Sunday, April 26, 2009

Greenville Pride!

GREENVILLE DDT: More than 40 potential bidders and subcontractors attended a pre-bid conference for the Washington County regional jail Thursday at the Washington County Courthouse.

The pre-bid conference with architects and members of the Board of Supervisors gave bidders a chance to meet while obtaining information about seven bid packages covering different aspects of construction.

The turnout pleased and surprised county officials.“I wasn't expecting as many people as we had to come out,” said Washington County Board of Supervisors President Paul Watson Jr. “It shows that there are a lot of people out there very interested in this project.”

The Bids are scheduled to be opened during the regular Board of Supervisors meeting on May 18. The new prison, a 500-inmate facility, will house 300 state prisoners and 90 from the city.

The remainder will be county inmates. Plans call for the facility to be built on five acres of land on King-Stokes Road, just off U.S. 82.

Now here's a project of which we should all be proud! What better place to build a prison than in Greenville? Water parks, restaurants, recreation facilities... forget about 'em... what WE need is a prison!

A prison will help keep Delta families (gangs) together. When these felons check out, they will return to their native streets and hoods, having perfected their "trades" in the big house. As prisoners, they will have access to free education and physical fitness, so when they emerge, they will be better educated and more physically fit "felons".

Employers will be eager to hire these reformed cons for their newly learned skills and trades, so the new prison is just a "win-win" for everyone! RIGHT?


P.S. I hear the city council is considering installing speed bumps on the newly paved Washington Avenue, to deter its latest use as a motorcycle drag strip. Wow, another Epiphany of logic... transforming concave pot-holes into convex "bumps". Gotta love 'em!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Praise for ER Staff!

Appreciative patient said...

I want to say a positive for the DRMC ER STAFF. I recently had a severe allergic reaction to medication with a BP of 70/40. I was obviously very ill and covered in hives and splotches. I had to be ambulanced from the clinic to the DRMC.

The Ambulance staff were very kind and alert to my needs before, during and at the end of my transportation across town. Once arriving, the DRMC staff immediately took action to admit me and determine the cause of the reaction. Every one was attentive, courteous and professional. When questioned they answered an explanation or offered it, before the question occurred.

Knowing how low my BP was, I was scared to death and doing a lot of mental praying to God from the ride in the ambulance to arrival at DRMC. Within a short time, the physician, Hilton O'Neal and staff had my symptoms back under control. I had arrived around 4:30/5:00 PM and was treated and released in much better shape by 6:30PM.

At the end of the evening, I was splotch free and feeling sooo much better!!! I was truly relieved and impressed by everyone taking care of me. Thanks to all on the ER day staff on April 14th, 2009!!

It is great to hear a positive note about DRMC. The truth is that DRMC has some excellent doctors and nurses who are very talented and dedicated to their jobs. Positive ER experiences are rarely shared... because good service is what we expect from all health care providers.

Almost all of the criticism directed toward DRMC seems to be centered around its administration and their seemingly wasteful expenditures and unappreciative attitude toward staff.

It is hard for doctors and nurses to take pride in their jobs if they are not "appreciated" by the leadership of the hospital. Sure, both physicians and nurses make very good salaries, but if you dread going to work every day because of the bureaucratic BS from above, you can not perform your job effectively.

Health care dollars need to be spent "at the bedside" rather than in the "boardroom". If you look at any successful hospital in the country, you will see the "teamwork" starts at the top. When leaders lose sight of the fact that the patient is THE most important person in the hospital, quality care is compromised and the hospital's reputation will eventually suffer. Such is the case at DRMC.

I commend the employees of DRMC for their dedication to patient care in the face of administrative "abandonment". One of the first lessons in medical school is how to differentiate treating the causes of an illness rather than its "symptoms". To blame the many talented clinical staff members at DRMC is to attack the symptoms of a problem... without ever addressing the actual cause.


Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Another Financial Folly?

GREENVILLE - The wait for medical personnel to arrive at an accident scene may have been considerably reduced now that Delta Regional Medical Center has merged with Air Evac Lifeteam.

As a result, the Delta now has emergency air transportation.“This is something that is needed,” said Ray Humphreys, CEO of DRMC. Beginning in July, an Air Evac helicopter will be based at the DRMC Pavilion. The helicopter and its crew will be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Humphreys said the hospital sees about 50,000 trauma patients in a year, representing about 10 percent of those seen in the state.

The closest Air Evac helicopter is based in Batesville. The new Greenville facility will reduce reaction time to and from an accident scene.“This is so valuable to Washington County in terms of the lives that it will save,” said Washington County Board of Supervisors Mike Gordon.

Emergency air transportation is not cheap.

According to Bubba Bell, a former Greenville firefighter who will be the program director of the DRMC operation, and DRMC Board of Trustees member Bill Schultz, an average flight is around $15,000.

While no one who needs the helicopter service will be denied, there will be a membership program. For $50 a year, an individual will not have to pay for an Air Evac flight if needed. Membership costs $55 per couple and $60 for a household of three or more. “It's a very smooth flight,” said Schultz, who flew in for Monday's lunchtime press conference. “I wasn't worried at all.”

The concept here is great and could prove to be a life-saving service. However, my concern is not the wait time for transport to DRMC, but the wait time once you arrive at the ER... and the quality of care. Inadequate staffing (both nurses and physicians) remains a major problem at DRMC.

At a cost of $15,000 per flight, it will take 300 "members" to pay for one uninsured, non-member's flight. The majority of patients treated at DRMC are medicaid or "self-pay" (which equates to "no pay"), so this will rapidly become a very expensive venture for our county hospital. Since no one will be refused this service, there is no incentive for the the uninsured or under-insured to pay the very reasonable price of membership.

I am afraid that given our demographics, the membership fee would need to be at least $1,000 per year to offset the massive costs of indigent care that will be provided... and we all know who eventually pays for "indigent care."

Don't get me wrong. In a medical emergency, we are all thankful for every service that can be provided. The issue is cost... and who will eventually pay the price. Is this something that Washington County can afford and is it a prudent expenditure in this time of national economic crisis. Medicaid is already operating in the red and hospitals are facing additional taxes to support these programs for the indigent.

As much as we dislike thinking of hospitals as "businesses", they are, and the leaders have to be responsible with the public funds which support them. Once again, my advice to DRMC is to focus on their quality of basic acute patient care and quit having delusions of becoming a "TV Emergency Room."

If I were ever a member of the DRMC "flight club" for $50 a year, I would tip the pilot $1,000 to just take me to Memphis!