCMH Mountain Grove Clinic on Wed., July 15 from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Ray Bruno and Terry Bruno, TCMH family nurse practitioners, will perform the sport physicals.

The TCMH Mountain Grove Clinic is located at 1905 West 19th Street.

There is a $5 charge for the physicals. No appointment is necessary. Athletes need to bring the MSHSAA form signed by a parent or guardian to the physicals. These forms are available through athletic coaches, and copies of the form are also available at the clinic.

For more information, contact Megan Mitchell at the clinic, (417) 926-1770.

Healthcare Foundation’s Efforts Have Aided Hospital Over Past Decade

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The Texas County Memorial Hospital Healthcare Foundation has contributed $21.1 million through loans, grants and donations to the hospital’s bottom line and infrastructure over the past 10 years board members heard at their monthly meeting on Tuesday.

Coming off the heels of an annual golf tournament that raised over $17,000 for the Healthcare Foundation, Wes Murray, chief executive officer at TCMH, provided a full picture of efforts by the Healthcare Foundation since the charitable arm of the hospital was revitalized in the fall of 2005.

“We have received almost $2.4 million in grants and $2.8 million in donations over the past 10 years,” Murray said. “When you combine that with the additional funds the hospital has received in zero or low-interest loans, it’s a very large number for a hospital of our size.”

The Healthcare Foundation revitalized its fundraising efforts in 2005 with Jay Gentry as the director of the organization. A volunteer board of area community members oversees the TCMH Healthcare Foundation.

Annually, the TCMH Healthcare Foundation holds a golf tournament and a chili cook off. The golf tournament funds benefit healthcare scholarships for area students, and the chili cook off funds benefit TCMH Hospice of Care. The Healthcare Foundation also spearheaded “Care for Your Future”, a $3.2 million capital campaign to raise funds for a new tornado safe room and a new surgery department at TCMH.

The Healthcare Foundation also regularly receives funds from grateful patients and their family members and memorial donations. Endowed scholarship funds are also under the Healthcare Foundation’s umbrella.

“A lot of the funds we’ve raised have come through our own internal vendors,” Murray said. “The Healthcare Foundation also benefits from our hospital staff and the volunteers that care about the Foundation’s vision and mission.”

Murray also reported to board members that the final items related to the construction efforts are nearly complete. TCMH continues to work internally on the completion of the surgery department.

“We have opened the tornado safe room four times for severe weather,” Murray said, adding, “Our drills are also going well.”

Murray noted that with the addition of the tornado safe room hospital staff, patients and visitors now “have a place to go” during severe weather, and the drills have helped staff learn what to do when the safe room is opened.

“We have learned new things during every drill, and we are grateful for this space to use during severe weather,” Murray said.

The 9-1-1 office that is currently located on the TCMH campus is planning to move to the “old jailhouse” on July 22.

“Much like our emergency department move, the 9-1-1 office will need to be open in both places for a time to allow for a seamless transition between both spaces,” Murray said, noting that TCMH would work with 9-1-1 in the process of the move.

Deborah Belt-Kell, marriage and family therapist at TCMH, retired on May 28th. Belt-Kell saw patients at the TCMH Office Annex.

Diane Beers, a licensed therapist, will move into the space vacated by Belt-Kell and begin practicing on September 1. Beers will move to the Ozarks from Minnesota, and she is contracting with TCMH to utilize the space for her private practice.

“Diane is going to rent space from us and offer therapy services in the area,” Murray said. “Professional counseling is a much needed resource for us and a great service to offer locally.”

Diane Beers is the mother of Dr. Jonathan Beers, chief of the medical staff at TCMH.

Murray reported that the contracted physician staffing for the TCMH emergency department is “going well”. In addition to the hospital’s employed emergency department physicians, Emergency Medical Care, LLC (EMC), a staffing company from St. Louis is helping to place physicians in the TCMH emergency department.

“EMC is working to find physicians that will work in our ER on a full-time basis,” Murray said. “Staffing the ER is going very well with EMC.”

