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PMC Renovation Project Nearing Completion

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“We did the final punch-walk through the gymnasium on Friday and found only some minor repairs were needed and we should be ready to move into the gym by Tuesday,” explained Prowers Medical Center, CEO, Craig Loveless, during a meeting with the Prowers County Commissioners. With the completion of some cosmetic remodeling issues in the surgery department, the renovations to the hospital will be finalized, ending a multi-million dollar renovation project that started last April.  Loveless stated earlier that an open house has been planned for the general community, but that will be scheduled for some time in either late August or early September.

A portion of the senior staff and department managers, approximately 43 employees at the hospital, took part in a three-day LEAN program, based on the Toyota management principles of eliminating wasteful or time-consuming efforts. “This program is intended to empower the employees to recognize an efficiency issue in the manner in which we provide all levels of health care to our patients.  The solutions will come from the delivery point, not from a higher up,” Loveless said.  He added that this will not cause an automatic reduction of staff, but a means of how to better utilize them.  “Some redeployment may occur, but that does happen,” he stated.  Loveless said another training session is expected for August for as many of the hospital staff as time allows for the three day visit.

During the recent board of directors meeting, Loveless wanted to emphasize that Prowers Medical Center has not lost Dr. James Smith, who is currently serving a portion of his military reserve commitment for 120 days. “He’s been deployed to Honduras and we’re already making plans for his return in September.  In the meantime his patients and surgeries are being handled by Dr. Swanson who is well acquainted with the hospital and the community.”  Loveless noted that physician recruitment is an on-going process and PMC has opened communication with several economically hard-hit communities in Oklahoma and Texas where the downturn in the oil and gas industry has resulted in medical care lay-offs.  “We’ve learned that some facilities in those areas have lain off over 100 persons from some facilities, so we’ve made calls to the HR points to alert them to the fact that we’re hiring.  We’ll see how that works out for us in the future,” he stated. He said the hospital has a sufficient staff of nurse practitioners, but they would still like to attract more doctors from ob/gyn and orthopedics.

Representatives from PMC, High Plains Community Health Center and Southeast Health hold monthly meetings with the current focus on collaborating efforts on obstetrics from High Plains and the hospital. “These protocols will help smooth the transition of patients in referrals.  The primary care physician will attend the expectant mother for the first 32 weeks of pregnancy when she then is transferred to specialty care for the delivery of her child.  Following the usual post-natal checkup in that department, she’ll resume her care under her primary physician.”

The CEO said that in terms of the number of patients that visit the hospital, it’s been a slower summer compared to last year. “Last summer kept us busy, but at this point, we usually see from eight to ten patients in beds per day,” he explained.  The hospital has 25 beds, 21 of which are for observation for treating a patient, several are for the obstetrics department and several special care units.  The board of directors was apprised of the future use of the new ambulance services from Midwest Transportation and their affiliation with the clinic.  The service expects to be in operation in July and has requested some training sessions with the PMC staff, who, Loveless said, were perfectly okay with that.  The hospital will continue to make use of the ambulance services from Rocky Ford, but the new service will now allow an additional option for patient transport.  There are no finances involved between the service and the hospital in the general affiliation.

By Russ Baldwin

 

 

 

 

 

 

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