Home Breaking News Monoclonal antibody therapy continues at HMH

Monoclonal antibody therapy continues at HMH


By John R. Schirmer

News-Leader staff

Howard Memorial Hospital continues to offer monoclonal antibody therapy to Covid-19 patients who meet the criteria for the treatment, CEO Debra Wright told the Board of Directors Feb. 23.

Wright said 32 patients have received the therapy since it was introduced earlier this year. “Our infection preventionist nurse continues to remind patients with positive Covid-19 test results to contact their provider” to determine if they are candidates.

Hospital staff members provide the treatment. “I really appreciate the nurses who have been willing to come to work on a scheduled day off to administer this therapy,” Wright said.

Seventy-five hospital employees have received Covid-19 vaccinations at the hospital, Wright said, and eight more have obtained it elsewhere.

HMH continues to test for Covid-19. The weekly allocation for the PCR rapid test kits is 40, and two of those are used for quality control, Wright said. The remaining kits are reserved for surgery, the emergency department and inpatients.

The American Hospital Association has announced behavioral health grants for health care workers affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, Wright said. The grant will provide up to $2,000 over a 12-month period in financial assistance for out-of-pocket treatment co-payments for prescription drugs, counseling services, psychotherapy and transportation to manage Covid-19 related behavioral health issues.

Wright asked the Human Resources department to research the grant and make HMH employees aware of the opportunity.

Outpatient specimens are sent to Lab Corp, and the turnaround time for results is four to five days, according to Wright. The Biofire test is conducted on employees who exhibit coronavirus symptoms.

Other topics were discussed during the board meeting. Wright said the remodeling of the space for the Pediatric Therapy Center is almost complete “with the exception of some touch-up painting and completion of the IT infrastructure.”

The Howard Memorial Hospital Foundation has received more than $19,000 in donations for the center, Wright said. “This was a tremendous response to the year-end appeal.”

The center is located on South Fourth Street at the former location of a gym.

Wright said there was a department director meeting last month to discuss disaster preparedness. Topics included campus issues, staff transportation, cancellation of outpatient services, providing essential services, along with supplies of water, food, drugs and other supplies in case there were no deliveries.

Wright said five employees who own four-wheel drive vehicles volunteered to provide transportation during the recent snowfall.

HMH reserved 15 rooms at the hospital’s expense for employees who were willing to remain in town for the duration of the winter story, Wright said. “I so appreciate all of them doing so. The employees seemed very appreciative of the hospital covering this expense.”

Dr. John Hearnsberger loaned the hospital a tractor that was already on campus to help clear the front driveway and parking lot. Jay McCammack and Justin Jacques also provided equipment to help clear the snow.

“HMH managed very well” during the winter storm, Wright said. “You would have been proud of the teamwork exhibited. We were preparing for the worst and hoping for the best given the forecast.”

Wright said Dr. Sam Peebles gave his eight-weeks notice Jan. 27. “He has been staffing the emergency room for several years and served as ED medical director for most of them. He has always been a pleasure to work with, and while his HMH family will miss him, he is very deserving of retirement after the dedication and commitment he has shown to this hospital and community.”

A retirement celebration for Dr. Peebles is being planned, according to Wright.

CFO Bill Craig gave the financial report for January. The hospital had 36.6 days revenue in accounts receivable on Jan. 31, according to Craig. The target is 45 days.

HMH had 204.6 days cash on hand, with a target of 145 days.

The hospital reported a loss of about $129,800 for the month.

The average daily census was 6.2, which was nearly 27 percent below budget.

Outpatient visits were 14 percent above budget, Craig said. 

Emergency Department visits were 225 below budget.

Surgery was 14 cases below budget.