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Nashville native to be doctor at HMH

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By John R. Schirmer

News-Leader staff

A Nashville native will join the staff of Howard Memorial Hospital.

Dr. John Robert Johnson has contracted to work full-time in the emergency department beginning this month, hospital CEO Debra Wright told the board of directors last week. He has also contracted to provide back-up hospitalist coverage “since there is no full-time hospitalist position at this time,” Wright said.

Dr. Johnson is a graduate of Nashville High School and Harding University. He completed his Family Medicine Residency program at Pine Bluff in June 2022. 

“We are very excited Dr. Johnson is joining the HMH team,” Wright said. “He plans to live in Nashville. HMH has not had an ED physician providing coverage [and] living in Nashville since Dr. Peebles retired.”

Dr. Johnson is the son of Betty Johnson of Nashville and is the nephew of former HMH staff member Eddie Beene.

Wright discussed an other physician recruitment matter during her presentation at the Jan. 3 board meeting. She said there have not been any physician applicants to interview for the medical clinic.

“The recruiter has submitted CVs on three applicants, but it was determined that they would not be a fit for the patient population we serve,” Wright said.

During 2023, there will be some changes in general surgery call coverage, according to Wright. “Dr. [John] Hearnsberger will be cutting back on his weeks of coverage to enable Dr. [Mark] Sutherland and Dr. [Bertrand] Fonji to increase their coverage on the call schedule. Among the three surgeons, the entire calendar year surgery schedule will be covered.”

Wright added that HMH “has some exciting plans for expanding surgical services in 2023.”

In other business, Wright said the hospital has received a refund check of more than $22,000 from the Workers Comp Self-Insured Trust. “Our workers are to be congratulated on their efforts to prevent injuries in the work environment, which enables HMH to be eligible for these refunds from the WCSIT,” she said.

Wright said the hospital’s 2023 Capital Budget includes the replacement of the fluoroscopy and ankle brachial index testing equipment.

All of the paperwork has been executed to schedule the deinstallation of the current fluoroscopy system and the installation of the new system in May, according to Wright. 

The new ABI will be implemented ‘as soon as the ultrasound techs have completed applications training, Wright said. “ABI is a simple test that compares the blood pressure in the upper and lower limbs by dividing blood pressure in the artery of the ankle by the blood pressure in an artery of an arm.”

In the monthly financial report, CFO Bill Craig said HMH experienced a record number of emergency department visits during November at 1,069. The record-setting number is “219 visits above budget and 25.8 percent above budget,” Craig said.

HMH has 27.1 days in accounts receivable, according to Craig. The target is less than 45 days.

The hospital’s days cash on hand is 128.2. The target is to have more than 145 days.

Collectible revenue for November was $178,174 above budget. 

Receipts on hospital accounts receivable, excluding clinics, totaled about $2.12 million.

For November, HMH reported net income of $6,410 compared to the budgeted amount of $6,929.

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