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KH to team with orthopedic experts

Posted: June 26, 2014 4:39 p.m.
Updated: June 27, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Kershaw County area residents who need joint replacement may soon be able to have their procedures done at KershawHealth under a plan its board of trustees is working toward.

Kershaw Health is considering a partnership with Orthopaedic Advantage, a Chicago-based company that offers what KershawHealth interim CEO Terry Gunn said is a “sustainable, high quality experience for orthopaedic and sports medicine care, regardless of the point of service, whether it’s a physician practice, a hospital setting or a post-hospital rehab.”

Gunn, reporting during the KershawHealth Board of Trustees meeting Monday night, said he, Camden orthopedist Dr. Andrew Piasecki and Kershaw Health Vice President for Marketing and Community Development Joseph Bruce recently visited a Beaufort hospital that uses Orthopedic Advanatge. Piasecki said they were impressed with what they saw.

“What we saw there was very positive. Their market and size is very comparable with what we have here,” Piasecki said. “I’m very excited to have them involved here. What we want is an orthopedic hospital of excellence. I want our local community to know that they will be getting an excellent experience here.”

Gunn said he also saw the Beaufort trip as an enlightening experience.

“It was truly amazing what we saw in Beaufort. We can accomplish that and it will be an exciting expansion of our services in orthopedics,” Gunn told the board.  

Gunn also reported on upcoming changes in KershawHealth’s emergency department. He said patients will be divided by the severity of their illness or injury, which should reduce wait times and make treatment more streamlined and efficient.

“We’re going to be implementing an express care track, a fast track for patients who aren’t at a true emergency level, but need urgent care,” he said. “As patients come in who need care now but it’s not a life-threatening emergency, we’ll ultimately have a different place for them to wait, be seen and be treated. That will allow us to better focus our attention on those who are having a true emergency.”

KershawHealth CFO Mike Bunch reported the healthcare organization suffered a $136,000 loss in May and that net assets decreased by $56,000. He said surgical cases, emergency department visits and inpatient admissions were down from May 2013. He said one encouraging figure showed that bad debt and charity were $1.2 million lower this May, down 34.6 percent from May 2013.

“We’re (having) some real success in going back and getting Medicaid approvals on retro accounts,” Bunch said. “Some of those cases that they’ve classified as charity, they now qualify for Medicaid retroactively, so we’re picking up revenue from the past.”

Bunch said another bright spot is that salary and benefit costs were well managed in May.

“That’s a credit to the entire management team from head to toe. If you look at our salaries and benefits you’ll see for the month our salaries and benefits were $509,000 lower than last May,” Bunch said. “That’s pretty significant in the grand scheme of managing labor. Keep in mind that this year includes a modest pay raise that’s in there.”

The board also voted to return to its previous schedule of meeting twice each month rather than holding one, long meeting every month. With the new schedule, the next meeting will be Monday, July 14. The first meeting of each month will focus on finances while the second meeting of each month will be more general in nature.

Also Monday, trustees entered an executive session that included an evaluation of Gunn’s first six months as interim CEO. Afterward, the board said it is “well pleased” with Gunn’s performance.

“In view of Terry’s performance, the board would like to make a public statement of our confidence in his capabilities and thank him for his service,” Board Chair Karen Eckford said. “We also are asking our legal counsel to review the interim CEO agreement and draft revisions to accommodate Terry’s continuing service through any potential organizational transition of KershawHealth.”


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