Information from July 13th, Board Meeting and the August 21st Executive Committee meeting:
Dr. Nancy W. Dickey, MD, President Emeritus of Texas A&M Health Science Center, is leading a study of Texas rural hospitals with a goal to identify strategies to help rural hospitals. Her study is funded by three foundations: The T.L.L. Temple Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Episcopal Health Foundation.
Trinity was selected as one of the sites for her case study. Dr. Dickey and her staff visited members of the board, and the results of the study were shared with board members and representatives of the three foundations. The study has identified resources and strategies to help rural hospitals facing financial crisis.
Dr. Dickey and her staff were most complementary of the TMHD Board for the steps they have taken to preserve health care in Trinity. The clinic is functioning and serving approximately one thousand patients per month, and the board is looking at how best to bring emergency care back to the community.
What’s in the Hospital’s Future?
By Dr. Sharon Schuetz
One of the best-kept secrets in Trinity is what happens at the Trinity Memorial Hospital board meetings. Not that they hide anything. They want the community to know what they are doing and what progress they are making for Trinity. Although it has been quite some time since I attended a board meeting, I’m sure glad I made it to this one. The last time I spoke to members of the board was on video when I interviewed president Randy Karnes, vice-president Carlyn Bluis, and secretary Marjory Pulvino.
In that video, they explained why we pay hospital taxes when we don’t have a hospital. They told us how the Huntsville Memorial Hospital had planned to join with us and then pulled their support a mere nine months before the date set to close our facilities in 2017. The board worked for more than a year with Huntsville, and with only nine months left before the scheduled closing they changed their minds.
At this meeting we found out that there is a strong possibility that we will eventually have an emergency room. Meetings are scheduled with possible backers who may be interested in reopening the Trinity Memorial Hospital Emergency Room. If it opens, it will be as a satellite program modeled after a hospital based stand-alone ER in Lufkin that has proven to be a successful venture there.
Financially, the Trinity hospital is in good shape and according to board secretary Marjory Pulvino, “our facilities are better than many larger hospitals for operating an ER.” Since the hospital has been shut down the Executive Assistant to the Board, Billy Goodin has done an excellent job of maintaining and protecting the building and its equipment.
Opening and running an emergency center is a daunting and expensive task. There are many things to consider and stringent requirements to which the hospital must adhere. The required base staff alone is considerable. An ER must have a doctor, two RNs, a radiology technician, and a laboratory technician 24/7.
On September 10th and 14th at 5:30 PM there will be two tax hearings for the Trinity Memorial Hospital. They will be in the hospital emergency room. The public is encouraged to attend and discuss the proposed tax changes for 2018. After writing the United States, Constitution Benjamin Franklin is reported to have said, “Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” It’s the taxes that pay the bills for a new emergency room, so, come out to the meeting and be part of the solution.
While there are no promises that an ER is in Trinity’s near future, the hospital board is tirelessly doing everything possible to make it happen. Trinity is a praying community, and while most of us can’t do what the hospital board is doing, we can pray. On Monday nights at 7 PM Carolyn Colvin has gathered a group who meet at the hospital to pray for Trinity and our need for a hospital. Come and join them. Pray at home. Pray at church. Put it in your church bulletin and encourage your church members to pray. There is no telling what can happen through our prayers and the hard work of the hospital board.
HOSPITAL BOARD RENEWS LEASE
July 25, 2018
By Jason Chlapek
It’s been nearly a year since CHI (Catholic Hospital Initiatives) entered a lease agreement with the Trinity Memorial Hospital District.
That partnership will continue. The Trinity Hospital Board approved the renewal of a lease from CHI at the monthly meeting July 16 at CHI-Trinity.
“CHI is the tenant that leased our facility to use the clinic,” Board vice-president Carlyn Bluis said. “They pay us rent. The agreement was that we would support that clinic operation for the first year to get it going. It was a one-year lease that expires July 31, and we wanted to renew it, so we took the formal step of renewing that lease and now we’re waiting for CHI to do the paperwork for it.”
CHI could not have come to the rescue at a better time for the former ETMC (East Texas Medical Center) in Trinity. In 2015, ETMC announced that it would not renew its lease in Trinity, which ended July 31, 2017.
The lease with CHI began Aug. 1, 2017. It’s been a good situation, according to Bluis.
“We pay support, but they pay us rent that reimburses us for all utilities and all sorts of things,” she said. “The healthcare is out of our pocket.”
The board also discussed a website that it’s creating for the hospital district, and the quarterly investment report. Position 1 on the board also is up for election
“The first step of the website was to get a domain,” Bluis said. “They can see what’s our budget, who’s on the board, what’s our tax base, etc. By state law, we have an investment policy. Our investment officer will go to training and we’re required to give a quarterly investment report on what the investment is and how much interest was earned.”
