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HMH opening Radcliff family care center

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Facility to be established near Wilson Road gate at Fort Knox

By Marty Finley

Hardin Memorial Health’s arms now reach to the gates of Fort Knox.

The HMH Board of Trustees approved a business plan Tuesday morning to establish a family care center in Radcliff outside Fort Knox’s Wilson Road gate to expand its network as the need for primary care physicians grows.

The 1,700-square-foot space, former home of Bearclaw Coffee, is in the Wilson Gateway Plaza and is one of the last public buildings before reaching Fort Knox, said Assistant Vice President Jeff Kingery.

Kingery said HMH retains an option to lease an additional 1,700 square feet of space at a reduced rate if expansion is needed.

“Obviously the location of the center is ideal,” Kingery said. “It’s ideal for traffic.”

HMH hopes to capture Fort Knox and Radcliff traffic at the center, officials said. Kingery said the hospital is targeting an “aggressive” launch of March 1 but a more realistic opening may be April.

The building’s layout is simple, and the landlord is managing the construction build-out as part of rent stipulations, Kingery said. A floor layout provided by HMH identified a waiting room, front office, three exam rooms, a laboratory room, triage area, staff lounge, nurse and medical work space and restrooms.

It was not clear how many staff members will be employed, but Kingery said HMH plans to use experienced nurse practitioners at the center. HMH President and CEO Dennis Johnson said the hospital is equipped to add physicians as needed.

According to a profit and loss statement, HMH projects 4,600 visits in the first year with a gross revenue of $437,000 and net revenue of $240,350. Kingery estimated about $55,000 in capital purchases for medical equipment and supplies to mobilize the center with an annual rent payment of $29,087. Salaries and benefits will make up the bulk of expenses, with first-year costs projected at $267,182.74. The remainder of expenses for the first year is primarily for supplies, minor equipment and fees. A first-year shortfall of $154,889.78 is expected, according to HMH.

The hospital projects the center to turn a profit of $20,697 in its third year of operation with an estimated 6,600 visits and $376,200 in net revenue. By that point, salaries and benefits are expected to inch above $282,000.

Kingery said the hospital is taking advantage of the available space to expand its primary care physician base. A need is growing for primary care physicians with a growing and aging population and the advent of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which will provide insurance access to more patients. Kingery said trends indicate primary care physician fees will increase under the act while specialists will see their fees decrease or stay flat. Kingery said primary care physicians will serve as gatekeepers, controlling referrals and what procedures are performed in the future.

“By establishing a larger primary care network, we’ll be able to meet the need,” he said.

It is the first HMH-operated family care center established in Radcliff city limits. A center is located in northern Hardin County on Rogersville Road but Kingery said it serves more patients in the Vine Grove and the Flaherty areas. The health system operates seven family care centers, including locations in Magnolia, Sonora and Elizabethtown, Kingery said.

Johnson said Radcliff is an important location and one deserving and ready for a family care center.

“(It’s) a wonderful city and very important part of our service area,” he said.

Radcliff officials have propositioned for more medically related businesses to anchor in the city, and Mayor J.J. Duvall said this could serve as a catalyst to attract more interest to Radcliff.

“We think this is a great start to a great relationship,” he said.

Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 or mfinley@thenewsenterprise.com.

In other business:

  • Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Elmer Cummings told the Hardin Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees the hospital’s bad debt has skyrocketed through October, exceeding budget by more than $1.7 million at $7.2 million. Cummings said part of the problem is a higher volume of patients and the hospital’s failure to jump on collections early. Cummings said the hospital has moved more employees in place to deal with the influx and to help ease the transition of patients from bad debt to charity care by enrolling them in programs to offset the cost of their medical bills. Cummings said billing and collections also has been moved under the umbrella of financial services, which will offer more time to process bills. HMH President and CEO Dennis Johnson said the hospital has one of the highest Emergency Department volumes in the state but is not being paid for all of its services. Bad debt accrues when patients fail to pay their bills. Hardin Judge-Executive Harry Berry said the numbers reflect a significant increase from the same time last year and asked for documents explaining whether or not some of the claims are for more expensive treatments.
  • The board approved the replacement of a GE cath/interventional laboratory system, setting a cap on costs at $2.4 million. According to the business plan, the lab, which was purchased in 1996, is past its useful life and has been under maintenance seven times in the past 12 months, during which the system was non-functional for 19 days and had limited use for 14 days. The new system is expected to include “innovative hardware and software capabilities” to assist cardiologists and vascular surgeons in their formulation of treatment plans and diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. The system includes a one-year warranty and $30,000 annual service agreement. Specifications still are being designed and the preferred vendor should be chosen next month. The project was not budgeted and will be funded through substitutions in the capital budget.
  • HMH renewed its services with First Federal Savings Bank after issuing requests for proposals to nine banks. Cummings said the hospital received four proposals from First Federal, JP Morgan Chase, PNC and Republic. First Federal offered a better deal on interest rate basis points and did not require a monthly fee as did the other bids, Cummings said. First Federal also guaranteed courier service and two cash-dispensing ATMs at the hospital for no cost.
  • The board approved the acquisition of two properties at 206 and 302 Mercer Street for a total of $200,000. Michelle Murphy, director of marketing and public relations, said the purchases are in line with a strategy to purchase properties adjacent to the hospital’s main campus on Dixie Avenue.
  • Tom Carrico, vice president and chief information officer, provided an update on the hospital’s information technology upgrades. Carrico said HMH is in the process of adopting a fully functional computerized provider order entry, which allows a physician to enter patient instructions electronically that will be relayed through a network to various departments in charge of fulfilling the order. The CPOE should be complete by late 2013. HMH also hopes to have an ambulatory electronic health record adopted next year and is installing a private health information exchange giving physicians and medical staff access to patient reports and data across the shared network. Carrico said the hospital also is working on a personal health record for patients to access and review their own medical information and is installing infrastructure to meet performance needs and security requirements of an electronic health record.