On June 12, TCMH has submitted to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services an application for 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.

The state deadline for the first round of STEMI applications was June 22.

TCMH received their designation as a Level III Stroke Center from DHSS in March.

Linda Pamperien, TCMH chief financial officer, presented the financial reports for April and May 2015, both showing drops in revenues. April had a negative bottom line of $198,027.37, and May had a negative bottom line of $75,495.16. TCMH is $870,614.20 in the red for 2015.

“It’s not as bad as it appears,” Pamperien said, noting that TCMH has $200,000 monthly in depreciation expense due to new construction at the facility.

In April and May, TCMH had $972,956.97 in bad debt, most of which was related to emergency department services that were provided but not paid for.

Present at the meeting were Murray; Pamperien; Dr. Jonathan Beers; Doretta Todd-Willis, chief nursing officer; Joleen Senter Durham, public relations director, and board members, Dr. Jim Perry, OD; Janet Wiseman and Mark Hampton.

Board members Omanez Fockler and Russell Gaither, were not present at the meeting.

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

Holly Atterberry Begins Clinical Practice at TCMH

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Holly Atterberry always aspired to be a caregiver to others. Her new position as a family nurse practitioner at the Texas County Memorial Hospital Medical Complex in Houston is a natural progression from her dreams as young girl.

Atterberry, a native of Texas County, credits the nurses in her family and her grandmother—Nanny—with exposing her to the caregiver profession.

Holly Atterberry, FNP

Holly Atterberry, FNP

“At the age of 11 or 12, I would go with Nanny to her job at the nursing home,” Atterberry said. “I have great memories of hanging out with cool, older people while Nanny worked all day.”

Atterberry recalls family members being cared for in the homes of family members, too. “I always knew there was a need for special care and attention for older people,” she said.

Growing up, Atterberry viewed healthcare as a “stable profession”. Thanks to life experience, she also believed she knew what she was getting involved in.

“Healthcare was just what I wanted to do,” Atterberry said. She also knew that she did not want to leave the area to pursue her career goals.

After graduating from Houston High School, Atterberry began working as an aide at Texas County Memorial Hospital and pursuing an associate’s degree in nursing at Missouri State University, West Plains campus.

Upon obtaining her licensure as a registered nurse, Atterberry continued to pursue her nursing training with a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Missouri State University in Springfield. She followed that degree with a Master’s degree in nursing from Maryville University in St. Louis.

Atterberry’s long term plans were to be a nurse practitioner in her hometown.

“I have cared for patients in many different situations,” Atterberry said, citing her time working in the medical surgical, intensive care and emergency departments at TCMH.

She added, “I knew that as a nurse practitioner I would have the opportunity to hopefully care for patients when they were healthy. I could try to keep them healthy.”

Atterberry also knows the need for healthcare providers in rural America. She’s looking forward to providing care for area residents that she’s known for years and to meeting new areas residents and becoming their healthcare provider.

“I’ve always enjoyed getting to know my patients,” Atterberry said. “And I hope to be someone that people will be able come see for a long time.”

At the TCMH Medical Complex in Houston Atterberry is collaborating primarily with Dr. Jonathan Beers, internal medicine physician. Atterberry has worked with Beers as a nurse in the hospital, and she believes that her interests and his practice mesh well.

“I like chronic diseases in general, and taking care of sweet 80-year olds,” Atterberry said. “I did the majority of my clinical with Dr. Beers, so I know his practice style well.”

As a family nurse practitioner, Atterberry sees patients of all ages, and she will grow her own patient base at the TCMH clinic. When Atterberry’s patients require hospitalization, most patients will be admitted under Beers’ care.

Atterberry sees scheduled patients at the TCMH Medical Complex in Houston on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays. She sees patients in the TCMH Walk In Clinic in the same location on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

For the past few years Atterberry has spent a lot of time working and going to school. Now that she’s out of school, she and her husband, Aaron, are anticipating the arrival of baby in December.

Together, they own Evening Shade Family Market in Evening Shade, where Holly can occasionally be found helping Aaron in the store. They also own beef cattle on their farm in Northwest Texas County.

