PMC Begins HVAC/Electric Upgrade Program

The Prowers Medical Center $5M expansion proposal was defeated last May by area voters. Part of the package included upgrades to the hospital’s HVAC (heating-venting-air conditioning)and electrical system, approximately $1million. Despite the lack of needed votes for the bond, the need for the upgrades remains. The PMC board of directors is following examples set by Lamar Community College and the City of Lamar, entertaining a proposal from Honeywell Building Solutions representatives Kevin Taylor and Gary Brengard, during the board’s monthly meeting, Wednesday, January 23.

LCC has already used the services of Honeywell, installing energy efficient windows and HVAC systems and the City of Lamar recently signed on for similar improvements to various municipal buildings, starting with the Lamar Community Building and just recently, upgrades to the lighting system at the Lamar Airport.

Brengard and Taylor presented an overview of the hospital’s needs and an assessment of the basic infrastructure including an inefficient boiler system using equipment from 1991 and 1976, lack of HVAC redundancy in some critical care areas, several separate areas of the hospital sharing one thermostat for heating and cooling and improvements in other departments. The representatives said if their plans were approved, they could be incorporated into the hospital’s master plan and they would work with architects to make sure that any early alterations would dovetail with construction done later. Taylor said, “We don’t want to make improvements in one area that’ll have to be changed later.” The board gave approval for Honeywell to move forward with the basic grant application and report back to the board next month. This portion of the proposal is conducted without any financial obligation on the part of the hospital. Honeywell helps secure grants and loans which can be paid back through lowered utility costs over the life of the contract.

The board approved close to two dozen medically oriented policies for hospital staff, ranging from arrangements for home oxygen care to medications for use in newborns, maternal transfer and chest physiotherapy. The majority of the policies deal with cardiopulmonary care or the New Beginnings Birth Center at the hospital. Seventeen consultive medical care providers had their credentials approved in either High Risk OB or Radiology departments.

Dr. John Abbott, Chief of Medical Staff, said there’s a need to develop a system of taking shared off-duty calls between physicians at Prowers Medical Center and High Plains Community Health Center. Abbott said High Plains has three physicians and one mid-level provider while PMC has two physicians and one mid level provider. He noted there is a potential for physician burn out until a workable system is in place. Abbott noted the extra hours can be attributable to a decrease in future hiring’s as well as impact physician longevity in the hospitals.

Prowers Medical Center has outgrown their family practice clinic on Carson Avenue in Las Animas. Board members approved a two year rental agreement to lease office space at the Bent County Nursing Service. PMC patients will soon be able to receive treatment from the nurse practitioners who staff the facility. CEO Craig Loveless said the new location will provide easier parking and allow better access to patients once the operation is open.

Loveless briefed the board on a declining need for beds at the hospital, a situation, he explained, that was part of a national trend, not just limited to PMC. He noted that provider referrals had also dropped in the past months, and he and Audrey Kane, Chief Financial Officer, would address the issue for means to turn around the decline. As part of hospital services, Loveless said Prowers Medical Center would strive to develop hospital team member participation in various community events, encouraging different hospital staff members to take part, beyond those who have an on-going relationship with public events. He also noted the market share of OB-GYN cases for 2012 had declined in the hospital’s general coverage area.

By Russ Baldwin


Filed Under: BusinesscommunityEnergyFeaturedLamarProwers CountyPublic SafetyUtilities


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