Together, we have risen to new heights. Choctaw Regional Medical Center is celebrating five years of service.
We are proud to announce that your community hospital, Choctaw Regional Medical Center is on the verge of its five-year anniversary. In traditional times, the fifth year of marriage is often referred to as the “Wood” anniversary. Someone a long time ago came up with a list of gifts for each anniversary. It goes Paper, Cotton, Leather, Fruit or Flower, and then Wood. Look it up on the web sometime, and you will be amazed at the odd monikers attached to each anniversary.
While the anniversary of a marriage is much more significant than the anniversary of opening Choctaw Regional Medical Center, there are some obvious similarities. This health system is the direct result of a union between the community and the hospital. It’s also a living commitment, one that we take very seriously. You put your trust in our hands everyday to care for you and your loved ones. As we look back over the last five years, we recognize challenges overcome and proudly celebrate the achievements we have made for the community we serve.
Some of you in the community are fully aware of the vast accomplishments to your rural health system because you or a loved one has experienced these services first hand. For those of you who are less familiar with our brand of healthcare, we would like to take a moment to review the milestones over the last five years of service.
First and foremost, it is important for us recognize that the success of Choctaw Regional Medical Center would not have been possible without the overwhelming and steadfast support of this community, the county supervisors, the hospital board, and the incredible employees of this health system. Statistically, rural hospitals have been closing at an alarming rate across our country. According to a new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, sixty-four rural hospitals closed between 2013-2017. This is twice the number of closures that occurred in the previous five-year period. In order to overcome the slim odds for success, it truly takes a community and a hospital working together. So, from all of the staff at Choctaw Regional Medical Center and its affiliated clinics and facilities, we sincerely thank the leadership of Choctaw County and each and every resident of this community.
With that word of appreciation, let’s dive right into the numbers. The financial health of your community healthcare system is strong. There are two main factors that have led to our success – growth and efficiency. We have introduced and adopted service lines that meet the growing medical needs of our community. The hospital has also been relentlessly working to make the process of delivering your healthcare as efficient as possible.
Our management company, Trilogy Healthcare Solutions, has been an ideal partner in helping us maintain superior patient care, increase payments for our services, and reduce expenses. Up until 2016, the hospital had been utilizing two separate management companies. In the end, Trilogy was selected as the best management solution for our health system, which has resulted in Trilogy helping us lower our management fees by 61%. Their management has also played a vital role in identifying and implementing our growth and efficiency directives resulting in a more sustainable healthcare organization for the foreseeable future.
Our Growth and Efficiency action plan has been quite effective. Here are some quick examples of how our two-fold approach has garnered tremendous results. The number of ER patients we treat has been on a steady rise over the last five years, while the number of patients transferred out of the ER has declined. Acute patient admission is at an all time high in 2019, while our Swing Bed patient numbers have remained consistent. This year, clinic visits at our three family medicine clinics have increased by over 13,500 visits compared to 2015, and we incorporated extended clinic hours and a walk-ins welcome policy to be more convenient for our patients. We have been efficient in the staffing of our health system with 234 full time employees, seven physicians, two visiting physician specialists, and twelve nurse practitioners. Our workforce shares a unique bond – a tireless work ethic and a true passion to care for others.
Our staff is second to none, and their impact on the community in the past five years can be summed up with these quick facts. We had 16,718 Emergency Department visits. There were 1,003 admissions from the Emergency Department. We average 20 annual emergency air evacuations from the Emergency Department. In the past five years we had 134,418 clinic visits. We provide a yearly average of $450,000 in indigent/charity care. We have spent $1,250,000 with local vendors/businesses since 2014. In five years time, the CRMC health system supplied $13,600,000 in local salaries and benefits to a workforce that continues to deliver an unmatched level of care.
Over the last five years we have had some significant additions to our service lines, as well as improvements to our facilities. Every improvement to the CRMC health system is the result of identifying a growing need, careful planning, and efficient implementation.
In our radiology department, we have added MRI and digital radiography (DR). Additionally, the department obtained ACR accreditation for multiple imaging modalities. This is a result and testimony to CRMC’s commitment to offering the best quality healthcare to our community members.
Telehealth has been a wonderful addition to our service line, enabling us to provide specialty medical services not often found in rural healthcare. We are now able to offer psychiatry, diabetes management, sleep medicine, infectious disease, osteoporosis, genetic counseling, and geriatric services. This program helps patients get the care they need without ever leaving the comfort of their hometown.
When we heard stories of patients having to drive out of town to receive medications like Prolia, Remicade, and Orencia, we began planning a solution. In an attempt to keep patients happy at home, we now offer a wide spectrum of injections and infusions through our outpatient infusion department located within the hospital. There’s no longer a need for our patients to travel out of town or sit long hours in a cancer center to receive these drugs!
A comprehensive renovation was done on the south side of our nursing home. An additional 13 beds opened February 2018, making the facility licensed for 73 beds. The project also included a new therapy area with room for additional therapy equipment and a living room area with a game table and large screen television for resident enjoyment. Skilled Medicare Services was added in October 2018, allowing us to bill Medicare for qualifying short-term stays in the facility. The emphasis has been on providing intensive therapy to those residents to allow them to gain their highest practicable functional status. We have also begun work on our Sensory Garden. This peaceful garden will provide a place for residents to be outside and enjoy all the sights and sounds that nature provides. Various types of plants will add color and aroma to stimulate the senses. Residents will have the availability of a wheelchair garden, a safe pathway, and a gazebo to enjoy. If you have not yet seen the incredible transformation of our nursing home, I would invite you to drop by and take a tour of the facility. You will be amazed with the renovations and fall in love with the nursing staff.
Since we are extending invitations, I would also like to give you and your family an open invitation to visit, tour, and meet the medical team of our Swing Bed unit within the hospital. Since a Swing Bed stay is usually something that can be planned, like recovering from knee or hip replacement surgery, you have the option to select where you can recover. Our Swing Bed program has spacious, well-appointed rooms, on-site physical therapy, and an expert medical staff. Best of all, our Swing Bed patients are close to home, close to family, and being cared for by neighbors in their community. So if there is a Swing Bed stay in your future, come by and see the wonderful option available to you right here in Ackerman.
In closing, Choctaw Regional Medical Center would like to extend one more invitation, to a party. On Thursday, August 1st, we will be celebrating our 5-year anniversary with a reception in the dining room of the hospital from 1pm to 3pm. Everyone is invited! Please make plans to attend. Bring your family and friends for a celebration of the incredible healthcare achievements we have built together over the last five years. We would love to see you and thank you in person for the support you have shown for your community health system. We hope to see you there!
Jamie Rodgers, FACHE
Chief Executive Officer
Choctaw Regional Medical Center
It’s a time like this that a person realizes how much family and friends mean. To everyone who has said a prayer, sent a message, or asked about me, I want to say thank you!
To everyone who visited while I was in the hospital and since my rehab at home: thank you!
And to all the people who helped the benefit for me at Simpson Volunteer Fire Department be a success, I am deeply grateful. Whether you baked a cake, took up donations, handled the planning, donated items for the auction, or came out to show love and support, I am so very grateful.
The efforts shown to support me will never be forgotten. I ask for your continued prayers as I still have many obstacles ahead.
Mike Bramlett and family.