During the June meeting of the Hardin Memorial Health (HMH) Board of Trustees held via ZOOM, the board discussed the budget impact of COVID-19. March, April and May operational budgets showed a combined operational loss of $13.7 million as these were the three months significantly impacted by state-issued restrictions designed to “flatten the curve” and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Funding received from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act ($8.7 million) will help offset these losses.
Pam Gallagher, HMH’s interim Chief Financial Officer, shared that operating income for the first 11 months of Fiscal Year 2020 was $14.7 million less than budgeted. March saw an operating income loss of $4.9 million, and April trended even higher with a nearly $7 million loss. Much of this was due to extraordinary expenses as HMH prepared for a potential patient surge and worked to secure personal protective equipment (PPE), establish the Respiratory Virus Evaluation Center (RVEC), transform and add critical care rooms and much more. The elimination of elective procedures greatly contributed to the loss. In May, as HMH began returning elective procedures, the deficient was far less at only a $1.9 million loss.
“While much has been discussed about the physical, emotional and personal toll of COVID-19, we are realizing the full extent that the pandemic and healthcare restrictions had on HMH’s financial health,” Gallagher said. “The virus changed how, when and where we cared for patients, but our team performed well, cut expenses and even created and executed some innovative new processes that benefited patients.”
Dennis Johnson, HMH President and CEO, praised his team for their commitment to patients and for their fiscal responsibility despite the most trying situation in HMH’s 66-year history.
“Our team began preparing for the novel coronavirus in January long before others, and they continued to deliver results for our system and for our patients from those days until now,” Johnson said. “COVID-19 is not over by any stretch of the imagination, and the HMH team remains at the ready. I couldn’t be more proud or more thankful to have this team and this system ready to care for everyone in Central Kentucky.”
During the pandemic, nearly all HMH physicians and advanced practice clinicians began conducting video visits with patients. HMH also upgraded facilities and added other patient services for those who are COVID-19 positive. One such upgrade was the newly-equipped negative pressure rooms in the HMH Intensive Care and Coronary Care Units. The negative pressure rooms are outfitted with HEPA filters that extract and filter the air before releasing it outside the hospital. This helps prevent airborne diseases like COVID-19 from escaping the room. This innovation improved safety for staff and patients.
In addition to these innovations, HMH worked closely with its staff to implement voluntary furloughs, volunteer income reductions and hour flexing (a common practice in healthcare when patient census is low). For some HMH employees, this was an added hardship as they cared for patients.
The HMH Foundation established the COVID-19 Emergency Fund to thank the staff and offer support during the pandemic. Individuals, community groups and local businesses who want to support HMH caregivers and patients can make monetary donations online at ourhmh.org. Donors may also mail checks to HMH Foundation, 913 North Dixie Avenue, Elizabethtown, KY 42701. All donations are 100 percent tax deductible.
Central Cardiology Associates
HMH Medical Group Central Cardiology Associates (CCA) welcomed two new cardiologists – Bart Dawson, M.D. and Brian Price, M.D. HMH’s cardiology service line continues to grow, and recruitment of physicians remains a priority.
Dr. Dawson provides general cardiology services with a special focus on treating arrhythmias with devices like automatic internal cardioverter defibrillators (AICD) and pacemakers. He also provides regular device monitoring and equipment maintenance. Dr. Dawson is Board Certified by the American College of Cardiology, and certified as a cardiac device specialist by the International Board of Heart Rhythm Examiners. He sees patients in Elizabethtown and Lebanon.
Dr. Price, an interventional cardiologist, treats cardiovascular diseases through procedures that predominantly use catheters, such as angioplasty and stenting. He also diagnoses and treats coronary artery disease, vascular disease and acquired structural heart disease. Dr. Price, who also completed his Juris Doctor, is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular Disease, Interventional Cardiology, and Adult Comprehensive Echocardiography. He sees patients in Elizabethtown and Bardstown.
HMH Stroke Program
In May, the Joint Commission completed a review of the HMH Stroke Program. After a thorough review of the program, goals and leaders, HMH received a recertification as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center. In addition to the Advanced Primary Stroke Center certification, the stroke team was previously recognized by the American Stroke Association’s Stroke Get with the Guidelines(R) Gold Plus Honor Roll-Elite.
Three HMH employees were recognized as Ambassadors during the board meeting. Dawn Johnson, a certified medical assistant at HMH Medical Group Bardstown Family Medical Center, received the Ambassador Award in January 2020. A co-worker nominated Johnson praising her resiliency. The co-workers cited how she treats everyone with respect, rarely misses work, and always responds well to challenges.
The February 2020 Ambassador was Beth Carrier, an office assistant and greeter at HMH’s Women’s Care Center. She was nominated by a co-worker who recognized her outstanding customer service skills. Carrier is regularly looking ahead at service orders and procedure schedules to ensure that patients are registered efficiently with little to no delay.
Sara Powell, a certified medical assistant at Elizabethtown Ortho was named the March 2020 Ambassador of the Month. Powell was nominated by a co-worker and praised for her positive outlook at all times. The nomination also cited she is always willing to help a co-worker and offer an encouraging word.
HMH’s Jamie Vincent, a registered nurse in Outpatient Nursing Services, recently was named the January honoree for the HMH DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses. A patient nominated Vincent praising her patient-focused care. The patient noted how “Jamie sees me as a person, not just another patient with another problem.”
Honey Bee Award
Bret Thompson, an employee in purchasing, received the Honey Bee Award for January for his willingness to search and secure important supplies for a patient. A patient was transfused with 91 units of blood products causing reduced stock of blood infuser tubing. When contacted at 8 p.m. on a Friday night about the supply need, Thompson found the tubing in Jeffersonville, Indiana, and volunteered to drive to get the supplies. The much-needed tubing was delivered to HMH’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) by 1 a.m.
Samantha Fletcher, a secretary in Pre-admission Testing, received the February 2020 Honey Bee Award. Fletcher was nominated by a co-worker who overheard Fletcher on the phone with a patient. The patient was inadvertently connected to Pre-admission Testing; however, the patient was expressing feelings of helplessness and frustration about her current situation. Over the next half hour, Fletcher calmly spoke with the patient and helped resolved the issue.