Paris, TN – March’s meeting began with an update on regulatory as well as federal, state, and local healthcare news by Chief Executive Officer Lisa Casteel in her Administrative report to the Henry County Medical Center Board of Trustees Thursday night.
Casteel discussed the recently approved American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Specifically, the $8.5 billion designated in the bill provides reimbursement to rural healthcare providers for health care-related expenses and lost revenues attributed to COVID-19.
In other federal news, Casteel pointed out that in 2020, a total of 20 rural hospitals closed with four of those in TN. In support of rural hospitals, legislation has been introduced as the Rural Hospital Support Act, which would include making permanent the Medicare-Dependent Hospital program, which impacts our organization positively.
On a state level, the Certificate of Need reform continues to move through the TN legislative process, which could impact our organization and our outpatient services. For another legislative issue, HCMC is excited to see the state advocacy for sponsorship of three new Rural Residency Programs which could help our program that is currently being developed. Dr. Finley and Casteel have both been working with Senator Stephens and Senator Blackburn on this program.
In COVID-19 news, HCMC and the Henry County Health Department have actively participated with vaccination of Henry County. Currently, right at 24% of the county is vaccinated. HCMC will be hosting a first dose community vaccination at the hospital on Friday, March 26. We also have offered the one dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine and hope to have more soon to distribute. Statistics for the county continue to be minimal, but this week, HCMC currently has three positive COVID-19 patients.
Administratively, Casteel reported that we are continuing to recruit a gastroenterologist as well as another general surgeon due to the need to cover call. Next month, Casteel plans to bring information related to medical staff bylaws regarding call coverage. She and Dr. Kyle Stephens, Chief of Staff, have been reviewing the bylaws in relation to Active Medical Staff privileges Additionally, next month, Brad Bloemer, Chief Financial Officer, will present key considerations and concepts for FY2022 budget. The upcoming budget will be significantly tight and challenging.
Bloemer reviewed the financial report for February. Due to the weather and COVID-19, HCMC had a loss of $688,137 for the month. Total admissions and outpatient visits continue to be under budget as well as total surgery cases. EMS did see a profit for the month of $19,125 thanks to the move to third party management. The profit stems from the continued collections of past years’ accounts receivables and the rental revenue with the lease agreement. Year to date, EMS is at a loss of $20,500 compared to last year’s loss of $362,300.
“It is great when a plan comes together to impact our operations in a positive way,” said Troy Buttrey, HCMC Board of Trustees Vice Chair.
Bad debts for the month were approved for $506,544.74. Additionally, a few capital equipment requests were approved by the board including an elbow arm positioning system for total elbow replacements that Dr. Mark Cutright, orthopedic surgeon, will be offering to the community, which is a new surgery offering from the organization.
Neely Ashby, Chief Nursing Officer/Chief Operating Officer, discussed the quality report with the board. For year-end 2020, HCMC was recognized for improvement in our overall customer service rating of the hospital. Our overall customer service rating improved from 65.6 to 78.6. With the measures of Ask Me 3 and Discharge Communication Plans, we have seen significant improvement.
“Because of the customer service rating improvement as well as excellent quality scores for measurements of various infection rates, as of April 2021, our CMS Hospital Compare star recognition will be 4 stars,” said Ashby. “We are very proud of our organization and the strides we have made to improve our scores. It is outstanding and our staff have worked extremely hard to receive this recognition.”
“The board is so proud of the efforts you all have made,” said Dr. Scott Whitby, Board Chair. “I have to come clean that I have stated this is impossible to change outcomes to reduce infection and not worth tracking, but these process changes show it has made a difference.”
The board members echoed the kudos given by Dr. Whitby, stating that our organization has shined during a very difficult time.
Dr. Whitby discussed the medical students at HCMC. Due to COVID-19, eight of the medical students spent two years at HCMC, which was not anticipated. Our eight, fourth year students all matched in residency programs and all will reach their goals in specializing in their medical careers. Two of the medical students have stated they plan to come back to the area to practice medicine, which is a credit to our community. These students will be recognized at a white coat ceremony next month sponsored by HCMC.
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 April 22 at 5:30 p.m. at Henry County Medical Center in Classrooms 2 & 3 or via Zoom.
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.