Henry County Medical Center Board of Trustees Approve New Equipment, Discuss Positive Year, Strategic Plan for FY2021, and COVID-19 Impacts

CUTLINE – Pictured is the equipment that was proposed and approved by the HCMC Board of Trustees last night during the board meeting.  This equipment is used in surgery and is replacing 10 to 15 year old equipment.

Paris, TN –Henry County Medical Center Board of Trustees began their meeting Thursday night with a presentation by Brooke Ulrich, Director of Surgical Services on new equipment needed for surgery.  Jason Harper, MD and Joe Mobley, III, MD, were on hand to support the leasing of the new equipment, to replace aged equipment which is at least 10 to 15 years old.

The equipment being proposed is used for gastroenterology, urology, general, and gynecology surgical procedures.  Three different proposals were reviewed along with the financial impact and return on investment the equipment will provide to the organization.  The equipment is a $1 million investment.

“It is time to replace this equipment,” said Dr. Mobley.  “It is like an old car, at some point, it is more economical to purchase or lease a new piece of equipment than continue to invest in repairs.”

“The equipment has been here since I came to HCMC,” said Dr. Harper.  “We need to move forward with this new equipment.”

Dr. Whitby, Chair of the Board of Trustees, noted that this is bread and butter equipment, and we need to move forward.  The board approved to move forward with the lease with discretion to determine the best product of the three proposals.

Lisa Casteel, CEO, discussed the Delta grant project and the strategic plan that the consultants, Stroudwater Group, provided to HCMC after reviewing both financial and quality information for the organization.  Casteel went in detail of the process and how HCMC combined their suggestions and the organization’s strategic objectives to develop a plan that also included action plan documents for each objective.

“It was a really good process that has reinforced that we are on the right track and doing the right things,” said Casteel.

Casteel went through each pillar with the board.  Under value, HCMC is working on developing three rural health clinics and a Federally Qualified Health Clinic look alike.  Also under value, HCMC has implemented the 340B Drug Program, which has already saved $40,000 to $60,000 in drug costs each week for the organization as well as re-establishing a coding and clinical documentation program.

HCMC is exploring and developing telehealth opportunities for our clinics and services under the growth objective.  HCMC has received a telehealth grant that will allow us to purchase equipment and help retain and gain market share for the organization.  Additionally, HCMC is looking at an Emergency Department Redirect Program with medical screening that allow non-emergency cases to go to a clinic located next to our ER to assist in ensuring the right care in the right setting.

Casteel also discussed the plans for people, quality, and community including management education, increased work on internal and external communications, as well as really working on our quality measures and ratings, with transparent education to the community about it.

“We always appreciate the hard work and effort put into developing this plan each year,” said Troy Buttrey, board member.

Casteel provided an interest earnings analysis and interest rate trend analysis to the board.  Variable interest rates have dropped, which is a good thing for the organization.  With no unfinished business, the board heard Casteel’s Administrative comments which included a review of the COVID-19 stimulus funds that HCMC has received.  Most recently, HCMC received a $5 million grant from HHS.  It is a Cares Act Safety Net Provider Relief Fund that HCMC was eligible for by showing COVID-19 expenses and loss of income related to COVID-19.  In total, for April, May, and June, we have recognized $9.2 million in grants related to COVID-19.  The state and the federal government are also looking at additional grants in the future that HCMC is investigating.

She also discussed the retirement notice of Dr. Ray Compton effective Oct. 1.  Paris Surgical Specialists will be working with HCMC to recruit a general surgeon as well as a possible gastroenterologist.

Financially, volumes are still down, though some areas have bounced back.  Total admissions are below budget by 14%, but Physician Practice statistics are over budget by 22% and over prior year by 12%.  Though HCMC consolidated income statement ended the year with a $500,000 profit, it was thanks to the $9.2 million in grant funding that HCMC received related to COVID-19.

Bad debts are a little high this month at $823,458.  Additionally, several capital items were approved at a total of $212,388 which include helo pad repair, water heater for the energy plant, lab equipment including COVID-19 testing equipment that will allow test results in an hour, and new office software technology as well as a bronchoscopy scope.

Casteel did discuss the uptick in COVID-19 positive patients.  Currently we have three in the hospital, with one highly suspect.  Also, 14 people are in the hospital currently waiting on test results.  Today, Henry County had 13 confirmed positives, which is the highest one day positives.  The hospital has rolled visitation back to no visitors and masking because of the uptick as well as partners testing positive.  HCMC is working with the city, county, and the Paris-Henry County Chamber of Commerce to launch a masking campaign to really educate and encourage the community to wear their masks for their protection and the protection of others as cases continue to rise.

“We really need to encourage and support the government officials and be role models for our community when we are out and about to social distance and wear our masks,” said Casteel.

“No matter what side you are on, we are all in this together and it is important for us to do our part,” said Kreg Kyle, board member.  “That seems to be getting lost in this whole thing.”

With no unfinished business, Dr. Scott Whitby, Board Chairman, opened up the floor to the board members to discuss or provide comments.

“What an outstanding year with a lot of hard work,” said Buttrey.

“With all the things going on there are still a lot of positives,” said Peggy Beasley, board member.  “It is pretty amazing.”

Dr. Whitby also acknowledged the contributions of 20 years that Dr. Compton has dedicated to the community.

“I know it was a hard decision and one he did not take lightly,” said Dr. Whitby.  “We are thankful for his dedication and care to Henry County.”

To learn more about the growth at Henry County Medical Center, go to our website at www.hcmc-tn.org and read about all the services we offer to care for our community.  The next Board of Trustees meeting will be Thursday, August 27 at 5:30 p.m. at Henry County Medical Center.

About Henry County Medical Center

Located in Paris, TN, Henry County Medical Center is a progressive, integrated healthcare organization committed to serving the healthcare needs of Henry County and the adjoining region. Including a 142-bed hospital and 7 other facilities, the medical center provides a variety of outpatient services, as well as inpatient care. Henry County Medical Center is a county-owned and operated nonprofit institution. For more information: www.hcmc-tn.org.