“I love country activities—working on the farm, going to the river, fishing,” Atterberry said.

Wes Murray, chief executive officer at TCMH, is pleased that Atterberry has joined the TCMH clinic healthcare provider team.

“We’ve had the opportunity to employ Holly for many years,” Murray said. “She has always been a solid employee, providing excellent care for our patients.”

Murray considers Atterberry’s story to be a “great success” for Texas County.

“Our community is very fortunate that Holly chose to pursue additional healthcare education and stay in the area to provide care for her fellow Texas County residents,” Murray said, noting that Atterberry’s career path is “not typical in rural America”.

“Holly already knows many people in the area, and she’s provided care for many area patients as a hospital nurse,” Murray said. “With her personality and bedside manner, Holly will grow a very busy clinic-based practice at TCMH.”

To make an appointment with Atterberry, contact the TCMH Medical Complex at (417) 967-5435.

Four-Wheeler Donation to Benefit Hospice of Care

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The Texas County Memorial Hospital Healthcare Foundation has received a Polaris Sportsman ETX all-terrain vehicle to raffle for the Hospice of Care fund which benefits area Hospice of Care patients.

The ATV will be awarded to a winner on November 7th at 3 p.m. at the TCMH Healthcare Foundation’s annual Chili Cook Off which also benefits Hospice of Care.

“We always have a large item with raffle tickets for our chili cook off teams to use to raise funds for their team, and this year we partnered with Mega Motorsports in West Plains for the four-wheeler,” Jay Gentry, Healthcare Foundation director, said.

The ATV has a $6,000 value, and Mega Motorsports’ donation covered much of the four-wheeler’s cost. Tickets are raffled for $10 each or $50 for six tickets.

The ATV features electronic fuel injection with a 30 horsepower engine. The four-wheel drive engages automatically when the rear wheels slip. The machine has a steel rack on the rear and integrated front storage.

“We have not raffled an ATV for any of the previous Chili Cook Off events, so we thought it might be something of interest this year,” Jay Gentry, TCMH Healthcare Foundation director, said.

Gentry explained that the ATV is currently parked at TCMH if anyone wants to see it.

The TCMH Healthcare Foundation and Hospice of Care have a fundraising goal of $45,000 for the 2015 Chili Cook Off, and proceeds from the raffle ticket sales will go toward overall fundraising for the event.

Funds from the Healthcare Foundation’s Hospice Fund and the annual Chili Cook Off are utilized to provide end of life care for patients and their families regardless of a patient’s ability to pay for the service.

“Our hospice funds are used locally to benefit the patients we serve within a 40-mile radius of TCMH,” Courtney Owens, TCMH Hospice of Care director, said.

In the past year, funds raised through the Chili Cook Off were used to pay for hospice services for two patients that did not have any insurance. Funds were also used to purchase materials used for bereavement services through Hospice of Care.

“The funds raised for Hospice of Care by the Chili Cook Off help us meet needs of area patients and family members that we might not be able to help otherwise,” Owens said.

Raffle tickets for the ATV are available through the Hospice of Care office located in the TCMH Office Annex, the front registration desk at TCMH, the Auxiliary Gift Shop and any of the 15 teams that are participating in this year’s cook off.

Space is still available for additional cook off teams, according to Owens.

For additional information about raffle tickets or a 2015 Chili Cook Off, contact Hospice of Care at (417) 967-1279 or 1-866-967-3311 ext. 1279.

Jay Gentry (left), TCMH Healthcare Foundation director, with Mega Motorsports staff, Vanessa Robins, Chris Hunsucker and Luke Stokes and the ATV that will be raffled at the 2015 Chili Cook Off to benefit Hospice of Care.

Jay Gentry (left), TCMH Healthcare Foundation director, with Mega Motorsports staff, Vanessa Robins, Chris Hunsucker and Luke Stokes and the ATV that will be raffled at the 2015 Chili Cook Off to benefit Hospice of Care.

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