“It takes at least 90 days to get Medicare and Medicaid numbers in place,” she said. “Now we’re down to a normal reimbursement number. The biggest expense we had for June was the reimbursement. It was the last of the three biggies. Seventy-five percent of our population is Medicare or Medicaid, and those reimbursements are very low. If we had larger insured population, it would be a whole different story. The $135,900 was the largest CHI support we’ve had, but next month we drop down. This whole bit about becoming a FQHC is we’re going to drop that reimbursement number way down. The nice thing is we make a contract for one year and it’s a fixed amount.”
The hospital board is scheduled to meet again at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 20 at CHI-Trinity.
Thursday, 08 March 2018 10:14
Chi St. Luke’s Health Memorial hosted an open house Tuesday, Feb. 20 to give the community an opportunity to meet the staff and discuss some of the changes that have taken place over the past few months at the clinic. Amol Deshpande, MD; Lawrence Quan, MD; Crystal Smith CNM, and the new Family Nurse Practitioner Myles Cullen were on hand to greet everyone and answer questions. Other staff members present included, Carol Jones, Brenda Goins LVN, office manager Kathy Jordon, Mary Edwards, Angel Johnson LVN, Tracey Whitting, LVN, Teresa Place, LVN, Lori Leblanc, LVN, and the hospital board.
While the clinic is now seeing approximately 1,000 patients each week, the CHI staff commented that they continuing to solicit additional diversified staff members for the Clinic.
Members of the Hospital Board that attended were Billy Goodin, Jerry Russ, Laura Vanecek, Cheryl Spearman, Carlyn Bluis, Randy Karnes and Margie Pulvino. Many community residents waded through the rain to attend, including John Reynolds, candidate for Trinity County Judge.
Friday, 01 September 2017 12:42
By Dr. Sharon Schuetz
At the August 21 hospital board meeting, the board asked questions of Dan Watson, CEO/COO of CHI St. Luke’s Health Memorial Clinics about what is happening at the clinic and what the future is for the Trinity hospital. He reported that in the short time it had been reopened, the patient numbers were increasing weekly. The first week, Drs. Deshpande and Quan saw a combined total of 37 patients. The second week, even with Dr. Quan out of the office half a day they saw 146 patients, and last week the numbers rose to 208.
Watson said focus now is to retrain the staff to use a new system of software and new programs used by CHI St. Luke’s Memorial Health; it’s much like Windows and Mac, two different operating systems.
He stressed the importance of finding providers willing to come to Trinity, but he assured the board that the clinic could take care of the minor problems of a small community. He further explained that Trinity would not have an emergency room or trauma center unless the people agreed to raise taxes enough to pay for it. Right now, it is not an option.
Watson told the board that the CHI St. Luke’s Memorial system is divided into districts. Our clinic operates through CHI St. Luke’s Memorial Health in Lufkin, which has hospitals and clinics in various locations. Trinity is encouraged to use the Livingston hospital for serious medical needs or emergencies. They are equipped with physicians, specialists, and equipment to handle any trauma or illness.
He continued to explain that we should have lab services set up by mid-September, so that many of the lab needs can be handled here in town. For those things that cannot be done in Trinity, he said, they will create an easy pathway for patients to use Livingston facilities. He added that the absence of X-ray should not delay treatment, “If we can’t provide it here I don’t think the service will suffer.”
Thursday, 17 August 2017 08:01
Pediatrician Amol Deshpande, M.D. (far right) and Family Medicine physician Lawrence Quan, M.D. (far left) and their staff joined the Memorial team this month and are now accepting patients.
TRINITY, TEXAS (August 9, 2017)… CHI St. Luke’s Health-Memorial Clinics opened its latest outpatient clinic Monday, August 7 in Trinity. The Memorial Clinics Trinity Family Medicine is located at 315 Prospect Drive in Trinity.
Pediatrician Amol Deshpande, M.D. and Family Medicine physician Lawrence Quan, M.D. and their staff joined the Memorial team this month after the outpatient clinic’s former managing partner said it would no longer provide service and CHI St. Luke’s Health-Memorial officially signed a management service agreement with the Trinity Memorial Hospital District Board and its outpatient clinic. Certified Nurse Midwife Crystal Smith from Lufkin will also be joining the clinic.
“We look forward to working with the residents in Trinity to provide them with high quality health care, and we are excited about being a part of the Trinity community,” said CHI St. Luke’s Health-Memorial Market CEO Monte Bostwick.
CHI St. Luke’s Health does not anticipate any job loss with the transition.
CHI St. Luke’s Health-Memorial is part of Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), a national nonprofit health system based in Englewood, Colorado.
The faith-based system operates in 18 states and includes 103 hospitals, as well as long-term care, assisted- and residential living communities; community health services organizations; home health agencies and outpatient facilities and services.
In fiscal year 2016, CHI provided more than $1.1 billion in financial assistance and community benefit. CHI generated operating revenues of $15.9 billion and has total assets of approximately $22.7 billion.
