Sale results in 5-month budget for HMH

The Hardin Memorial Health Board of Trustees approved its final operating budget Tuesday.

The $5.1 million five-month budget covers HMH through November at which time Baptist Health is scheduled to take ownership, HMH Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Lennis Thompson said.

The budget includes capital investments to replace obsolete equipment, including a $1.3 million expenditure for new physiological monitors in the Endoscopy Department and the Outpatient Surgical Center described as critical for assessing patients.

HMH President and CEO Dennis John­son said Baptist Health approved the budget.

The board also approved a business plan for a direct-to-employer clinic.

The clinic, which will be behind HMH’s Work Well at 400 Ring Road in the Hughes Center of Commerce and Industry, will provide primary care services to participating employers’ workers.

Jeff Kingery, president of the HMH Medical Group, said the clinic will help expand access to primary care services.

“We know many people in our region do not have a primary care provider,” he said. “Direct-to-employer clinics close in proximity to the workplace can help fill that need.”

Employees of participating companies who already have a provider can continue with them.

In addition to acute care services, Jody Prather, HMH vice president and chief strategy officer, said the clinic will emphasize wellness and preventative care, and provide risk assessments and health coaching.

“In communities where health care providers have established this type of clinic, employers typically see a reduction in sick days and overall health care costs,” Prather said. “Bottom line, easier access to care equals increased wellness and that translates to increased productivity.”

Kingery said so far, two area employers have committed to using the clinic — Communicare and Hardin County Gov­ernment — and several others have expressed an interest. Prather said clinic patients also have access to HMH’s network of specialists.

“We really feel that once we roll this out, we are going to get a lot of excitement,” Prather said.

Kingery said they “feel this is the future of health care.”

The HMH Board also approved expansion of its Surgical Specialists Building at 1700 Ring Road in Elizabethtown. The clinic houses 22 exam rooms and four procedure rooms, which are fully used five days a week.

The clinic also houses a provider-based diagnostic center known as Heartland Diagnostic Center, which performs general X-rays, pre-admission labs and surgical clearance/screenings prior to procedures.

When the building was constructed in 1993, it was home to nine surgeons, Kingery said.

“We’ve grown since that time,” he said.

With the clinic averaging 118 patients a day and a 12th provider being added to Surgical Specialists in September, Kingery said HMH commissioned a study to examine the existing space for expansion. The study determined relocation of Heartland Diagnostic Center would allow for the addition of four exam rooms and two additional registration booths. Heartland Diagnostic Cen­ter will move to Cool Springs Shopping Center at the intersection of Ring Road and North Miles Street in Elizabethtown.

Total project cost, including furniture, IT, equipment and facilities, is estimated to be $415,367.

The HMH Board of Trustees also approved plans to rent space on the second floor of 14 Public Square in downtown Elizabethtown for the relocation of its Patient Billing and Financial Services. The former R.R. Thomas Building, which housed the Hardin County Clerk’s Office for decades, is home to Impellizzeri’s Pizza on the ground floor.

The relocation would place roughly 70 employees downtown.

HMH Vice President of Operations Steve White said HMH is excited to have a downtown Eliza­bethtown presence and the newly renovated space provides an ideal location for business offices as the health care group continues rapid growth.

Specific plans for the space and a public ribbon cutting will be announced at a later date.

Mary Alford can be reached at 270-505-1741 or malford@thenewsenterprise.com.

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