Henry County Medical Center Board of Trustees Learn about Stimulus Grants and the Impact of COVID-19 on Operations

CUTLINE – Pictured is Neely Ashby, CNO, read the letter of recognition by Tennessee Hospital Association and American Hospital Association for our quality improvements seen during the 2018-2019 year to the HCMC Board of Trustees Thursday evening.  Approximately 1,600 hospitals participated in this effort reducing harm by 20% and readmissions by 12%.  HCMC saw improvements in all areas and outperformed the state measures.

Paris, TN – COVID-19 is still impacting communities as Lisa Casteel, Chief Executive Officer, shared with Henry County Medical Center Board of Trustee at Thursday’s meeting during her administrative report.  Casteel began the meeting by sharing various graphs and statistics about the prevalence in our state and region of COVID-19.  Though numbers are fairly flat, there are spikes in various areas of the region.

“It is still important to encourage masking and social distancing in our community,” said Casteel.  “We continue to observe universal masking at HCMC and we hope you will help us encourage others to follow suit in our community.”

Long term care facilities like Henry County Healthcare Center have strict testing requirements and oversight by the state for COVID-19.  They have to test weekly and it is such a hard situation for residents and families.

HCMC received a letter of recognition by the Tennessee Hospital Association and the American Hospital Association for our improvement in our quality measures over the 2018-2019 year. We participated in the Hospital Improvement and Innovation Network program and HCMC has outperformed the state in every measure.  Neely Ashby, Chief Nursing Officer, presented the information to the board.

“It shows the excellence of care we strive to provide the community with value and quality,” said Ashby.

Annamaria Church, MD, Pediatrics who has served as interim physician at Paris Pediatrics has now joined the practice permanently as of June 15.  On July 1, HCMC will go into a partnership with AMR to handle the EMS service.  Also, Casteel encouraged the board to continue to visit our website and social media platforms for more information related to COVID-19.

Financially, HCMC saw a positive bottom line of $2.9 million for the month of May.  Year-to-date, HCMC is at a loss for $240,000.  Without the COVID-19 grants, HCMC would have seen a $449,000 loss during the month of May.

“We are very fortunate and glad to receive grant funds,” said Casteel.  “We have received a total of $9.3 million in grants to be allocated to April, May, June, and July.  In May, we allocated $3.3 million of those funds.  Without these grants, to date we would be at an $8 million loss for the year.”

Casteel went on to explain that it is so important for everyone to understand that we have to right size our organization because of the deficit we had prior to COVID-19.  It is why we are cutting pay raises, sick time, paid time off, and other benefits and positions to ensure that we become more fiscally sustainable.  Volumes are still down and not back to 100%, though some services are schedule out two weeks.  Provider practices are at about 70% to 80% of normal capacity and surgeries are still not at 100%.

The board approved the financial report along with $397,937 in bad debt and $47,438 in capital equipment including vital sign machines, an infuser, a scope, and stirrups for surgery.

With no unfinished business, Dr. Scott Whitby, Board Chairman, gave the floor to Pam Ridley for her IT and Compliance Review.  Everything is in compliance at this time and there have been no reportable issues.  Additionally, the Board elected officers for the year.  By acclamation, James Travis made a motion with at second by Peggy Beasley to keep Dr. Whitby as Chair and Troy Buttrey as Vice Chair.

Also in new business, Casteel presented the fiscal year 2021 budget to the Board.  The budget presented is based on the strategic objectives for the year which include growth, cost reduction, with salaries remaining consistent and less contract labor.  The proposed budget is set at a loss of $119,277 due to uncertainties with COVID-19.

“We know we can do better than this proposed budget, but with all the unknowns, we wanted to project conservatively with a small loss for the year,” said Casteel.

Casteel also discussed the capital equipment budget for the fiscal year.  The organization is requesting the purchase of 62 items at $5.8 million for the year, with eight of those items representing the bulk of the requests.  The most expensive items include the Cath Lab project, replacing the x-ray room and equipment at HCMC, as well as new chillers and roof.  Both the budget and the capital budget were approved by the Board.

Following the approval of the budget and capital budget, Casteel discussed the need to move forward with both the Cath Lab project and the x-ray room and equipment.  Currently, the x-ray room is out-of-order and patients have to go to the Diagnostic Center.  This is limiting the ability of the service.  It will be four to six weeks after approval before the equipment will be up and running.  Additionally, the Cath Lab project needs to move forward to ensure we meet and exceed our budget because Cardiology growth is figured in to the revenue of the organization.

“Dr. Gibson has picked out the equipment and is ready for us to move forward,” said Casteel.  “It is time for us to do so.”

The Board approved both capital equipment projects and more will be presented at the July meeting regarding these.

Lastly, Billie McKee, Chief Human Resources Officer, gave her presentation for the month on People.  She discussed the impact of unemployment as well as the turnover rates due to COVID-19.  Currently, there are still 10 partners on furlough at this time.  She also discussed some creative ways that HR will be assisting HCHC in recruiting CNAs to the facility.

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, July 23 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.