Mississippi County hospital making improvements - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Mississippi County hospital making improvements

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback

BLYTHEVILLE, AR (KAIT) - For years, the hospitals in Mississippi county have had problems with ownership, management and age and lack of doctors. But 2011 may put them on the comeback trail.

Ralph Beaty is the system CEO with QHR, a management company out of Tennessee. QHR took over from Ameris in 2009. What QHR inherited was a mess, but Beaty says there are signs of recovery.

Beaty, "Well we're not necessarily coming back from the dead but we're coming back from a fairly grave illness if you want to put it in health care lingo."

And Beaty is right.  Over the past couple of years it seemed like the two hospitals had one foot in the grave with money issues, employee lay offs and lack of doctors. Now Beaty says doctor recruitment is up.

Beaty, "There has been a lot of hard work put into physician recruiting and there has been a lot of good luck, being in the right place at the right time."

As many as 6 new doctors including surgeons and a hospitalist are either in place or committed to coming as well as an Advanced Nurse Practitioner for the Women's Health Program.

More doctors attract more patients which means more income for the hospitals and less dependence on the county for funds. And the hospitals are definitely busy. Nearly 400 babies a year are born in Blytheville, the Emergency Rooms see nearly 21 Thousand patients a year.

Board of Governors chairman John Logan says the board is pleased with the progress made so far. Logan says the board has 2 major goals; Doctor Recruitment and getting into the black.

Logan, "Our financial's which has been one of the biggest problems. We feel like we are going to be in the black by the end of this year or at least in the 3rd quarter."

Over the past several years the Blytheville hospital has made multiple upgrades starting with new furniture and bedding, a new celebratory dining room for brand new parents and new equipment for the emergency room and surgery.

Just this week the Blytheville hospital went on-line with UAMS to provide better emergency stroke care. The system called Arkansas Saves uses a high speed video communications system to allow Neurologists in Little Rock to help diagnose and treat patients in Blytheville's area. This link up will be used in the E.R. and is available 24/7.

More new equipment and refurbishment has been installed in the Wellness Center. Totally rebuilt after the 2009 ice storm, the Wellness center is open to members 24/7. Member Robert Cherry was busy pumping iron when we stopped by to check out the facility.

Cherry, "Ever since I been out of high school and college this is what keeps me going. It keeps my stress level down where I don't have to have blood pressure medicine or anything like that."

Logan is hoping both hospitals will see a strong 20-11, and hopes the residents of Mississippi county see the difference.

Logan, "Having something we can really deliver to the community and the people here in Mississippi County."

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