Healthcare on Wheels receives $900,000 grant

Hospital staff has “hit the ground running” now that the Tombigbee Healthcare Authority has received funding to pay for a Community Health Care Needs Assessment, Arthur Evans, CEO/Administrator, told the board Thursday.

Evans said both the Marengo County Commission and the City of Demopolis pitched in $27,500 to pay Quorum Healthcare Resources for the extensive assessment of Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital, which is expected to take about three months.

The assessment will review the healthcare needs of the residents in the five counties the hospital serves, how the hospital is operating and improvements that can be made.

As part of the assessment healthcare professionals, civic leaders and others will be asked to give their input on hospital services.

Evans told the board the Healthcare on Wheels program began now that the hospital has been given a $900,000 grant extension.

The van, manned by a doctor or nurse practitioner and a nurse, visits 13 rural communities in five counties but is expected to add more stops as demand grows, he said. Just in the first few days of operation the van saw 34 patients.

Dr. Judy Travis, a member of the board, has been traveling with the van during its initial startup and said, “I’m having a ball.”

She has been disappointed that other physicians who initially agreed to help have backed out, but Evans said another doctor is interested in becoming part of the Healthcare on Wheels staff.

The hospital also has met all the latest requirements to receive funding to start construction on the Adult Psych Unit at the hospital. Verification has been turned into the state, and the hospital is waiting for approval.

The board approved Zach Ford to be the recipient of a hospital nursing scholarship. Under the agreement, Ford will return to Demopolis to work after completing his studies or pay back the loan. The scholarship will pay up to $4,000 per year.

Approved for reappointment to the consulting staff were radiologists Drs. Jeffrey Brown, Lauren Thorington and Wilford French; and to the ER staff, Dr. Blake Dewitt.

Receiving initial appointment approval was Dr. Krystal Smith in radiology.