PMC Hosts Orthopedic Surgical Group this Week

 A group of five orthopedic surgeons have expressed interest in the Specialty Clinic at Prowers Medical Center and will be hosted to a luncheon at the hospital Thursday, October 6.  The surgeons will attend a ‘meet and greet’ with the medical staff at that time. 

Hospital CEO James Fairchild said earlier, that one way to increase patient visits at PMC is through a strong, diversified staff of medical providers.  He offered statistics showing growth in both patient and provider numbers during the September board of directors meeting.  Some of the highlights include new, first-time patients for the past two months, with 160 visits in August and 117 in September.  Fairchild explained that these patients are not necessarily new to the area, but persons who live here and are now using PMC for their health care needs.  Last week, the hospital was a full bed capacity (25) for several days and has been averaging between 15 to 18 beds per day over the past few weeks.  Fairchild said some of the numbers were attributable to the advent of the flu season.  Because of the patient influx, the September 30, free prostate screening clinic got off to a slow morning start, because the physicians who assist in the tests were still conducting their patient rounds. 

The hospital’s projected Primary Care Growth Summary for 2011 is predicting an almost 20% growth rate if the numbers stay on course for the rest of the year.  Since 2007 there have been increases listed for primary patient encounters.    These figures reflect visits to the Holly and Lamar medical clinics and the Women’s Health Care Center from that year.   The Convenient Care Clinic began operation in 2008 with 164 visitors and is expected to treat 4,798 by the end of 2011.  The Las Animas family practice clinic began in 2010 with 1,243 visits and projections through the end of the year are for 2,162.  Prowers  Medical Group became the region’s VA primary outpatient case clinic this summer, and has seen 421 patients, with the end of year visits, expected  at  564.  The Women’s Health Clinic in Lamar has lost visits, from 3,259 in 2007 to 1,613 to date, but the end of the year projected visits, 2,466, will be comparable to 2010’s numbers of 2,880.  This past July, the CCC and VA clinics were consolidated into the Lamar Medical Clinic-Rural Health Care, and the Women’s Health Center operations were consolidated into Lamar Medical Clinic effective, September 1, 2011.  The monthly average visits to the CCC, according to Fairchild are 350, who noted that some area residents are still unaware of the services it provides, as a low cost alternative to the emergency room at Prowers Medical Center.  Fairchild said preliminary discussions to establish similar clinic partnerships have begun for hospitals in Eads, in Springfield, and a similar partnership with the Las Animas Specialty Clinic. 

The VA clinic will hold an open house on Thursday November 10, the day before Veteran’s Day this year, and Fairchild said representatives from the federal VA are expected to participate. 

In other news, the board approved $400K in capital expenditures for various equipment upgrades, including: two new defibulators for $100K, a new John Deere tractor to replace the hospital’s current unit, a laparoscope for the surgical department, and a full-color, ultrasound unit which provides a more accurate, and faster diagnosis.  Purchase of an electronic dictation system was also approved. 

The hospital has hired two new medical providers, RN, Family Nurse Practitioner, Bethany Toliver-Peckler, who will start this month, and Dr. Theresa Garcia, FP/OB who will begin her practice in December, dividing her time between Lamar and the Las Animas Clinic.

By Russ Baldwin


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