Letter to the Editor: PMC growing

Dear Editor:
As the president of the board of directors for Pioneers Medical Center, I want to share some of the dynamic things PMC is doing to help grow and sustain healthcare services for the community.
You may have noticed that PMC is offering MRI services, on site, every other Monday. No more driving out of town. This summer PMC assembled a surgical team and is now performing outpatient surgeries on almost a daily basis. Additionally, many of the visiting specialists are performing surgeries at the PMC campus.
As you can tell, PMC has been investing in technology and personnel to bring more and better care to our community. We have also been working very hard on strengthening our financial position. This started with a major revamp of the billing process, as well as expanding services. Running a small rural healthcare facility is a surprisingly expensive adventure; it costs approximately $12 million annually. The PMC Board of Directors was thrilled this summer when the Pioneers Healthcare Foundation (PHF) was formed. The PHF mission is, as a 501c3, to raise philanthropic dollars for healthcare programs, services and equipment that will strengthen our community’s healthcare capacity. This will allow for the highest quality medical services and programs. It will also provide new programs and improved technologies, and allow for enhanced access to cost-effective health care. The foundation will pursue grants and fundraising that will support such community programs as Meals on Wheels, Marvine Ranch Cancer Screening Fund, healthcare equipment and more. (For more information I encourage you to call Margie Joy at 878-9317)
As we finish 2011 and move into 2012, we will be focusing on our 60-year-old facility. In 2008, the PMC directors commissioned an initial study to assess the facility and gain insight into the costs and necessary process to improve the facility and bring it into current standards. That study compared the cost of renovating the existing building to the costs of a new hospital and the report recommended a new building. Now in 2011, the PMC directors have commissioned a second study. (No matter what decision is made, the facility improvements will be a multi-million dollar project and getting a second opinion seems to be prudent.)
PMC is committed to following an open and transparent process as we go through this evaluation process. The directors’ and staff’s first concern is implementing a facility improvement project that is financially sound and responsible.  The funding mechanisms to afford any major facility improvements will be a combination of PMC reserve cash, grants and donations and the balance to be financed through low interest loans, such as USDA. In 2006, the voters approved a mill levy to support the hospital. We believe the residents are already investing in healthcare and it is the job of the PMC Board of Directors to maximize that investment. We are not seeking new tax dollars. I say this with confidence.
In the coming months, we will have the final reports on the facility needs; we will share that with the public. Additionally, we would ask that you participate in an upcoming survey—A Community Healthcare Needs Assessment Survey. This will give us your perspective on some of the major healthcare issues facing our community; which is an important component of designing any facility improvements.
The PMC assessment process will include analysis in the following critical areas:
n Financial readiness—does PMC have the available capital, grants and donations to afford a facility improvement project.
n Pros and cons of renovating existing building
– Space needs
– Possible phased approach for improvements
– Plumbing and electrical replacement
– Possible timeline
– Total cost of project
– New facility
– Possible locations (land costs and costs to ready location)
– Possible timeframe
– Develop plan for usage of vacated building
As Pioneers progresses on its path to provide the best healthcare possible I welcome your questions and involvement.
Tom Allen, President
PMC Board of Directors