Providers finding ways to meet needs

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CYNTHIA MARTENS
Health care providers in Hillsboro had a positive year in 2001, with revenue increases reported in most cases, the addition of new equipment and an outlook for another good year in 2002.

PMA-Hillsboro Family Practice

Judy Jantz, office manager with Preferred Medical Associates Hillsboro Family Practice Clinic, said business was good last year.

“In July last year, we started childhood immunizations here,” Jantz said. “Every child has to have certain recommended immunizations from birth to the time they go to school, and we offer those here.

“We used to send them to the county, but now we can take care of them here in Hillsboro.”

Looking ahead to 2002, Jantz said the year so far has been busy. As the the end of January neared, “everybody is sick,” she said.

Greenhaw Pharmacy

Lou Greenhaw, owner of Greenhaw Pharmacy, said her business increased last year.

“Part of that I attribute to the fact that there are more diseases now being treated with prescription medication instead of surgery and other options,” Greenhaw said.

“Even with some of the heart diseases-they found that drugs are as effective as some of surgery, so a lot more doctors are using drugs.”

The baby boomers are now aging and are just now discovering medications for high blood pressure, diabetes and heart ailments, Greenhaw said.

“That’s another reason I see increases in prescriptions.”

Greenhaw said she is planning to take advantage of two new programs being offered next month in Washington, D.C.

“It’s basically preventive medicine-to do more things to help people stay healthy longer,” she said.

Scharenberg Chiropractic

Dennis Scharenberg, owner of Scharenberg Chiropractic Offices, said business increased in 2001.

“In 2002 we hired new staff, and I’m very pleased with the direction that business is going,” Scharenberg said.

Grene Vision Group

Grene Vision Group optometrist Paul Unruh said his business increased in 2001, too.

“It wasn’t spectacularly up, but it was steady,” Unruh said.

Last year he updated some equipment in the office, something they do every year, and added an optician to the staff, Unruh said.

“We have a new lens edger for processing glasses, and that was the major purchase we made last year.”

They also expanded their line of eyeglasses.

“I think business will continue to grow in 2002,” Unruh said.

Emergency Medical Services

Marion County Emergency Medical Service office manager Deane Olsen said the that department had a busy year.

EMS is the largest voluntary service in Kansas, Olsen said.

“We’re still short of crew members, especially during the days, in all four of our primary locations, which are Tampa, Marion, Peabody and Hillsboro,” she said.

This past year, EMS added a first responder in the Tampa/Durham area, two people received certification in the Hillsboro/Durham area, and one first responder was added in the Lincolnville area.

Lincolnville, Durham, Ramona and Burns and Goessel are all first-response units, Olsen said.

“We will add seven more people to our crews when this current EMT class tests in May or June, and four of the seven are in first-response areas,” Olsen said.

Of the remaining three students, one will be in Hillsboro and two in Marion.

The current EMT class began in 2001.

In April, EMS added a new 2001 Dodge ambulance in Tampa, according to Olsen.

“They hadn’t had a new one for over 10 years, and even that was a used one, so they were driving a 1979,” she said. “They’re just tickled to death, and they deserved it.”

An automatic external defibrillator was replaced with a new unit in Peabody last year.

“We also bought some cots,” Olsen said. “Two or three of the units got stryker cots which is a very efficient and well-made cot. And that was done largely by donation and crew efforts.”

New radios were added in 2001.

“We have approximately 80 personnel, and we have to keep them all in radios and pagers,” Olsen said. “We have radios out there that are 15 years old, and they just don’t last when you use them 24 hours a day.”

She said EMS is hoping to update Peabody’s ambulance this year.

“It’s not scheduled to happen until 2003, but we’re trying to get that in 2002,” she said.

Another possibility this year, if the demand is there, is for an EMT-I class to gain certification to start IV fluids.

“Hopefully, we can get more personnel this year, especially daytime and weekdays,” Olsen said. “All four of the areas need them desperately.

“We want to encourage people to check into the classes this year because these communities need help.”

HCMC

Michael Ryan, chief executive officer for Hillsboro Community Medical Center, saw 2001 as a year of many changes.

“Last year was a positive year despite challenges from the Medicare system that we always have to deal with,” Ryan said.

Medicare is the hospital’s primary source of revenue, he said.

“They are continually changing it and making it more difficult to work with, but it’s one of those challenges,” he said.

“We’ve had a good showing of support from the community in terms of donations during the past year, so I think that’s good.”

The hospital was faced with a reduction in their labor pool-which was a big issue in 2001, Ryan said.

“I think we’re trying to do a little more with less-as a lot of people are,” he said. “We’re challenged with workforce-shortage issues that are affecting all Kansas hospitals.

“It’s extremely difficult in this location to continue to recruit nurses and other professionals that we need,” he added. “But I’m always encouraged that we have several under scholarship now who hopefully will be coming here in a year or two.”

Last year ushered in the hospital’s first benefit golf tournament in August. Proceeds were used to purchase a newborn apnea monitor.

“It does some other monitoring, like blood pressure, so it’s quite a unit back in (obstetrics),” Ryan said.

Several pieces of equipment were purchased throughout the year, such as surgical scopes, computer equipment, a new treadmill and a new phone system.

“The phone system really helps the physicians and other professionals in the area, and allows family members to call directly to patients’ rooms instead of having to go through the switchboard,” Ryan said.

Ryan said the signage at HCMC was also improved during 2001.

“We put up a new sign over the long-term care unit and a new emergency room sign,” he said.

During the year, Kyle Cederberg and Kathy Decker were elected to the HCMC board.

Looking toward 2002, Ryan said he hoped to see improved patient care with tele-radiology, which allows for off-site radiologists to be able to give immediate feedback to local physicians regarding X-rays.

“So I think that could certainly have an impact on patient care,” he said.

Finally, Ryan said they were doing some facility planning with the hospital, but no definite strategies were in place.

“We spent several days with some architects out of Kansas City and we’re working on some master planning, so that may have an affect on the coming year,” he said.

Parkside Homes Inc.

Lu Janzen, chief executive officer with Parkside Homes, said 2001 was a good year financially.

During the first half of last year, the care home experienced vacancies for the first time in the history of the facility, Janzen said.

“But the last seven months have been wonderful, so it’s been both good and bad,” she said.

In 2001, Parkside struggled along with many other care facilities across the state and country to find enough workers, Janzen said.

In fall, Parkside launched a new program to train unlicensed nurse aides and combat the shortage. Twenty certified nurse aides at Parkside began advanced training to become “certified nurse aides plus.”

The CNAs now have a higher degree of job skills they were not able to attain in basic CNA training.

Parkside Homes is the first facility in Kansas to formally give CNAs this type of advanced training, Janzen said.

Parkside also joined forces last year with Genesis Health Care of McPherson to outsource some of its staffing functions.

Rather than using Genesis on an “as-needed” basis, the nursing home elected to use the services of Genesis for all of the human-resource related issues pertaining to the nurse-aide employment process.

Jo Allen, director of nursing at Parkside, said, “Even though Genesis is supplying nursing assistants to us, our charge nurses are supervising them to provide the care that we want for our residents.”

Another new program was initiated late last year.

“We’re reorganizing our nursing home into households,” Janzen said. “We started that but we haven’t done any remodeling yet.”

Janzen said 2001 was a positive year.

“It looks promising in 2002 and we expect to see continued success,” she said.

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