April record good for BWWMH

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 27, 2005

With patient count higher than average and collections exceeding goals, Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital boasted excellent record for April, which is extending into May.

Hospital CEO/Administrator Mike Marshall told the board of directors at its meeting Tuesday that the higher than expected census of patients is both good and bad for the hospital. While the revenue from higher numbers is welcome — the hospital realized a profit of $355,318 for April — but, “We’re working people to death now,” he said. “We’re straining systems.”

He said there are staffing problems, especially in ICU because of retirements and relocations. The board may have to address raising salaries for nurses in specialized fields in order to ease the shortage.

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All this comes with continued expansion of hospital services. The sleep lab should be open within two weeks, and 20 patients already are signed up for tests.

The Geri-Psych in-patient facility will go before the state Certificate of Need board on June 15. BWWMH’s request to open a 10-bed facility is being challenged by hospitals in four other counties.

“We will have to fight this one,” Marshall said. The hospital has been politicking the CON board to explain the need for the unit in Demopolis.

The state is rebidding the Home Health contract for six districts, including Districts 7 and 8 that BWWMH applied for. Marshall said the way the state opened the first bids violated its own bidding procedure.

If the hospital is successful in winning the contract, it could see a 25-40 percent increase in infant deliveries.

The board unanimously approved the purchase of Dade-Behring laboratory equipment for $198,351.70. The new equipment will replace the used equipment bought a decade ago. Marshall said the purchase will result in a savings of $48,000 in less than a year in terms of reagents used in the chemistry, immunochemistry and back-up chemistry labs.

Marshall reported that Dr. John Simmons has been approved to practice surgery at the hospital.

In other action, the board voted to:

* Award a scholarship to Rocky Lyons for medical school

* Reappoint to the consulting staff Drs. Michelle Agee and Carl Blunck, radiology

* Make an initial appointment of Dr. John Dubay, oncology, to the consulting staff.