Henry County Medical Center Board of Trustees Hears Update on COVID-19, Positive Financials for Quarter, and an Update on Community and People Strategic Pillars

CUTLINE – Pictured is Lisa Casteel, Chief Executive Officer, as she presents to the HCMC Board of Trustees Thursday night in the HCMC Diagnostic Center/Bethel University Atrium.

Paris, TN – Lisa Casteel, Chief Executive Officer at Henry County Medical Center, shared with the Board of Trustees at Thursday night’s meeting statistics illustrating the rise in COVID-19 cases in TN and specifically in Henry County.  Prior to this week, rates had gone down significantly, but as of Thursday night, the Henry County rate is now at 18%.  There has also been a tightening of available critical care beds in TN as well.

“What does this mean to us?,” asked Casteel.  “It means visitation for nursing homes is closed again.  It means that we have a tightening of critical care resources across the State.  And it means longer wait times for bed availability, and transfer ability to other facilities.”

“With these increases, we need to continue to encourage our community to wear masks and practice social distancing,” said Kreg Kyle, Henry County Commissioner and Board Member.

The Board of Trustees has asked Casteel to pursue and recommend another installment of the masking campaign within the community, encouraging Henry Countians to continue the course with masking, social distancing, and handwashing to ensure our community’s health.  Casteel with speak with city and county government about opportunities.

For growth, Stephen Phillips, MD, General Surgeon, has accepted his contract and will begin as an employed physician working out of Paris Surgical Specialists staring January 1, 2021.  We also toured a gastroenterologist with the possibility of joining us as well.

HCMC Laboratory Services now has instrumentation to process COVID-19 and respiratory testing in-house.  We currently are testing inpatient and emergency room patients with this equipment.  Since turn-around times with outside labs has improved, outpatients are being tested through the outside labs to conserve reagents.

HCMC has been asked by TN Hospital Association to serve on the State Commissioner of Health appointed Perinatal Advisory Committee.  Rhonda Crossett, Director of Women’s Center, has agreed to serve on this committee to represent HCMC.

Financially, HCMC has seen a positive quarter.  With grant funding, HCMC’s bottom line is a consolidated $1.4 million, but without those funds, we still saw a $141,000 balance.  It is a marked improvement over last year during the same time period.  With a higher severity case mix index and reduction of expenses, HCMC is seeing an improved bottom line.

Bad debts for the month were approved for $613,346.10.  Additionally, a few capital equipment requests were approved at $45,305, with the majority of the expense for surgery equipment at the Surgery Center.  Casteel also gave an investment update to the Board of Trustees.

Casteel discussed the various things that HCMC is doing for partners.  PTO accrual has been re-established and health insurance premiums are not going up this year for partners.  Additionally, Administration requested the Board of Trustees provide a one-time compensation for hazard pay to partners based on employment status.  This will be an almost $1 million payout to partners.  The Board approved.

Neely Ashby, Chief Nursing Officer, discussed various equipment that HCMC plans to purchase with COVID-19 grant funding to increase the capacity of care for these patients.  Possible equipment includes adding telemetry to 2 South, purchasing more BiPap and vapotherm machines as well as IV poles.  Other items are also being looked at and a full listing will be presented to the Board at next month’s meeting.

Billie McKee, Chief Human Resources Officer, provided an update on the People and Community pillars.  In FY2020, we met all our goals with our engaging forums, quarterly leadership training, employee survey, PayCom enhancements, and employee health plan.  Looking forward in FY2021, we are working on employee engagement with a third partner survey with a goal of 100% participation.  This will be completed this week with results reported the end of the year.  We still conduct daily huddles will re-establish the employee newsletter.

HCMC received a $15,000 grant from the American Job Center TN to benefit workforce development in nursing, laboratory, pharmacy, and other areas.  We are pursuing other grant opportunities.  Additionally, a social media campaign for recruitment is being developed and launched.

Many of the Community pillar activities were put on hold because of COVID-19 such as the Patient and Family Advisory Council and philanthropy activities.  Ashby discussed the quality initiatives we have implemented that will help to improve our HCAPPS scores including the No Pass Zone, Ask Me Three, and the Discharge Checklist.

Currently, HR is very busy with open enrollment, partner evaluations, and our partner engagement survey.  An updated employee handbook is ready to be released as well.  McKee also reported our customer service scores for the organization to date.  ER customer service scores across the nation are lower and HCMC will be working with Press Ganey to review best practices for improvement in this area.

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 November 23 at 5:30 p.m. at Henry County Medical Center.  Please note that this is the Monday prior to Thanksgiving and the meeting will be held in HCMC Classrooms 2 & 3.

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.