By Amanda McBride
The Choctaw Plaindealer
Purchasing children’s play area equipment and sponsoring three scholarships are a few things that the Choctaw County Medical Foundation did within the last year.
This was announced in the foundation’s annual meeting on May 2. In the business part of the meeting, Harvey Black, with the foundation board, said North American Coal-Red Hills Mine donated $2,000 to the foundation.
“Many times we don’t appreciate our corporate businesses in Choctaw County. We are so very blessed to have three generating plants and the mine,” said Black.
Mike Thomas, with the Red Hills Mine, said NAC tries to participate in the community as much as possible.
“We are proud to support our local hospital. We’re glad to see us (hospital) growing. We try to support our community as much as possible,” said Thomas.
Black continued stating the Choctaw County Medical Foundation purchased the furniture for the children’s play area at the new medical clinic, the Pioneer Medical Clinic, bought two tape players for the Choctaw County Nursing Home and finalized the foundation’s 501(3)c status within the last year.
The foundation also sponsored three scholarships, $500 each, for high school seniors in the county. The recipients are Ricky Adams from Ackerman High School, Ericka Howard from French Camp Academy and Sarah Stevenson from Weir High School.
For the next fiscal year, the foundation is sponsoring the snack table for the JuneFest 5k Run/Walk and possibly the project of a portico at the nursing home.
After a recommendation from the nominating committee, the foundation members approved to reappoint Harvey Black and Rick Jenkins to the foundation board. Other board members are Ron Bennett, Bonnie Thomas and Bobby Prewitt.
Prewitt gave a financial report stating the foundation began 2012 with $5,000, had a donation of $2,000 and expenses were $2,800 leaving a balance of $7,397.
Also in the foundation meeting, District 3 Supervisor Chris McIntire, also board president, thanked everyone for their dedication to making the new hospital a reality.
“We couldn’t have done it without the Board of Trustees with their dedication and devotion,” said McIntire. He added that building the new hospital is a county wide accomplishment. “It’s not a Board of Supervisor thing, Board of Trustee thing. It’s a county wide thing. That’s the spirit of the county,” he said.
As a special part of the annual meeting, Allen Gamble, administrator, at the Pioneer Community Hospital of Choctaw, gave an update on how the current hospital has progressed over the last year and hints of what’s to come in the future.
He said he the hospital has been growing with a 20 percent increase in inpatient stays, swing bed and senior care stays from last year. Gamble added that visits to the emergency room have increased over 50 percent from 2011 and visits to the clinics have almost doubled. The Choctaw County Nursing Home is at full capacity almost every day.
Gamble also explained that the majority of their expenses are payroll, contracted personnel and bad debt. He said that Pioneer Community Hospital of Choctaw employs approximately 200 people and pays $7 million in payroll.
“$7 million turns through this county,” said Gamble.
The future of the PCH-Choctaw is bright with the opening of the new hospital planned for med June. The new hospital will feature 15 beds, 10 bed geri-psych unit, expanded emergency services, expanded ultrasound capability, a surgery suite with post anesthesia care, an area for endoscopy/colonoscopy and a mobile MRI unit.
Gamble also said PCH-Choctaw plans to reopen the Weir Clinic soon with at least one provider, one day a week. The Pioneer Medical Clinic in Ackerman will welcome Dr. Gene Cathey to the staff this summer.