Quality construction: Community Hospital continues commitment to healthcare

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 17, 2004

NATCHEZ &045;&045; A $1-million investment to enlarge and improve the emergency room is a commitment to good-quality patient care, said Natchez Community Hospital CEO Allen Tyra.

That project, along with others under way and in the planning stage between now and the end of summer, will bring

hospital capital improvements and investments to about $2 million for the fiscal year, Tyra said.

Email newsletter signup

&uot;We’re about halfway through the expansion of the emergency room. We started January 5, and we hope to complete it by late March or early April,&uot; Tyra said. &uot;We now have seven treatment rooms and two major trauma rooms and we’re taking the treatment rooms up to 10.&uot;

The idea is to create a fast-track emergency room, &uot;moving through faster the ones who come with colds and sniffles,&uot; Tyra said.

The hospital always has been committed to moving people in and out of the emergency room as fast as possible while providing good care at the same time. The new space will &uot;allow the public to get what they should. The new treatment rooms will give us the ability to get rid of some of the congestion.&uot;

Of course, the problem of increasing patient numbers is a good one, Tyra said. &uot;We have a great emergency room physician group. It’s very quality driven.&uot;

The trend toward more patients using the emergency room is not exclusive to Natchez Community, but problems locally do contribute to that trend, Tyra said. &uot;There has been a loss of primary care physicians in the area; so the emergency room becomes a primary care clinic on the weekend.&uot;

To that end, the hospital also has been busy recruiting new physicians and has had some success.

Dr. Akin Akinwale has joined the staff as a hospitalist, a new position that allows him to work with hospitalized patients only.

Dr. Michael Borowicz is a primary care physician who has joined the hospital’s family medical clinic.

Dr. Vik Dulam, a board-certified cardiologist, also is new to the staff. His arrival prompted purchase of new equipment for the cardiac care unit, with more to be put in place in the coming months, including a new cardiac echo machine.

&uot;He’s a welcome addition and has been covered up with business since coming here,&uot; Tyra said.

Dr. Ihena Ndukwe, another primary care physician, will join the family clinic in March. And in the summer, two new doctors, just completing their residency, will join the clinic, Dr. Tuananh Pham and Dr. Rick Jeansonne.

The recruitment of new doctors is a commitment in itself, Tyra said. &uot;A lot of people lose sight of the economic impact of recruiting a new physician,&uot; he said. &uot;It’s like recruiting a new business &045;&045; the employees, taxes generated and all the rest.&uot;

Other investments include replacing the hospital beds with new ones at $300,000. &uot;They incorporate all the latest safety features and are much more efficient for the nursing staff.&uot;

Esther Mingee, director of nurses, said the new beds are in place on the first floor. &uot;There were 40 in the first shipment. There will be an additional 25 later in the year,&uot; she said. &uot;All of the first floor is now completely changed out, and that’s where most of the cardiac patients are.&uot;

Natchez Community is one of nine hospitals in Mississippi owned by Health Management Associates. &uot;Together, we are the largest employer of health care workers in Mississippi,&uot; Tyra said. &uot;We recently received the Salute Award from the Mississippi Business Journal, recognizing the business for its leadership and community involvement.&uot;

Health Management Associates, based in Florida, has grown by 10 hospitals in the last two years, now owning 52.