TCMH awarded $750,000 Delta Regional Authority Grant

Texas County Memorial Hospital has received a $750,000 grant from the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) board members heard at their monthly meeting on Tuesday.  The grant will be administered over three years to provide healthcare consulting services for the hospital’s financial and operational performance.  
 
"We are thrilled to have received the Delta Regional Authority grant for consulting services to improve our healthcare system’s operations," Stace Holland, TCMH chief executive officer, said. "DRA’s track record of success in other hospitals is very promising, and we are eager to learn from their best practices and new service line ideas."
 
Holland outlined the three-year plan for improving TCMH’s healthcare system. In the first year, DRA will gather information and gain a better understanding of the hospital and its objectives. The second year will focus on implementing ideas and making necessary improvements. In the final year, DRA will monitor progress, recommend necessary adjustments, and support the hospital to achieve its targets.
 
On February 27, the DRA team will be on-site for an introduction to the hospital’s board members and department directors, providing a more comprehensive overview of their support, according to Holland.
Courtney Owens, TCMH chief nursing officer, shared that the hospital’s staff met with local Air Evac bases to identify opportunities to refine the hospital’s door-to-door time with stroke and heart attack patients.
“One area that was identified to improve our transfer times would be to ‘hot load’ our patients onto helicopters,” Owens explained. “This process involves not shutting the helicopter rotors down to save time loading patients.” 
 
Owens said Air Evac will be scheduling and conducting several training classes for our staff. These classes will focus on safely and adequately loading patients into a moving helicopter while strictly supervised. In addition, Air Evac expressed their intention to provide hearing protection and heavy jackets for our TCMH staff to ensure their safety.
 
“We are happy to partner with Air Evac to guarantee our patients receive the highest quality of care,” Owens stated.
 
Owens reported a significant rise in positive respiratory virus cases, including influenza, throughout the community. She said the flu shot is available at TCMH Hutcheson Pharmacy, which offers walk-in service in their pharmacy lobby. With this simple preventative measure, we can protect ourselves and our community from the spread of the flu.
 
"Our pharmacy provides a wide range of services to make it easy and convenient for our customers. We offer free local delivery, mail delivery, and text messaging, and we accept most insurances, including Tricare,” Owens said. “She noted that the TCMH pharmacy is the only Houston pharmacy with a drive-up window, which is convenient for patients during bad weather or if they have a small child in the car.”
TCMH Hutcheson pharmacy is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Patients can transfer their current prescriptions to TCMH by calling 417-967-4139. Additional information about the pharmacy can be found online at www.hutchesonpharmacy.org.
 
Helania Wulff, TCMH director of physician recruitment, updated the board that a physician from Illinois specializing in family medicine and obstetrics will visit the hospital next week. This physician is currently in residency and will be available to start practicing at TCMH in 2025.
 
Dr. James Rice III, a cardiologist from CoxHealth, will be returning to TCMH to see patients via a telemedicine clinic soon. In 2023, CoxHealth stopped allowing their physicians to provide satellite clinics outside of their system, so Rice could no longer continue to see his Texas County-based patients at TCMH. Rice has been a specialist physician at TCMH for over two decades.
 
"Our patients will have their first consultation with Dr. Rice in Springfield, and then their follow-up appointments could be virtually in Houston," Holland said. "The collaboration with CoxHealth would enable patients to receive medical care closer to their homes, which is always our goal for patients in Texas County."
 
April Crites, TCMH quality and risk management director, presented the 2023 house-wide year-end quality assurance and performance improvement (QAPI) and the 2024 house-wide QAPI plan to the board of trustees.  
 
“In 2023, QAPI plans were shared amongst department directors at monthly meetings,” Crites said. “This process encouraged collaboration and idea-sharing for improvements throughout our healthcare system.”
 
Crites stated that the QAPI data became more measurable in 2023. Departments are taking more actions to bring about change and provide exceptional patient service. She further explained that the QAPI plans are linked to patient satisfaction survey results.
 
Crites commended the case management department for making over 1,000 calls to discharged patients in 2023. Additionally, the emergency department attempted to follow up with over 500 patient concerns to improve patient care and satisfaction.
 
Linda Pamperien, TCMH chief financial officer, presented the financial report for December. The overall revenues for the month were up $835,336, a 10.6 percent increase. Inpatient revenue was up $127,343, and outpatient revenue was up $748,134 from budgeted expectations for the month. 
 
Pamperien reported the contractual adjustments at TCMH – the difference between the charge for care and what is paid – were much lower in December due to making appropriate allowances for accounts receivable as of December 31. 
 
The hospital's profit/loss report showed a positive bottom line for December, with a gain of $2,129,014 and a year-to-date loss of $1,709,980. The earnings before interest, depreciation, and amortization (EBIDA) for the respective month were positive at $2,355,788, and the year-to-date EBIDA was positive at $1,058,798.
 
At the meeting, David Taylor, senior manager at Forvis, LLP, an auditing firm from Springfield, MO, clarified capital contributions for a non-profit county hospital with board members.  
 
According to Taylor, the capital line on financial statements of most peer organizations similar in size to TCMH is almost zero. TCMH had a capital line of $4.3 million last year and an average of 100 days of cash on hand. These numbers indicate that the hospital has a strong financial position and a solid foundation.
 
After discussing the 2024 operating budget, the board approved the 2024 capital and operating budgets on the condition that TCMH administration and department managers collaborate to address the projected budget deficit. 
 
Pamperien stated that TCMH would receive a complete audit by Forvis, LLP, and auditors will be on-site in March.  The 2023 audit results will be presented at the April board meeting. 
 
Holland reported that Dr. Jessica King, family medicine physician, has submitted her resignation, and her last day practicing in the Medical Office Complex in Houston will be April 23. 
 
Jeff Gettys, TCMH Healthcare Foundation director, presented the Foundation’s financial update for 2023 to board members.  He reported the Healthcare Foundation had raised $102,206 in 2023 through various fundraising and giving programs. 
 
Gettys announced that Carol Honeywell has resigned from her position as a Healthcare Foundation board member.  He expressed his appreciation for her many years of service to the Healthcare Foundation. 
Present at the meeting were Holland; Owens; Wulff; Crites; Pamperien; Taylor; Gettys; Tricia Benoist, MD, chief of staff; 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, Feb. 27, at 12:00 p.m. in the hospital board room.
 
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