|Trinity Standard - Local News
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King steps down from TMHD board
Trinity Standard -
TRINITY – Longtime Trinity Memorial Hospital District board member Larry King officially retired from his post Monday night when his letter of resignation was accepted. King was serving as the board's president at the time of his resignation and was immediately replaced by TMHD Vice President Dave Ward. Board member Jim Rippey was selected to fill the vice president's position. The hospital board's recording secretary, Pat King, also retired, effective Dec. 27. She is the wife of Larry King and had been an employee of East Texas Medical Center-Trinity and was not a voting member of the TMHD board. Ward indicated under the district's bylaws, King's seat on the board will be filled by an appointment, possibly as early as February, and would not be placed on the district May 11 election ballot. In related matters, the board received a report from Board Member Lois Saldana regarding the upcoming election. She noted five board seats will be on the May 11 ballot this year including the Position 1 seat now held by Rippey, the Position 3 seat now held by Marguery Williams, the Position 5 seat now held by Saldana, the Position 7 seat now held by Cheryl Spearman and the Position 9 seat now held by Jerry Russ. All five positions carry two year terms of office. Filing for positions on the TMHD ballot will begin on Jan. 30 and end on March 1. Renovation work During Monday's hospital board meeting, Rippey reported that the renovation of the old hospital administration offices into a pediatric clinic are nearing completion. The new clinic is now scheduled to be ready for use in early to mid April and would allow local pediatrician Dr. Amol Deshpande to move his offices from the First Physicians Clinic, which is attached to the south side of the hospital. The pediatric clinic would be connected to First Physicians Clinic by an enclosed walkway. The new clinic is designed to separate the younger patients from the old patients who are seeking treatment at the clinic. Rippey, who chairs the TMHD's Long Range Planning Committee, noted that with the completion of the pediatric clinic, there would be no major projects on the table for future development. "We need to start looking to see what we need for future improvements to the hospital," he said. Hospital Administrator Brett Kirkham noted that ETMC-Trinity is planning to convert two rooms in the new patient wing into additional patient rooms and to renovate four patient rooms in the old hospital. Rippey said those projects are relatively small compared to the recent renovations and additions that include the pediatric clinic, new business offices, surgical suite and patient wing. "We need some long range planning for major projects so we need to be thinking about what we need," he said. One suggestion offered by Rippey was the addition of an exercise room for use for physical therapy. It was also noted that the roof on the old hospital building was nearing its 20-year anniversary and might need replacing. Hospital activity During December, Kirkham reported that the local hospital provided $221,000 in reduced price or free "charity care" to local patients. During the month the hospital recorded 45 admissions, which is down by 10 from December 2011, and had 542 emergency room visits. Kirkham noted that unlike other areas of the state and nation, the hospital has not been impacted by flu patients. He noted that there has been an aggressive campaign to vaccinate area residents against influenza and that seems to be paying off. "The cases that the doctors are seeing are being caught early and are being handled on an out-patient basis," he told the TMHD board. Kirkham also reported that a new electronic medical records system is now set to be in place at the Trinity hospital by March 27 – three months earlier that had been previously announced. The records can be accessed by doctors at any ETMC hospital instantaneously and patients will be allowed to use a computer to access their own chart information. "This will be a state-of-the-art system and most of our physicians are already utilizing at least part of it," he said.