New construction projects and new physicians for TCMH in 2024

The Texas County Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees heard updates on construction projects and plans for new physicians arriving in 2024 at their monthly meeting, which was held on Jan. 2 due to the holidays. 
The first construction project for completion in 2024 will be the surgery center, which includes two operating rooms, an endoscopy suite, and pre-surgical preparation and post-surgery recovery areas. 
“The new Surgery Center will significantly enhance the delivery of basic health services to the rural area,” Stace Holland, TCMH chief executive officer, said. “The community deserves the best care, the latest technology, and an updated facility for their wellbeing. The center will cater to a multitude of patients, including new mothers who require medical procedures during childbirth and patients who need any of the 1,400-plus surgical procedures offered annually at TCMH.”
Last year, TCMH hired an additional full-time general surgeon, John Harrington, MD, to work alongside general and vascular surgeon Hollis Tidmore, MD. Together, they provide a full range of general surgery services, focusing on abdominal surgery such as colon, bowel, stomach, pancreas, liver, and esophagus procedures. They both perform open and laparoscopic abdominal surgery, as well as hernia repair and breast surgery. Tidmore specializes in peripheral vascular surgery, which includes everything except the aorta in the chest and the heart. 
TCMH plans to host an open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new surgical center in February. The event will be open to the public, and hospital staff will provide tours of the surgical center. 
Holland also reported that the renovation of the former Sturgeon Chevrolet 8,400-square-foot building for the new TCMH Licking Family Clinic and ambulance base is still on schedule for completion in June.
According to Holland, the TCMH Licking Family Clinic and ambulance base is designed to accommodate two physicians and a mid-level provider.  The front portion of the building will include a procedure room, waiting room/intake area, restroom facilities, and an employee break room.  The clinic will have x-ray services and a full-range of laboratory diagnostic services available for the patients. The ambulance base portion of the clinic will have a garage for an ambulance, sleep rooms, a full bathroom, and a kitchen to accommodate the emergency medical services staff working at the base. 
“We are excited about the new clinic and its positive impact on the people of Licking and Texas County for generations to come,” Holland said. 
In August, two new family medicine and obstetrics physicians will join TCMH.
Kristina Grant, DO, and Amanda Lemp, DO, have signed contracts to work full-time at TCMH after completing their residency programs.  Grant and Lemp are trained to see patients of all ages – from birth to the end of life.  They will also provide full-spectrum obstetric care.  
“Dr. Grant and Dr. Lemp are the type of physicians that would have been welcome at any hospital and community in the nation,” Holland said. “Their recruitment is a blessing for our communities.”
Courtney Owens, TCMH chief nursing officer, reported that a team from Mercy Springfield conducted an educational burn in-service in our emergency room on Dec. 1. The training session aimed to provide education on the comprehensive care and treatment of burn injuries.  The session was attended by several emergency room staff members and registered nurse students from Texas County Technical Center. 
"We are extremely thankful to Mercy for offering training to our staff," Owens expressed. "The timing of the training was ideal as on the same day; two men were transferred to TCMH with severe burns from a house explosion. Owens noted that the staff receiving the burn education were working when the patients from the house explosion arrived. “Both men were able to receive exceptional care and survived the accident,” Owens said. 
Linda Pamperien, TCMH chief financial officer, presented the TCMH capital and operating budgets for 2024. The capital budget is $920,727, slightly less than capital budgets in previous years.  Larger ticket items and a contingency fund of $70,000 comprise 64 percent of the total capital budget. 
According to Pamperien, a new occupational therapy room will be established in the hospital's East Wing this year at an estimated cost of $25,000. The primary objective of this room is to assist patients in performing everyday tasks such as bathing, cooking, and other activities. The space will be furnished much like a small apartment to ensure patients are well-prepared to handle these activities once they return home.
"We have a dedicated occupational therapist available full-time in our rehabilitation department. This therapist will aid our swing bed patients in transitioning back to their homes,” Pamperien said. “We strongly believe that this new room will be a valuable asset in helping our patients adjust to life at home after they are discharged from the hospital.”
The 2024 capital budget also includes new surgery and anesthesia equipment, totaling $93,603, and includes a 10-millimeter 30-degree endoscope at $23,603, supply racks and shelving for $10,000, and vital sign monitors totaling $60,000.
Several other significant expenses in the capital budget include two beds for the medical-surgical department, totaling $17,704; two stretchers for the emergency department, with a cost of $18,539; $19,046 for an infant warmer for the obstetrics department, and $91,000 for 45 computer replacements, scale node, and licensing. The hospital’s expense portion of the new Licking Family Clinic is budgeted for $250,000 in funds for new equipment and assets, including an X-ray machine.  
The 2024 TCMH operating budget projects a 10.7 percent increase in inpatient revenue, a 6.4 percent increase in outpatient revenue, and a 2.2 percent increase in emergency department revenue. 
Pamperien reported that in 2024, TCMH anticipates additional expenses for half a year of onboarding for Doctors Grant and Lemp and a full year for Doctors Harrington and William Errico, DO. The operating budget shows a 6.4 percent increase in operating expenses that includes a three percent merit increase and an additional partial-year depreciation expense of $273,000 for the new surgery center and new Licking clinic.
“We are aggressively being conservative on our capital and operating budgets this year and are aiming to break even in 2024,” Pamperien stated.
The 2024 capital and operating budgets were approved contingent on Forvis, LLP of Springfield, MO, providing clarifications regarding capital contributions for a non-profit county hospital at the January 23 meeting. 
Pamperien presented the financial report for November. The overall revenues for the month were up $725,040, a 9.2 percent increase. Inpatient revenue was up $251,539, and outpatient revenue was up $471,590 from budgeted expectations for the month. 
The hospital's profit/loss report showed a positive bottom line for November, with a gain of $141,910 and a year-to-date loss of $2,087,135. The earnings before interest, depreciation, and amortization (EBIDA) for the respective month were positive at $366,097, and the year-to-date EBIDA was positive at $454,870.
Present at the meeting were Holland; Owens; Pamperien; Helania Wulff, public relations, marketing, and physician recruiting director; April Crites, quality and risk management director; Wes Murray, and board members Jim Perry, OD; Steve Pierce; Joleen Durham; Allan Branstetter, and Ross Richardson. 
The next meeting of the TCMH board of trustees is Tuesday, Jan. 23, at 12:00 p.m. in the hospital board room. 
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