Jay Loveland of Mountain Grove was sworn in as a member of the Texas County Memorial Hospital board of trustees at their monthly meeting on Tuesday.
Loveland was appointed to the hospital board by the Texas County Commission in February following the resignation of hospital board member, Russell Gaither, of Houston. Loveland will fulfill the remainder of Gaither’s term.
Wes Murray, TCMH chief executive officer, welcomed Loveland.
“We are pleased to have you on the board and bringing representation from the Southern portion of Texas County to the board,” Murray said.
During lunch, before the board meeting was called to order, four hospital employees spoke with board members about Safe Training and Responsible Restraints (STARR), the workplace violence reduction training program that is underway at TCMH.
The four employees–Brandon Swindle, Angel Watkins, Shanda Melton and Frank Steelman–were in the group of employees that participated in the first round of STARR training at TCMH.
The two-day training program began with classroom training on verbal conflict resolution and de-escalation tactics, and the remainder of the class was hands on training in physical techniques designed to provide tools for escape from and control of people who are physically out of control.
“The training provided us with an invaluable set of tools for healthcare or in life,” Swindle, an employee in the TCMH dietary department, said.
Melton, Watkins, and Steelman work in departments providing hands on patient care every day, and Steelman noted that in his job as a paramedic at TCMH has “been in situations like this”.
“The training was very interesting, and I have strong opinions about this type of training,” Steelman said. “I definitely have some better tools to use going forward.”
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has created regulations for healthcare facilities to achieve a higher level of safety for patients, visitors, physicians, and staff. TCMH plans to comply with the new regulations.
The Missouri Hospital Association (MHA) chose TCMH to participate in the STARR program along with other hospitals in the state. Mitigation Dynamics in Lee’s Summit, MO is working with the MHA to train employees and to help participating hospitals put policies and procedures in place in their hospital.
Melton, a nurse in the TCMH medical surgical department, described the training as “empowering”.
“I would never have thought I could put my hands on someone to take control in a violent situation, but I have learned what to do,” Melton said.
Melton described a personal situation where she was verbally abused by a patient’s family member.
“The instructors were very motivating and positive, and now I know what do in situations like I’ve faced in the past,” Melton said.
Watkins, the obstetrics department nurse manager, described the STARR training as “challenging”. “I wish I had this skill set 5 to 10 years ago,” Watkins said.
STARR training includes 16 hours of manual, classroom instruction, training repetition, proficiency testing, report writing, policy review and scenario-based drills. Upon successful completion of the STARR training, the hospital staff received STARR certification.
In addition to STARR certification for 50 employees from a variety of hospital departments, TCMH has access to an “implementation toolbox” that will come with an Activation and Response Flow map, a certification card template, a financial proposal template and a Microsoft Access program. The Access program can store end-user data and incident reporting data. The program can track and generate workplace violence incident reports, track employee certification and generate reports about end-user in incident, physical restraint by technique, and more.
Murray called the STARR training “very beneficial” citing the safety aspect of the training for TCMH employees and the financial aspect for the hospital of losing employees that could be injured on the job or forced to leave a job they had trained for if they didn’t handle the violence appropriately.
In new business, board members unanimously approved a resolution regarding legislative strategies and proposals to release some or all of the Affordable Care Act and create new programs to replace it.
The resolution notes that Missouri hospitals have received reductions in payments and that the loss of health insurance coverage would increase the number of uninsured Missourians on top of providing over $1 billion in uncompensated care.
“Therefore, Texas County Memorial Hospital hereby goes on record to urge that if the Affordable Care Act’s expanded coverage disappears and is not replicated, hospital payment cuts must be repealed and a plan implemented to provide coverage to the uninsured,” the resolution stated.
“The Missouri Hospital Association asked us to join hospitals across the state in approving this resolution so that our federal lawmakers would know exactly where we stand on repealing or replacing some or all of the Affordable Care Act,” Murray said.
Murray noted that the US House of Representatives does not have an imminent vote on healthcare, but the resolution would be shared with federal legislators.
“Federal payments to hospitals were cut before ACA was put into place, and regardless of what happens with the ACA, federal legislators need to know that they risk the closure of hospitals in Missouri if they continue to place heavy financial burdens on our hospital,” Murray said.
Murray also presented additional information to board members that the MHA prepared and shared with federal legislators. The information shows the high number of uninsured patients in rural Missouri as well as the higher number of patients with Medicare and Medicaid coverage located in rural Missouri.
“Whatever changes there are going forward, we want our legislators to be sure they are taking rural American hospitals into consideration,” Murray said.
Linda Pamperien, chief financial officer, presented financials for the months of January and February.
Inpatient volumes were up $639,514 above budgeted expectations in January—a five week month. Increased outpatient revenue and decreased expenses and contractual adjustments left a positive monthly and year to date balance of $218,509.97.
February was a four-week month, and inpatient volumes were just up slightly above budgeted expectations. Expenses were down for the month and outpatient revenue was also down for the month. The contractual adjustment was higher in February.
TCMH ended the month of February with a negative bottom line of $120,659.38 and a year to date balance of $97,850.59.
“At the end of February we were up 72 inpatient admissions in comparison to last year, which is a very good way to start off the year,” Pamperien said.
Auditors from BKD, LLC of Springfield were on site during the month of March to provide specialized financial services and an annual audit for TCMH. The results of the annual audit will be presented at the April board meeting.
Present at the meeting were Murray; Pamperien; Doretta Todd-Willis, chief nursing officer, Amanda Turpin, quality management nurse manager; Dr. Jonathan Beers, chief of staff; Joleen Senter Durham, director of public relations, and board members, Loveland; Omanez Fockler; Janet Wiseman; Mark Hampton, and Dr. Jim Perry, OD.
The next meeting of the TCMH board of trustees is Tue., April 25th at 12 p.m. in the hospital board room.