HCH prepares for isolation area
Kaitlyn Clay, Staff Writer, [email protected]
The Harrison County Hospital Board of Trustees met via teleconference Thursday for its monthly meeting to discuss system upgrades and the lasting effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 Mitigation Team continues to meet once a week for a couple of hours to discuss any updates or mandates needed regarding the spread of the virus.
Steve Taylor, CEO of the hospital, said the meetings first started with the goal to assure the hospital had appropriate clinic facilities and protocols regarding the virus and to assure staff, patients and anyone who visits is safe.
“One of the things we are working on as a team moving forward is a permanent isolation area for pandemics that could arise in the future,” Taylor said. “We are looking at how we can have some means of closing off certain areas in order to isolate places. We are looking somewhere between eight and 10 beds.”
Hospitals nationwide are suffering financially, and Taylor noted his team is continually working with cash-flow projections to save money. While revenue is down for HCH, around 14.5% below budget, the board discussed how this is still better than where they have been in the past few months.
“Our outpatient revenue is going really well,” Taylor said. “Our costs have been 6% to 7% below budget. When we eliminated doing some procedures during the pandemic, that cut into our revenue stream, but it should be headed back up once we are fully operating.”
The hospital does currently have the capability to perform antibody testing for the coronavirus, when ordered by a health care provider.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this test is not used to diagnose a current infection with the virus, but tests for antibodies that may show that a person has been infected with the coronavirus in the past. If a person does have positive antibodies for coronavirus, the recommendation is to continue to take all preventative measures to protect themselves and others.
Taylor said there have been zero positive antibody tests at the hospital and the test has a very high accuracy rate. He also noted that in October they should be getting kits that will test for Influenza A and B, along with COVID-19, all in one test.
“This is great news for our lab staff, as this will eliminate the amount of tests they will need to run,” he said.
Taylor also mentioned they are still searching for a permanent primary care doctor to add to staff and will be evaluating the current emergency room equipment contract in the coming months.
The next HCH board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 20, at 2:30 p.m. Board members said they will discuss if the meeting will be in person or via teleconference once that date gets closer.