Hospital admissions on the rise

TCMH

HOUSTON, Mo. – The numbers are a concern and they are headed in the wrong direction, Texas County Memorial Hospital board members heard from Wes Murray, chief executive officer, during their monthly meeting on Tuesday. The increase in positive COVID cases, the same topic echoed just a month ago during the September board meeting, is now an even heavier concern for leadership and providers at the county hospital.

Last week the hospital’s laboratory reported a 35 percent positivity rate of all COVID-19 tests performed, just ahead of Texas County’s positivity rate of 29 percent. According to the interactive dashboard produced by the Missouri Hospital Association, the positivity rate in the Southwest Region was 16.4 percent last week. The average across the entire state of Missouri was 13.7 percent.

Murray said that data from recent meetings he has attended reports that the fall-winter surge is just now starting and it is expected to get much worse. Murray mentioned that it has become increasingly difficult to transfer patients to larger facilities due to diminishing bed capacity.

The COVID task force has been working continuously to make adjustments to the delivery of healthcare services each week as the number of positive cases and admissions at TCMH climbs, including “two departmental moves to expedite the completion of the isolation unit being built on the old East Wing,” Murray said. Hospice of Care joined Hutcheson Pharmacy and Home Health of the Ozarks in the building across the street from the hospital. The Cardiopulmonary Rehab Clinic moved into the building located behind the hospital, where hospice was previously located and overnight sleep studies are performed.

Murray explained that several items ordered, thanks to the hospital’s receipt of CARES Act funds, are being installed in the isolation unit. Many items needed for the unit have been ordered, but have not yet arrived. Although TCMH is seeing a surge in admissions, personal protective equipment and medication supply is remaining steady.

As a result of increased demand this year, flu vaccine supply “was completely depleted on October 16, but as of today we now have 750 more vials,” Murray said.

Linda Pamperien, chief financial officer at TCMH, presented the financial report for the month of September.

“Overall revenues were down $576,207 from our budgeted expectations,” Pamperien said. “Inpatient volumes were up $205,731 and outpatient revenue was down $837,517.”

Pamperien reported that there were 41 more admissions for September this year than in 2019. Bad debt for September was $616,410.61. She reported that no additional federal CARES Act funds were booked for the month of September, as recommended by BKD, the hospital’s accounting firm. TCMH ended the month of September with a positive bottom line of $216,689.55 and a year-to-date loss of $1,571,575.01.

During his administrative report, Murray mentioned that Jay Gentry, Healthcare Foundation director, has been very successful throughout the year, obtaining 11 grants totaling $399,959. Gentry has also organized the online auction to benefit TCMH Hospice of Care. To view the complete list of auction items available, visit the auction website at www.biddingforgood/tcmh. The online auction will run through Sunday, Nov. 8.

Karla Eslinger, 2020 Republican Candidate for Missouri State Senate, Missouri’s 33rd Senate District, was a guest during the meeting. Eslinger shared her interest in being a voice for rural Missouri hospitals and the growing need for healthcare coverage for all Missourians. The board members expressed their sincere appreciation for her willingness to come and meet with them to discuss the importance of healthcare in rural Missouri.

Present at the meeting were Murray; Pamperien; Doretta Todd-Willis, chief nursing officer; Rachel Davis, public relations; Amanda Turpin, quality; Linda Milholen, MD; Renina Pierce, administration; board members, Jim Perry, OD; Omanez Fockler; Jay Loveland; Allan Branstetter; Steve Pierce and guest, Eslinger.

The next meeting of the TCMH board of trustees is Tuesday, Nov. 24 at 12 p.m. Due to current social distancing restrictions, the meeting will take place via teleconference. To attend the meeting, please call (417) 967-1236 and you will be placed into the teleconference meeting.

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