BONIFAY — Several were present on behalf of Doctors Memorial Hospital to give a presentation at the Bonifay Kiwanis meeting held on Wednesday, March 13.
“We are a community hospital,” said DMH Patient and Public Relations Director Brenda Blitch. “That means we are invested in the community and we’re governed by the community.”
Blitch explained that Doctors Memorial Hospital was a community hospital and that they had a Board of Trustees, which is a five-member board of local citizens appointed by Florida’s Governor each serving four-year term and a Doctors Memorial Hospital Foundation, which raises money for the hospital.
She gave a quick history of the new Doctors Memorial Hospital, starting with purchasing the land in 2002 and holding a land dedication ceremony that year and on Valentine’s Day 2007 they held a ground-breaking ceremony.
“What a celebration we had that day,” said Blitch. “We did something that was never thought possible. With a lot of hard work and perseverance we made it happen.”
On April 1, 2008 the hospital held their Grand Opening.
Blitch said since the opening of the hospital in 2008 there has been a 133 percent increase in patients.
“We’ve got a Rehabilitation Department now,” said Blitch. “We’ve got Acute Therapy, Swingbed Rehabilitation and Outpatient Therapy.”
She explained that Acute Therapy was good for falls, orthopedic pain, after surgery and COPD issues and Swingbed Rehabilitation was good for a short term stay at the hospital when medically stable following acute hospital stay.
“Swingbed Rehabilitation usage has increased by 240 percent,” said Blitch. “We also have a Physical Therapy Gym and Physical Therapy Pool. We offer Aquatic Therapy and Occupational Therapy.”
She said they have received so many good reviews of the Aquatic Therapy because it “accelerates rehabilitation while increasing range of motion with less pain.”
“It takes the weight off the injured area and the patients love the therapeutic properties of the warm water,” said Blitch. “Occupational Therapy gives you the strength to go back to doing the simple, every day things required with work at home or on the job.”
With their Digital Mammography Department they do an average of 1,200 mammograms a year, she said.
She said they also have a Prodigy Primo Lunar Bone Densitometer, which measures bone density and helps in the diagnosis of osteoporosis, “which is very common in women.”
They have Mobile Nuclear Medicine, which is a “non invasive study to determine disease in many bodily organs and bone structure using less radiation then an X-ray or CT scan,” and Mobile MRI.
Their General and Laparoscopic Surgical Procedures include gall bladder, colonoscopy, hernia, biopsies, scopes, carpel tunnel, hysterectomy, mastectomy, tubal ligation, ovarian cyst, adhesions, tonsillectomy and hemorrhoidectomy.
“We do 95 percent of our lab work in house,” said Blitch. “And that includes cardiac markers, chemistry panels, liver function tests, potassium, protime, urine culture, drug testing for employment, complete blood count, lipid profile, thyroid testing, hemoglobin A1C, routine urinalysis and rapid strep. We also have a Wound Care Center, which is a chronic problem with those who have diabetes.”
She thanked the DMH Auxiliary, which contributes time and funds for special projects.
“We love our volunteers,” said Blitch. “They make such a difference and raise the hospital around $10,000 a year.”
The Doctors Memorial Hospital is having an upcoming Golf Scramble and Golf Ball Drop on April 12 at the Dogwood Lakes Golf Club.
“We’re also celebrating our 5th Anniversary on Monday, April 1,” said Blitch. “We’ll have a Customer Appreciation Day with free lunch and screenings. We usually have important people like Marti Coley show up; she spent last year with us.”
Blitch said the hospital provides many free services to the community, such as free screenings at events, educational luncheons, awareness events like the Heart Walk and tours for students giving them information on what it takes to become a doctor, nurse, technician, etc.
“We feed the children every year at the Holmes County Public Library’s end of the year celebration,” she said. “That’s just to name a few of the services provided to the community.”
This biggest service, she said is called Bad Debt and Charity.
“This is where we forgive bad debt for our customers,” said Blitch. “In 2007 we gave back $1 million in debt and in 2012 we gave back $2.5 million. If we were a typical business that kind of expenses would’ve done us in, but we’re about the community.”
Donna Burroughs with DMH spoke on the difference between HMOs and PPOs, which is HMOs allow you to pick your physician, while a PPO has a group of physicians to choose from.
“Always ask questions when choosing,” said Burroughs. “These plans open on Oct. 11 and end on Dec. 7, so take your time in choosing. Remember to ask the important questions, like what you’re responsibility will be and what do they cover.”
Doctor and Chief of Staff for DMH Patrick Hawkins spoke on how appreciative he was of DMH.
“I grew up in Bonifay and eventually went to school at Florida State University,” said Hawkins. “That’s a lot of student loans and on top of that while I was in college I decided to get married, which meant more debt. During my second year Doctors Memorial Hospital gave me a scholarship and took a huge burden off me and they’ve been a huge support.”
Hawkins said it was “amazing to see that we offer a lot of services and much more then anyone realizes.”
“It was revolutionary what we could do with what we had,” said Hawkins. “Electronic charting was really nice for sending and receiving information to and from facilities with such ease. It greatly improved the quality of care.”
He said that DMH had “all you needed from a large hospital right here at home.”
“I’m very proud of our hospital and I’m very proud of our community,” said Hawkins. “You’d be surprised at what we can offer.”
DMH Administrator JoAnn Baker asked for the community’s support.
“You should be very proud of your hospital,” said Baker. “We need your support and your input. You might think we’re magicians the way we put $2.5 into relieving debt to our patients and still be able to continue on, but this is a community hospital and if it wasn’t for the support of the community we wouldn’t have been able to make all that go away.”
Baker asked that if anyone had any questions, comments or concerns to contact the hospital through Human Resources at 547-8004.
“We’re your community hospital and we love you,” said Baker.
They wrapped up with the video they did for the Pink Dance Competition for MedLine, which Blitch explained was done by the hospital in honor of one of their nurses who was diagnosed with breast cancer.
For more information visit their website at www.doctorsmemorial.org.