David Keith

JAMES BEATY | Staff photo

McAlester Regional Health Center Chief Executive Officer David Keith prepares to leave the Pittsburg County Courthouse on Monday after meeting with county commissioners.

David Keith says the McAlester Regional Health Center plans several expansions, including in downtown McAlester and at the proposed new highway retail center at the intersection of Fourteenth Street and U.S. Highway 69.

Keith, the chief executive officer at the McAlester hospital, spoke of the plans during the regular Monday meeting of the Pittsburg County commissioners.

One of the downtown expansion plans has to do with the hospital’s acquisition of the Million Building. Keith said plans are underway to develop retail services in the building, mentioning the possibility of locating retail medical businesses at the site, with offices for a plastic surgeon and a chiropractor mentioned as possibilities.

Keith said there are plans to place additional offices in the downtown McAlester Regional Diagnostic Imaging Building, known to many as the former Public Service Co. of Oklahoma building on South Third Street. Those could include physicians’ offices.

The hospital’s most recent financial report places total operating revenues during 2019’s first quarter through March 31 at $70,379,859, with total operating expenses at $66,286,215, resulting in total earnings before depreciation and amortization of $4,093,644. Keith said the $4 million shows the hospital is on-track to remain on-budget.

MRHC has $29,139,204 in cash, with $16,023,483 in accounts receivable, other assets of $11,055,378 and capital assets of $42,770,275, for total assets of $98,978,339, based on the information presented by Keith.

Current liabilities amount to $11,150,023, with longterm debt of $11,047,717 for a net position of $76,780,599, according to information Keith presented to the commissioners.

On the quality end, Keith presented information regarding patient times.

For the first quarter of 2019, the average throughput times for patients to be discharged from the hospital’s Emergency Department, previously known as the Emergency Room, is 153.5 minutes. That compares to the national average of 147 minutes.

Throughput time for patients admitted to the McAlester hospital from the facility’s Emergency Department is 74 minutes, quicker than the national average of 85 minutes.

Early elective deliveries prior to 39 weeks is 10 %, compared to a national average of 0.0 %.

The readmission rate to the hospital for patients who were previously discharged is 7.22 %, with the hospital goal of keeping it under 8 %.

MRHC is a Certified Primary Stroke Center, receiving the Get With the Guidelines Silver Plus Achievement Award. Hospitals that are recipients of the award have reached an aggressive goal of compliance to core standards levels of care, as outlined by the American Heart Association/Stroke Association, Keith noted.

“A lot of people don’t realize the quality of care we have,” Keith said.

Keith said Oklahoma Heart Hospital is at the McAlester hospital again, a partnership he called a “win-win” for everyone involved.

MRHC and the Regional Brain Institute have entered into an agreement for tele-stroke patient care, he said.

Keith also addressed the two-star rating given the hospital by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, with a one star being the lowest rating and five the highest.

Keith said the hospital was doing well financially and with the quality of care given, but said the facility needs to improve to raise its Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services rating.

“It’s a two-star rating because of our customer service score,” Keith said. “If we get these to the national average, we’ll be four-star.”

Hospital patients are asked to complete surveys after they are discharged from the facility. Keith said the hospital needs to do a better job of making sure the rankings improve.

When Commission Chairman Kevin Smith asked about the reason for the low customer service scores, Keith said “We are trying to figure that out. We are so close.”

Keith said if the hospital’s score can be raised by a few percentage points in several of the categories involved, the hospital’s star rating should rise to the next level.

Areas in which MRHC fell below average, according to information for the last quarter of 2018, included:

• Communication with nurses — MRHC had a 75.10% ranking, up from 71.50% for the third quarter of 2018, and short of the national average of 78.19%.

• Communication with doctors — The McAlester hospital had a 79.80% ranking, up from 76.90% in 2018’s third quarter, and just under the national average of 80.51%.

• Responsiveness of hospital staff — MRHC had a 63% ranking, higher than the 60.30% ranking for the third quarter in 2018, and slightly below the national average of 65.05%.

• Communication about pain — MRHC registered a 59.30% rating, up substantially from the 47.30% registered for the third quarter in 2018, but still below the 65.5% national average.

• Communication about medicines — The McAlester hospital had a 58% rating, up nearly 10 % from the 48.5% for the third quarter of 2018, but still lower than the national average of 62.88%.

• Clean/Quiet — MRHC had a 64.20% rating, significantly up from the 52.90% rating from 2018’s third quarter, and slightly below the 65.30% national average.

• Discharge information — MRHC registered an 83.80% rating, rising from 81.60% in the third quarter of 2018, and still below the national average of 85.91%.

• Care transitions — The McAlester facility had a 46.30% ranking, rising from the 37.30% in the third quarter of 2018, but under the 53.10% national average.

MRHC ended up with a 57.90% overall rating, up from the 54.20% in 2018’s third quarter, and below the national average of 70.02%.

Keith said steps are underway to improve the McAlester hospital’s customer service ratings.

“I’ve reorganized our administration and I’m holding them accountable,” Keith said. “Customer service is our number one priority at the hospital.”

Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com

Contact James Beaty by email at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com.

James Beaty is senior editor at the McAlester News-Capital