The Fulton County Hospital Board held their monthly meeting Sept. 22 in the dining room of the hospital.
The hospital's Director of Physical Therapy Lance Gross announced to the board that his department is doing a marketing campaign to spread the word that Fulton County Hospital has a physical therapy department. Gross said the program has been at the hospital for at least 20 years and very few people know about it. He said the marketing campaign has advertised the department on prescription pads for local doctors and will expand their marketing to Mountain Home and West Plains, Mo. "Right now the physical therapy department works in three old hospital rooms and in the hallway," Gross said. "We need to do something with our space (problem)."
Salem Police Chief and hospital board member Albert Roork expressed his regret that the board did not foreseeing this problem. "It's unfortunate that we didn't plan for (more space)," Roork said. Several board members added, that in the future, the board would have to re-examine the issue.
Chief Information Officer Phillip Hughes presented the radiology update. He said the radiology network is growing in size, sophistication and security. It is also putting out more data faster and safely, he said. "The phone lines are now all indoors as opposed to strung out on the roof," Hughes said. The hospital also has new computers that are cost effective and faster, Hughes said. According to Hughes, the automated information flow (PACS) still has some kinks to work out. "We're having growing pains with it," Hughes said. The new system has now been running for about a week, Hughes said.
Hospital Administrator Angela Richmond said the digital PACS system uses less film and eliminates currier fees as opposed to the old film X-rays and images that had to be delivered to the hospital.
"The radiology component is going to help so much more efficiently," Board Chairman Dr. Griffin Arnold said. "We'll be able to do more with less time."
"It all goes to basic service of the community," said board member Vicki Fowlkes. "That's what we're all about."
Board member Jerry Estes voiced concerns about patient confidentiality. He asked the board about the policies regarding people who come in and ask for personal information about patients and claim to be someone they are not.
Hospital employees informed him that most of those problems are covered with the HIPPA agreement, which protects patients' medical records. But there are still people who will lie to get other people's information.
"We are sending people to train for things like that," Richmond said.
In other news the board announced the employment of Leslie Batterton. She is the new director of nursing. Batterton, however, couldn't make it to the meeting to be introduced but there were several people there who praised the work she has done for the hospital since she's been hired. "We're very glad Leslie is coming on board," Dr. Arnold said.
In the financial report, Richmond said everything is fairly consistent with last month. However, "We have more cash coming in," Richmond said. The hospital's cash flow for August was $30,704 compared to July's $8,161. Inpatient revenue was up to $487,097 in August of this year compared to $317,593 for the same month last year. Swingbed revenue was up as well. In August, swingbed revenue was $107,659. Last year's August had $8,061. Outpatient revenue was up to $822,796 in August compared to $327,889 in the same month last year.
The next hospital board meeting will be held Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. in Dining Room B at the hospital. The public is invited to attend.