|Trinity Standard - Local News
Stories Added - June 2009
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Surgical suite added to ETMC plan
Trinity Standard - June 2009
TRINITY – Planned construction of a new patient wing has been expanded to include a surgery area at East Texas Medical Center-Trinity.
During Monday’s meeting of the Trinity Memorial Hospital District (TMHD) board of directors, officials announced that ETMC is now planning to include space for a surgical suite in the new construction.
ETMC Hospital Administrator Warren Robicheaux told the board that ETMC officials want to at least “shell in” the surgical area and possible come back at a later date to complete it.
“Hopefully, we will be able to get it completed when we build the new patient wing, but we at a minimum want to have the surgical space set up in the event we have to wait to finish it,” he said.
Robicheaux said the plan is to begin construction on the new patient wing this fall. Construction is expected to take about 14 months.
“We may be able to start the dirt work and land clearing earlier, but right now we’re probably looking at early fall for construction to begin,” he added.
Once finished, the hospital will have 25-26 patient rooms with the rooms including restrooms and showers. The rooms in the existing hospital currently do not have shower facilities.
The new wing will be built on the north side of the existing hospital and will also include waiting rooms, additional nurses’ stations and other support facilities.
While ETMC is building the new hospital wing, the facility will be owned by the local hospital district. ETMC currently operates the local hospital under a lease with TMHD.
To help fund the facility, the TMHD has agreed to put another $300,000 in the Upper Payment Limit (UPL) account sometime in July.
Under the Medicare UPL program, money paid by TMHD is matched with federal funds at a rate of about 160 percent and then returned for use to support indigent care.
ETMC will then use the UPL Medicare funds to support indigent care throughout its system. This will in turn free up other ETMC money for use in the construction of the new local hospital wing.
The $300,000 being invested by TMHD in the UPL in July also will count against the $300,000 which the district pays ETMC each year for local indigent care.
This is the same way the district and ETMC financed the construction of the new clinic which formally opened adjacent to the hospital last month.
TMHD has paid its annual indigent care costs for several years in advance in order to help ETMC fund the new clinic and the new patient wing.
During the TMHD meeting, the board approved the district’s budget for the coming year.
The budget, which goes into effect on July 1, calls for revenues of $666,200 and operating expenses of $438,000.
Almost all of the income -- $645,000 – is expected from property tax revenue using a tax rate of 18.22 cents per $100 in assessed value.
The rate listed in the budget is unchanged from the 2009 tax rate.
The largest expense item in the new budget is the $300,000 payment planned in July to the UPL program.
Also budgeted is $42,000 to the Trinity County Appraisal District to cover the district’s share of that office’s expenses and $46,000 to cover the cost of collecting the taxes.
The budget lists revenue in excess of expenses at $228,200.
During the meeting, TMHD board members also:
• Selected Larry King as the new board president, Dave Ward as the vice president and Carlyn Bluis as the secretary. Ward had served as the president for the past five years but asked to be allowed to step aside. Ward also recommended King, the long-time vice president, for the job but agreed to accept the vice president’s position.
• Learned that efforts were underway to set up a meeting with Dan Barnes to discuss the disposition of the old ETMC Clinic on Main Street.
• Learned from Robicheaux that since the new clinic opened its doors in April, the average number of patients jumped from 45 per day at the old location up to 92 per day at the new facility. Much of that gain was attributed to pediatrician Dr. Amol Deshpande moving his practice into the new facility. Robicheaux told the board ETMC had to hire two more support personnel, including one Spanish speaker, to assist with the increased work load.