WRMC Board Meeting

3/27/2012

Contact: Tammy G. Love

Director of Marketing & Medical Staff Development

Phone: (336) 651-8116

By CHARLES S. WILLIAMS
Wilkes Journal-Patriot Staff

Wilkes Regional Medical Center will open a wound care center, operated by Diversified Clinical Services (DCS), at West Park in October.

A five-year contract with the Jacksonville, Fla., company was approved by the hospital operating board members at their March meeting Tuesday night. The center will be located in existing but unused space at the Diagnostic Imaging Center.

According to the DCS website, the company partners with over 325 hospitals nationwide for outpatient wound care. The incidence of chronic wounds (a wound that does not heal in an orderly set of stages and in a predictable amount of time) is highest among the 8 percent of the U.S. population who are diabetic.

The hospital will spend an estimated $500,000 to up fit the space for the center, and another $100,000 for exam tables, furniture and other supplies.

The hospital has the option of adding MRI, CT scan and other equipment in the future.

DCS will provide hyperbaric oxygen chambers (where oxygen is applied at pressure) for treatment of certain wounds. Research has shown that hyperbaric oxygen treatments can be beneficial for chronic wounds that are the result of diabetes, lower extremity arterial disease and pressure ulcers.

Marlin Markham, the hospital's chief financial officer, told the board that DCS officials expect to see 300 new patients during the first year of operation, ranging up to 450 by the fifth year. The center is expected to generate a profit margin of $738,700 in the first year, and $1,354,891 by the fifth year.

Electronic records for WPN

The board members also approved a $716,246 contract with Cerner Financials for an electronic record keeping system for physicians employed by the Wilkes Physicians Network. (WPN)

WPN is a wholly owned, not-for-profit subsidiary of WRMC that was created in 2008 to recruit and employ physicians in Wilkes.

The system will allow the 28 WPN healthcare providers to be wirelessly connected to the hospital's electronic records system and have access around the clock to patient medical records information.

"We can save money and costs, and we can also have a better and more effective record keeping system," WRMC Chief Executive Officer Gene Faile told the board.

The system will have an average annual operating cost of $201,000. Wilkes Regional will be eligible for reimbursements for the system from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act totaling $1,077,000 over five years.

The board also approved the purchase of an advanced vascular C-arm digital X-ray imaging system for endovascular surgery that should help the hospital in its attempts to recruit an endovascular surgeon. The cost of the new equipment is $367,428.

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