Henry County Medical Center Board of Trustees Discusses Medical Residency Program

CUTLINE – Pictured is Neely Ashby, Chief Nursing Officer, as she presented the quality report for the organization at the HCMC Board of Trustees meeting Thursday night in Classrooms 2 & 3.

Paris, TN – Henry County Medical Center Board of Trustees began their meeting Thursday night with a special presentation via Zoom by Amanda Finley, DO, Hospitalist and Medical Student Director as well as Jeffrey Leboe with Lincoln Memorial University to discuss the residency program.

“Our goal tonight is to discuss if we would like to move forward with this program,” said Lisa Casteel HCMC CEO.

“The support of this organization to move forward during this difficult time is huge and needs to be applauded,” said Dr. Finley.  “It is amazing how much we have accomplished over the last two years with the addition of physicians like Dr. Carruth and Dr. Gibson and the building of the Cardiac Cath Lab.”

One of eight in the country to be awarded a rural residency development grant from HRSA, and one of two internal medicine programs, Dr. Finley discussed the importance of building the resource in our community and the opportunities we have to establish the program and receive accreditation.

“We have almost $750,000 to reach accreditation for our program and develop it over the next three years,” said Dr. Finley.

Currently we have third and fourth year medical students doing clinicals in our hospital.  They haven’t decided yet what specialty they want to pursue, but at the end, they will decide and we hope by 2023 we can offer the internal medicine specialty so they continue on with us if they decide.

“It is an incredible opportunity to be a sponsoring institution because it can change the medical care in our community and region,” said Dr. Finley.

Dr. Finley discussed the business pro forma for 10 years and what will be required to be able to meet the needs of the grant and the program.  We currently have the staff needed to meet the needs of this program.  With this, the grant and Medicare reimbursement, the cost for the sponsoring organization will be around a $23,000 subsidy for the first year, with the program self –sustaining the following years.

“Second and third year residents are licensed physicians, which will provide reimbursement to the organization,” said Leboe.  “There will be quite a bit of savings to the organization and increased patient care and satisfaction.”

The Board of Trustees voted to accept the HRSA grant for the residency program and move forward in support of being the sponsoring organization.

In her administrative comments, Casteel discussed the grant report.  HCHC received some additional money, making the total grants received by the organization at $14.5 million.  Additionally, we still have the $11.4 million in advanced Medicare/Medicaid payments that will need to be paid back, but has been extended until next year.  Casteel reported on new information about the HHS grants, the largest part of the funds we have received.  We were told initially these funds should be applied to lost revenues, but we are now being told this is not the case.  The new rules are being reviewed by our auditors to determine how this will impact our organization’s financial statements, with a report forthcoming.

Today in our community, the COVID-19 patient threshold has dropped from 7.6 to 5.6 over the last 14 days.  Many communities are seeing a downward trend in COVID-19 patients.

Last week we had a general surgeon visit and we have offered a choice of employment or the opportunity to join Paris Surgical Specialists.  We will also pursue recruitment of a gastroenterologist.

Service Awards were held yesterday with a Facebook Live and video premiere presentation.  Eighty eight partners were recognized with 1,075 years of service, with 35 and 40 year employees recognized as well.

HCMC has hired a new Chief Financial Officer, Brad Bloemer.  He recently served as CFO at Murray-Calloway County Hospital as well as a hospital in Arkansas.  He will be joining us in November.

Financially, Casteel highlighted several items on the report.  Surgeries are currently up by 6% from last year.  This will change next month with the retirement of a general surgeon, but we hope to have a new surgeon in place soon to help impact that change.  Overall, the financials look good with a consolidated $883,692 for the month.  With a higher severity case mix index and reduction of expenses, HCMC is seeing an improved bottom line this year.  We implemented a $4 million turnaround in our budget and the management staff should be commended for their hard work.  Our organization is building cash, but we are using it on major equipment purchases, so we will slow the purchasing of capital expenditures.  Looking at our selected service lines report, every one of them has improved financially over last year.

Bad debts continue to be high with this month at $775,231.95.  Additionally, a few capital equipment requests were approved at $9,467.

Shon Johnson brought forward unfinished business about the sale of property on Tyson Avenue, with some clarifying language to allow for closing of the property

Billie McKee, Chief Human Resources Officer, reviewed the risk management report for the organization.   There have been no sentinel events at HCMC this past year.  Currently, there are six trial cases from 2016 that are in process.  Additionally, two recent filings against the hospital are in the discovery phase.  Insurance renewals were also discussed.

Kreg Kyle was re-recognized for his appointed term along with a re-appointment of James Travis.  This will be brought back to the Henry County Commission for approval at their next meeting.

The November board meeting will be moved to Monday, November 23 due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

Neely Ashby, Chief Nursing Officer, provided the quality report to the board.  Our current Star Rating is a Three Star Rating, and we continue our good quality scores.  Our Value Based Purchasing HCAHPS scores, our ratings by patients and families, are lower than previous scores, but we have developed action plans to work on these.

“With no visitation during this time period, it was hard to receive high scores on discharge planning and care transitions,” said Ashby.  “So beginning Sept. 1, we have started two new programs to help with these issues, Ask Me 3 and the Discharge Preparation Checklist.”

Ask Me 3 is basically three questions that staff are encouraging patients to ask every time someone caring for them comes in the room.  These questions are hanging on the walls of patient rooms as reminders for the patients and their families.  Also, case management is making phone calls to patients after discharge ensure they have everything they need at home to continue to heal.  Additionally, we are providing a discharge preparation checklist for patients to review and complete before they are discharged from the hospital.

Ashby also reviewed the patient safety outcomes, which are outstanding year-to-date.  Our hospital readmission payment adjustment program for Medicare is now 0.07%, which is a significant improvement from prior years and means we will receive more of the Medicare reimbursement for care.  Our hospital value-based purchasing program outperformed both state and national rates, which translates into a higher payment rate to our organization by CMS.  Our psychiatric quality outcomes have significantly improved as well.

“Our front line staff has done an excellent job during very difficult times,” said Ashby.

Nursing will see seven new RNs and five care technicians in the next month joining the organization to assist with our nursing shortages and issues.

Last item discussed was the financial statements for the fiscal year from the HCMC Volunteer Auxiliary.

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 October 22 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.