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Radiology in the spotlight at PMH

The Pocahontas Memorial Hospital (PMH) Board of Trustees receives department updates during its regular monthly meetings. During the August meeting last Thursday, the Board heard an update on one of the hospital’s most critical branches – the radiology department.

Radiology is a medical specialty in which various imaging technologies, including X-ray, ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are used to diagnose or treat diseases. CT, X-ray and ultrasound are available at PMH.

Cheryl Cain, Radiology Department Supervisor for the past 23 years, briefed the Board.

“The Radiology Department at Pocahontas Memorial is operational 24 hours a day, 365 days per year, with a staff of five full time radiology technologists, three PRN [as needed] technologists and one full time sonographer,” she said. “One radiologic technologist is registered in mammography and another is registered in CT.”

Cain said the department had gone all-digital.

“We have not used film since December 24, 2008,” she said. “All machines are digital, having a computer chip that stores the image instead of film, that was once used. The computer system restores the image to a file that we transmit via a secure Internet site for interpretation.”

With digital technology, a medical image can be transmitted to a physician immediately after it is produced, via the Internet.

Cain said moving the CT scanner inside the hospital had been a positive development.

“The CT scanner was moved in-house in June 2012,” she said. “It had been housed in a trailer or out back from the emergency department for many years. Bringing the CT scanner indoors has been such a positive move. The radiology staff is happy they do not have to take patients outdoors in the winter and be out in the building alone. Patients are happy they do not have to go out in inclement weather, as well.”

Cain said the placement of a portable X-ray machine at Pocahontas Continuous Care Center (PCC) is a benefit to Center residents and PMH staff.

“This has been a positive venture,” she said. “I believe it has given us better communication with the staff at PCC and increased our business at PMH. The staff and residents at PCC are so appreciative and thankful when we are able to come to their facility. We walk down the halls and everybody is smiling and thanking us.”

Board Chairman Dr. Robert Must cited the low employee turnover in Cain’s department.

“The Radiology Department certainly is a big pillar in the hospital and we’re very thankful for your efforts,” he said. “The fact that they have such low turnover is – you’re like family over there.”

“We one big family that’s kind of all feeling for each other,” said Cain.

PMH CEO Barbara Lay presented the financial report, due to the resignation of former Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Melissa Kane.

Lay reported good news. Increased out-patient volume in July resulted in healthy revenue for the month. Out-patient visits increased from 697 in July 2013 to 827 in July 2014. The increased out-patient volume and increased Rural Health Center business contributed to net income of $182,448 for July.

“Our trend is to go, as it is nationwide, is we see less in-patient and more in our out-patient services,” said Lay. “Our Rural Health Center has really helped out, diabetes education, all these things are playing into that. It’s really exciting. We’re really positioning ourselves very well to be viable for the future.”

Lay reported that Billy Klick, a Marshall University MBA graduate, had been hired as the new CFO and would start work on September 2.

“He’s been working the past nine years in the state tax auditing section,” she said. “While this will be his first time working in health care finance, he’ll have no bad habits.”

Chief Operations Officer Teresa Wagner reported that a new capital campaign would kick off this fall to raise money for patient room renovation. The campaign goal is to raise $250,000.

“That will be enough to refurbish all the patient rooms,” she said. “The campaign will officially be rolled out to the community in September with the publishing of a special insert in The Pocahontas Times.”

The slogan for the hospital’s fundraising campaign is ‘Give a little – help a lot.’ For information, call 304-799-7400.

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