By LIBBY CLUETT
In his report to the Palo Pinto County Hospital District board Tuesday, CEO Harris Brooks informed trustees that plans on the medical office building are moving forward.
“We are getting a lot of end-user's input on how things should flow,” he said.
In previous meetings, Brooks explained that Palo Pinto General Hospital is looking into adding a 30,000-square-foot medical office building at the northwest corner of the hospital property, near U.S. Highway 180 West and the hospital's marquee. The rough-estimate building cost given in October was $9.08 million.
On Tuesday, he also gave trustees a draft request-for-qualifications memo, setting forth the scope of services needed to conduct a facilities assessment. The assessment would include the current locations, use and condition of buildings on the hospital's main campus, the long-term viability of the main building and the usefulness of two patio areas.
Brooks pointed out that the assessment would address challenges facing PPGH. It would also identify areas of weakness and include a prioritized recommendation of effective, efficient use of funds to address the weaknesses.
He asked trustees to read the RFQ memo and suggest changes.
In other business Brooks announced a $5,000 donation from the PPGH Auxiliary for the Wellness Track and gazebo.
“The gazebo is coming along. [Crews] put on a tin roof and are still working on the wrought-iron fencing [around the gazebo],” he said.
Brooks also informed trustees that he is still working on recruiting a family practitioner and pulmonologist. He added that Dr. Candace Covington, the newest general surgeon to the PPGH area, started in December.
Chief Financial Officer Dee Waldow reported that December showed a $443,672 net loss for the month. However, she attributed that to a “poor payor mix.”
Medicare, Medicaid and self-pay patients accounted for 81 percent of the payors, which is 5-percent to 10-percent higher than an average month, she informed trustees. Waldow added that the associated bad debt was $891,593.
In addition, she said the average number of days it took PPGH to collect on accounts, in December, was high, at 59 days. However, Waldow said this is typical of December since many insurance companies are closed for up to two weeks during the holidays and do not process claims.
The total number of patient visits in December were as follows, according to Waldow's report:
• 2,128 emergency room visits – a record monthly high.
• 256 Heart Center visits.
• 1,672 PPGH rural-health clinic visits.
• 141 surgeries.
In addition, Waldow shared that the average daily census at PPGH was 19.4 and the hospital had 194 discharges.