HCHD Calls for May Election, Lowers Debt

By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

HOUSTON COUNTY – The Houston County Hospital District (HCHD) Board of Directors met for the first time in 2022 on Tuesday, Jan. 18 in a meeting highlighted by an order for the May 7 election and the lowering of the district’s debt.

After disposing of several routine matters, HCHD President Barbara Crowson said, “We have four places up for re-election. They are: Place Two, currently held by Pam Ainsworth; Place Four, currently held by Dr. John Stovall; Place Six, currently held by Rhonda Brown; and Place Eight, currently held by Dina Pipes.”

She added, “The election petitions need 100 signatures but we always suggest you get 100 plus, just to be sure. Those are due no later than 5 pm on Feb. 18. You have a month – if you are wanting to run – to get those back to Mr. (Dick) Murchison.”   

Following a few more minutes of discussion, the HCHD board approved the order of election for May 7.

The next item considered by the HCHD Directors pertained to a prepayment to Prosperity Bank.

“If you recall,” Crowson said, “as Dick (Murchison) was giving the financial report we did pay Prosperity Bank $225,000 back in November. At this time, we are prepared to make our usual February payment at the end of this month for $500,000 which will leave us – we believe – with one more year on this particular loan.”

With very little discussion, a motion was approved to make the payment. Once the disbursement is made, the HCHD will have a remaining balance of $725,000 owed to Prosperity Bank.

Prior to the election and debt discussions, Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) Anthony Cumbie provided the board with an update on the hospital for the last quarter of 2021.

The CNO reported in October of last year there were 743 emergency room visits. For November there were 667 visits and for December there were 814 visits.

Continuing with his report, Cumbie reported there were 56 transfers from the emergency department in October, 54 transfers in November and 65 in December.

He said there were 34 inpatient admissions during October, 22 in November and 31 in December. There were also six observation admissions in October, seven in November and eight in December.

Cumbie further said there were 44 surgical cases in October, 58 in November and 55 in December.

Concerning outpatient visits, the CNO indicated there were 336 in October, 368 in November and 293 in December.

The specialty clinic visits showed 198 in October, 237 in November and 216 in December. Cumbie added there were 205 patient visits to the rural health clinic in October, 228 in November and 192 in December.

The CNO also provided an update on COVID-19 numbers in Trauma Service Area (TSA) G which includes Anderson, Camp, Cherokee, Franklin, Freestone, Gregg, Harrison, Henderson, Houston, Marion, Panola, Rains, Rusk, Shelby, Smith, Trinity, Upshur, Van Zandt and Wood Counties.

He reported there were 414 lab confirmed COVID-19 patients currently in hospitals; 317 adult Covid-19 patients in general beds; 97 adult COVID-19 patients in ICU beds; 74 confirmed COVID-19 patients admitted in the previous 24 hours; and 64 confirmed COVID-19 patients on ventilators. 

In addition, Cumbie said there were 2,468 staffed hospital beds in TSA G; 2,298 total staffed inpatient beds; 534 available staffed hospital beds; 24 available staffed adult ICU beds; 0 available staffed pediatric ICU beds; and 196 available ventilators.

Cassie Gallaway, Operation Supervisor at Houston County EMS, followed the CNO and provided the ambulance report. Gallaway said during the month of December there were 269 calls for service with 156 patient transports, 39 cancelled calls and 74 non-transports. She added there 28 helicopter standby requests and five patients who were flown by EMS.

Gallaway also reported 69 percent of patient transports went to Crockett Medical Center, 10 percent went to Woodland Heights, nine percent were transported to Palestine Regional, seven percent were taken to CHI Lufkin and five percent were transported to Huntsville.

In other matters brought before the HCHD Board of Directors:

  • The minutes of the November 2021 meeting were approved.
  • The financial reports for November and December were approved as presented.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at [email protected].  

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