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New medical offices open on HMH campus; waiting list already set for geriatric health unit

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By John R. Schirmer

Leader staff

Howard Memorial Hospital’s construction projects are winding down, and the new facilities have been occupied by physicians and staff, CEO Debra Wright told the hospital board last week.

Dr. Brian Caldwell opened his practice in the new Medical Office Building Aug. 17. More than 50 patients had already scheduled appointments by Aug. 14, Wright said.

Chief Nursing Officer Alesha Collins said Dr. Caldwell eventually saw a total of 62 patients his first week and admitted two patients to acute care at HMH. “The clinic staff and Dr. Caldwell are doing a great job,” Collins said.

Wright said that Dr. Caldwell has asked if he can add a nurse practitioner in six months. He worked with a nurse practitioner student at Texarkana and said the student is interested in the position. “I told him that if volume is up, we’re receptive to it,” Wright said. The nurse practitioner would be located in one of the offices in the new medical building.

The Compass Outpatient Geriatric Behavioral Health Building is tentatively set to open Sept. 8. “They have a waiting list,” Wright said of patients for the facility. “I think this will be very well received.

Open house has been held for Dr. Caldwell and for the Compass office.

Wright said the construction project architect “has generated the punch list for the contractor to address. I really appreciate their allowing us to occupy the clinic space for Dr. Caldwell’s clinic so it could be fully furnished and ready for him and his staff to receive training from eClinical Works on the electronic medical records, patient registration and billing.”

Dr. Brian Oge and Dr. Clay Ferguson will rotate clinic call coverage with Dr. Caldwell, according to Wright. The call schedule was finalized and distributed to the nursing units.

Wright thanked the HMH staff for working to prepare for the clinic.

Wright said the new outpatient pulmonary and cardiac rehab unit should be ready to open in late September or early October. It will be housed in the new Medical Office Building.

The hospital continues to look at offering dialysis service. Wright was asked to obtain data on patient volume which the facility can expect. She sent 11 names. “This is our top priority” based on a community needs assessment.

HMH recorded a record-breaking month in July for days in cash on hand. The hospital has 151.9 days, compared to the target of 145. This is the third consecutive month the target has been beaten, according to CFO Bill Craig.

For July, Emergency Department visits and surgery cases were above budget. The hospital reported a favorable payor mix for the month.

The board voted to invest $250,000 in CDs with Edward Jones. Local Edward Jones adviser Josh Tice presented a proposal to the board in a previous meeting.

The funds will be invested for five years at 2.25 percent interest.

Earnings will be invested in mutual funds, the board agreed.

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