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2014 - Another Year of Growth for Girard Medical Center

by Hometown News - Jeanie Erwin

Recently, officials from Girard Medical Center helped us take a look back and recounted some of GMC’s most significant changes, growth, and accomplishments for 2014. From being recognized as a leader in quality indicators to expanding its medical services, the hospital continues to enhance patient care each year.

2014 began with continued discussion of establishing an after-hours weekend care clinic. The board brought this to administration when the community voiced their support for such a clinic.  Express Care opened in April with 9-5 hours on Saturday and Sunday.  The community continues to support it as evidenced by the number of patients seen. This service provides one more point of access for quality health care to our community.

Quality service remained central in 2014, and Girard Medical Center takes pride in being in the top 10% of the CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services) quality indicators. GMC’s Board of Trustees hears quarterly reports at board meetings regarding the quality indicators and they make sure steps are in place to continue to improve. The hospital is particularly proud of its ER wait times compared to state and national averages. Wait times in the Trauma IV designated ER are approximately 20% less than state times and 50% less than national times.

The year also saw General Surgeon, Dr. Chandroutie Latchman, who specializes in bariatric surgery begin a Bariatric Sleeve Gastrectomy program in March. With obesity remaining a national concern, the Bariatric Sleeve Gastrectomy program provides a valuable service.  The program is thriving and dozens of patients have had the procedure at GMC since the program has started and their success stories can be seen on facebook (facebook.com/girardmedicalcenter) and the hospital website (girardmedicalcenter.com).

Girard Medical Center has also enjoyed serving the senior population through the thriving Home Health and Senior Behavioral Health (SBH) programs. Recent demographics indicate an increase in the senior population which has increasingly utilized GMC services. 2014 revenue was up 44% over the prior year in home health and the inpatient/outpatient Behavioral Health programs continue to be beneficial for both the hospital and the community.

The Board of Trustees and Administration addressed the need in Arma for residents to have access to high-quality primary care, and brought in a family practice physician in October.  Dr. Joel Tang MD is the new physician of the Arma Clinic and is quickly building up the practice. Mike Payne commented, “He is highly-skilled and has well-developed medical knowledge, as well as a kind caring attitude.”

 Another significant change was in the launch of a new program that brings affordable prescription medications to the community. In November the hospital launched the 340B Program in partnership with Mathis Drug Store to expand access to affordable medications to uninsured patients.  .

Although the hospital experienced a loss in 2014, they still have a solid and strong cash position.  EBIDA (Earnings before interest, depreciation and amortization) for 2014 was over 1 million dollars.  EBIDA can be used to analyze and compare profitability because it eliminates the effects of financing and accounting decisions.  The hospital’s bond coverage ratio was 1.3 which was well above the required 1.15 ratio needed to cover the existing debt. 
“One of our priorities is to budget funds in a way to be certain we work together with administration and healthcare providers to control cost and still deliver the highest quality care to our community,” said Board Chairman Glen Mathis.

Girard Medical Center continues to look forward and many exciting changes are already in the works for 2015. Coming in March, Trustees want to ensure patients are offered the latest technology and most advanced treatment options.  Upgrades continue to be made in equipment, the latest of which will be digital mammography due to arrive soon. More information about this Foundation/Community-funded equipment will follow next month.

March will also see the visiting physician clinic add a Rheumatologist Dr. Radadiya.  The addition of Dr. Radadiya will add nicely to the rotation of GMC’s current visiting physicians consisting of Cardiologists, Ear Nose and Throat doctors, a Podiatrist, Orthopedic Surgeon, Bariatric Surgeon, General Surgeons, and a Neurologist.

Although GMC accomplishments have been significant in 2014, the board has a renewed vigor for advancing exceptional healthcare. “Each year brings a new challenge or opportunity,” Board Member Robert Tersinar says. “It’s important that our hospital continue to adapt to the changing healthcare environment.”