With hospitals in Lufkin, Livingston, San Augustine and Memorial Specialty – the area’s only long-term acute care hospital – CHI St. Luke’s Health-Memorial offers comprehensive, quality health care, including a free-standing emergency center and outpatient facilities and numerous health care services. To learn more, visit esHealthMemorial.org.
About CHI St. Luke’s Health-Memorial
CHI St. Luke’s Health-Memorial, part of a national nonprofit health system, provides more than a quarter of a million patient services and millions of dollars in local charity care and community support each year. With hospitals in Lufkin, Livingston, San Augustine and Memorial Specialty – the area’s only long-term acute care hospital – Memorial offers comprehensive, quality health care, including a free-standing emergency center and outpatient facilities and services. To learn more, visit CHIStLukesHealthMemorial.org.
About Memorial Clinics
Memorial Clinics, a division of the CHI St. Luke’s Health-Memorial system, employs and partners with 40 primary care providers and specialists in 19 locations across East Texas. Memorial Clinics accepts Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance. Visit memorialclinics.com to learn more about our physicians and connect with the personalized patient portal.
About CHI St. Luke’s Health
CHI St. Luke’s Health, a member of Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), is comprised of three markets. CHI St. Luke’s Health is home of the Texas Heart Institute (THI), eight hospitals, eight emergency centers, Diagnostic & Treatment Center, Radiation & CyberKnife Center, and several St. Luke’s Medical Group locations throughout Greater Houston; CHI St. Luke’s Health-Memorial (three hospitals and a long-term acute care facility in East Texas); and CHI St. Joseph Health (five hospitals and several St. Joseph Medical Group locations across Brazos Valley). In addition, CHI St. Luke’s is a part of a joint venture agreement with Baylor College of Medicine, which encompasses Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center in the Texas Medical Center. Together, CHI St. Luke’s Health, THI, and Baylor College of Medicine are transforming healthcare delivery with a mission to usher in a new era of healthcare to create healthier communities. Learn more at CHIStLukesHealth.org.
About Catholic Health Initiatives
Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) is one of the nation’s largest health systems. Headquartered in Englewood, Colorado, CHI operates in 19 states and comprises more than 100 hospitals, including four academic medical centers and teaching hospitals; 30 critical-access facilities; community health services organizations; accredited nursing colleges; home health agencies; and other services that span the inpatient and outpatient continuum of care. Learn more at catholichealthinitiatives.com.
Questions and Answers
Q. Why do we pay a hospital tax when there is no longer a Trinity Hospital?
A. The Trinity Memorial Hospital District (TMHD) was established to provide
quality health care in the County; today this tax revenue is more important than ever and continues to provide health care in the district:
1. The Current TMHD tax rate is $0.12/$100 valuation; approximately $680,000 in
taxes will be collected in 2018.
2. Tax dollars are being used to:
- Help support the CHI-St. Luke’s Baylor-Med clinic in Trinity; the clinic has four full time providers. Options for other specialists are being considered. Approximately 1,000 patients are seen there each month……. And
- Insure and maintain the hospital building and equipment as the District
Board continues to look for ways to first reopen the emergency room (or urgent care) and then work to reopen the hospital.
3. The TMHD has no debt and a small reserve fund. Some of this reserve will be
needed this year as the costs to open and support the clinic and maintain the
facilities are estimated to slightly exceed the current revenue. The Board is
looking for ways to reduce this total cost and be able to provide funds for an
emergency room in future.
Q. Why did the hospital close?
A. ETMC –Tyler had leased the hospital from TMHD and was responsible for the
operation of the hospital, clinic, and emergency room for many years. In 2015,
TMHD was notified that the lease would not be renewed when it expired July 31,
2017. The TMHD Board immediately began looking for a new partner.
- HMH: After much study of possible options a letter of intent was signed with Huntsville Memorial to assume operation of the hospital. Two weeks before they were to assume operation in Trinity, Huntsville Hospital notified the TMH that they would not be able to sign the lease and operate the hospital.
- Self Manage: A feasibility study was done to see if there was any way the TMHD could self-manage and operate the Hospital. Funds needed far exceeded the revenue and reserves needed; bank loans were sought. Funds were just not sufficient to self-manage the hospital.
- CHI-St. Luke’s Lufkin: Finally after visits with many and many prayers, CHI-St. Luke’s Lufkin agreed to operate the clinic. CHI-St. Luke’s is a non- profit, faith-based nation-wide hospital system and they accept all patients. CHI-St. Lukes worked diligently and had the clinic up and running on August 1, 2017 (the day after ETMC left). Today, our clinic provides quality health care (our tax dollars at work) and jobs for many in the community.
Q. When does the TMHD Board meet?
A. The Board meets on the third Monday of the month at 5:30 pm, in the hospital
conference room. The public is encouraged to come and learn what the board is
doing to improve health care and bring back emergency or urgent care.