By John R. Schirmer
Construction projects at Howard Memorial Hospital have picked up speed in recent weeks, according to CEO Debra Wright.
Wet weather delayed work on the Medical Office Building and geriatric building on the HMH campus.
Conditions improved in June. “Much progress has been made on both buildings this month,” Wright told the hospital board June 23.
“The cabinets are being installed, and the driveway and parking lots have been poured at the geriatric building,” Wright said.
The hospital has requested a quote for completion of the shell space in the office building “since it is believed this space may be needed very quickly if increases in patient volume require the separation of pulmonary rehab patients from cardiac rehab patients,” Wright said. The space is about 300 square feet.
Both projects are expected to be completed in the next few weeks.
Positions have been posted for LPN, LPN/scribe, clinic receptionist and office manager for Dr. Brian Caldwell’s office in the Medical Office Building.
Dr. Caldwell was scheduled to begin working Emergency Department shifts this week and will have other duties until the office building opens.
A Texarkana psychiatrist has verbally accepted the medical director position of the geriatric behavioral health facility pending review and approval of the contract from Pioneer, Wright said. The unit plans to start accepting patients in August if the building is completed.
In other business at the HMH board meeting, CFO Bill Craig said the hospital set a record for days of cash on hand during May. HMH had 146.7 days cash on hand, a record for the facility and 1.7 days above the target of 145 days.
HMH also reported record-breaking collections for the month.
Emergency Department and surgery cases were above budget for May, Craig said. The hospital reported a favorable payor mix compared to budget.
Cash on hand amounted to $5,750,000 at the end of May, an increase of $755,000 from the amount reported at the end of the previous fiscal year.
For the month, the hospital recorded a profit of $35,386.
Wright said a report by the Arkansas Hospital Association shows that the Affordable Care Act has reduced the uninsured rate in Arkansas from 22.5 percent in 2013 to 11.4 percent in 2014. More than 1.2 million Arkansans, including about 168,200 children, have benefited from the program, the report said.
Wright said the results of the 2015 Community Health Needs Assessment have been prioritized. They include the following:
- Clinical psychologist/psychiatrist.
- Research: Long-range inpatient behavioral health unit.
- Pain clinic.
- Allergist/allergy clinic.
- Translation services.
- Strategic marketing plan including community town hall meetings, expanding Diabetes and You Classes, and awareness campaign regarding services provided.
- Investigate walk-in clinic after hours.
- Research genetic testing.
“These prioritized needs have been added to the 2016 corporate goals. Research has already begun to determine what resources would be necessary to provide these services,” Wright said.