By LIBBY CLUETT
As many have noticed, veiled behind a bright red fence, construction is well underway on the Palo Pinto General Hospital Medical Office Building.
At the PPGH trustees' lengthy meeting Tuesday night, CEO Harris Brooks gave trustees an update on the new MOB, sited near U.S. Highway 180 West.
“The building is running smoothly. They're still pushing dirt, but it's on time and on budget,” said Brooks.
Also at Tuesday's meeting, Brooks informed trustees that PPGH will now outsource its in-patient pharmacy service. Mark Alcorn, staff pharmacist, retired and went into the ministry, and Pharmacy Director Ken Roark is about to retire. Brooks said Roark will retire at the end of the year.
After looking at four businesses – two large, national groups and two Texas pharmacy groups – Brooks said PPGH has engaged Luker Pharmacy Management, of Blanco, Texas, to manage the hospital's inpatient pharmacy.
He said the director of the pharmacy will live locally. He added that when needed, Roark has said he'd like to provide interim coverage.
Brooks said outsourcing will save PPGH money.
In other business, trustees:
• Heard an update on the Baker Hotel and the related tax-increment-financing district from the Area Growth Council's Steve Butcher and City Manager Lance Howerton. The TIF district was created to assist in the efforts to redevelop the historic Baker Hotel. Brooks said the board invites Butcher and Howerton, annually, to give an update, since PPGH is a taxing district and contributes to the TIF funds.
• Heard the quarterly nurse staffing committee report, which is required by law. Brooks said the report informed the board on nurse staffing issues – both over-staffing and under-staffing. He said morale has improved since the last report, largely because of the hiring of some new nurses, especially in the medical surgical unit.
• Heard a year-end financial report. Brooks said PPGH finished the year, preliminarily, with $3.3 million on the bottom line – an improvement from his first year, in 1999, when PPGH finished the year $2.5 million in the red. He said the hospital finished with 169 days cash on hand.
• Said farewell to outgoing Chief of Staff Dr. John Jones. Brooks said the medical staff held officer elections earlier this month for the new fiscal year, resulting in: Dr. Alice Ramsey (family practice) as the new chief of staff; Dr. George Thomas (hospitalist) as vice chief of staff; Dr. Jay Puppala (cardiologist) as secretary/treasurer; and Dr. Jones (emergency medicine) as the past chief of staff. Brooks said this group of four officers makes up PPGH's medical executive committee.
• The trustee's educational session was on the Myers Briggs personality test, led by J.C. Colton.