PMC Site Plan Development Outlined



“We are developing an on-going site plan for long term issues at the hospital. Once it’s completed, the board will put it up for bid,” said Prowers Medical Center, Chief Executive Officer, Craig Loveless.  He listed several areas that will be addressed as he briefed the Prowers County Commissioners during their meeting on Tuesday, October 24th.

Loveless said the hospital roof will be replaced and that had been a plan prior to the August hailstorm. However, the insurance coverage will help cover costs of the project, a factor that had not been considered before the damaging storm.  “We’re addressing some safety issues in the parking lot,” he explained, adding that snow melt during the winter will refreeze, covering the surface of the lot and making it a slippery walk for staff and patients.  “We’re working on a drainage system that will run that water underneath the parking lot.”  Repairs are planned for the spring on Kendall Drive which will fill in potholes and widen the roadway as well.  The CEO said the hospital continues to upgrade its equipment throughout the year, “but we have to be able to maintain an income level of at least $1m annually to do that.”  Some longer range upgrades include a new and maneuverable patient’s table in the imaging room.  “We need something that lowers enough to accommodate the patient trying to get on it.  That won’t work when we have a mis-match in the size between the patient and the provider.”  New mammography exam equipment and a new MRI have been earmarked for upgrades as well, although that may be carried over into next year’s budget.

Loveless said the hospital wants to address obesity in the community, “That’s a major part of our plan of action for next year. We have a dietician on staff now and we’ll work on nutrition programs that will address weight loss when needed and diabetes.”  He told the commissioners the hospital really wants an on-site orthopedic provider.  “We have the numbers, but not the financial ability to support a resident,” he said, explaining that a recent procedure only saw a 14% return on basic costs that was paid by Medicaid.  “We can’t afford that.  We want to provide a needed service, but we’ll go broke when we lose eighty cents on the dollar.”  Loveless said one overall goal is to treat as many local patients as possible, but acknowledged that some areas, such as a full-time cardiologist, are beyond the hospital’s capabilities.

The board briefly discussed having the hospital take part in a county/city discussion for funding the local ambulance service, a service which loses money each year. Despite a fee system for service, the ambulance runs into a negative account balance with expenditures outweighing profits and both the city and county have tried to find a solution despite covering the losses.  Loveless explained that the board would take part in the discussion, but will never be in a position where they would take it over and run it.  “We’re not structured that way,” stating that the hospital’s revenue from tax dollars, wouldn’t cover the cost of operation.  “You’d be doubling the mill levy in the hospital district to be able to pay for it,” he told the commissioners, although he said the board will be glad to add to the discussion in the future.

A recent study of critical access hospitals in the country put Prowers Medical Center in the 76th percentile, which Loveless said, was a slight decline from the year before.  “We still have a very healthy measurement for services including 78.9 percent of the market share for inpatient care and that’s minus cardiology or an orthopedics department.  Our outpatient market share is a 96 percentile and our financial rating is at the 94th percentile.  That achievement goes to the entire management team and the efforts of Audrey Coates in accounting.”  Loveless explained PMC hospital is rated at 89.9 percentile for patient charges which is a big factor in critical access hospitals.  “That means the local community is getting care for a lower cost compared to the national standard.”  He said those figures were just recently made available to the hospital.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: City of LamarConsumer IssuesCountyEconomyFeaturedHealthPublic Safety


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