County hospital might be on path to new era

Published 3:31 pm Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Officials at the Pearl River County Hospital and Nursing Home say the hospital might now be on a successful path that it has sought during years of financial struggle.

The new prospects were painted by hospital officials who appeared before supervisors on Monday and gave the board of supervisors an update on what’s happening at the hospital.

Mike Boleware, hospital administrator, said all indicators are pointing upward:

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The overall payroll at the hospital is approaching $7 million annually; occupancy in the hospital is averaging 75 percent, and a number of times, has hit 100 percent; installed is a 24 hour a day, seven day a week fully staffed emergency room that has treated 1,200 patients since opening on Sept. 1; the ER has doctors and a nurse practitioner assigned to it and uses a University of Mississippi Medical Center tele-medical resource; outpatient services have “grown dramatically,” along with lab and x-ray therapy; all new equipment has been added to the ER. and two new physicians soon will be operating in and out of the hospital.

Said Boleware: “On Nov. 10, we received what is called a critical access status, after applying for it last summer, and since that time, serious growth has been occurring in the Pearl River County Hospital.”

Boleware attributes the growth to the CAS acquisition, which is especially designed to serve small, rural hospitals with less than 25 beds.

“It is a path, or a way, to allow these hospitals to remain viable and to grow,” said Boleware, “and it is working for Pearl River County Hospital.”

He said the hospital is exploring becoming a specialist in wound and antibiotic therapies.

Said District Three Supervisor Hudson Holliday, “A lot of good is going on over there at the hospital, and this board has helped a lot. Sometimes all we hear is bad news, but I wanted the hospital officials to come over and tell us the good news of what is happening over there. I am elated at the growth that has taken place in such a short period of time.”

Supervisor Anthony Hales thanked Boleware for the presentation, and added, “I want to thank all of you for what you are doing and tell you that we appreciate you and your staff’s efforts.”

The hospital is supported partially from taxes collected in northern Pearl River County from old supervisor Beats one, two and three. No taxes from the southern part of the county go toward its support.

The hospital board of directors is appointed by supervisors and Poplarville board of aldermen.

Attached to the hospital is an 80-bed nursing home facility that is considered one of the best in the Southeastern U.S. The overall name of the facility is the Pearl River County Hospital and Nursing Home and is located at 305 West Moody Street.

Hospital board members are President Harry Garrett and members Joanna Peterson, Rita Wells, Becky Pardue, Emily Dedeaux and Dennis Barnett. They attended Monday’s supervisor board meeting along with Boleware.

Garrett said the hospital had no choice but to began trying to expand. “In this environment you either grow, or you die,” he said. He said at one time the nursing home was supporting the hospital, but the hospital has grown so much and so quickly that the prospects are now that the hospital can help support the nursing home.

“We just felt like if we didn’t do anything, there would in time not be anything left,” said Garrett.