Family Practitioners moving to King City to work on Mee Team
By Sean Roney
King City Rustler, February 24, 2010
Along with continued financial turnaround, Mee Memorial Hospital is adding more physicians to its ranks.
Mee Memorial CEO Lex Smith last Thursday said family practitioner Dr. Khoung Phui would be joining the Mee team sometime around April 1.
“We’re very excited about him joining us,” said Smith of Phui. “He’s in the process of relocating from Harrisburg, and he’ll be relocating with his wife and his child.” Smith said Phui will add to the Mee complement of physicians after finishing a home search in the next month and a half.
“There is one more person that has been recruited,” Smith said of even more physician news. “Dr. Antonio Viscarra is a new physician that will be joining us in August.” Viscarra’s training is in family practice, obstetrics, and palliative care.
“He will bring his wife and one child, relocating from Fresno,” said Smith. “He’s finishing up a palliative care fellowship, which is end of life care. He is already board certified in family practice.”
Smith said Viscarra will work in the local hospice, as well as serve home health care, and working in the clinics as a family practitioner and obstetrician.
Viscarra’s arrival will reintroduce him to Dr. Fejes, who he attended the University of Guadalajara with.
“They’ll be working some of the same clinics, the Greenfield clinic and King City clinic, so they’ll be involved,” said Smith. “They have a good working relationship themselves and their families know each other.”
In addition to new physicians, Smith said, “We’re also looking at some research right now in terms of expanding some of our clinics. With more physicians we want more exam rooms and more office space. We’re looking at doing something in the next 90 to 120 days, maybe an expansion to our King City clinic and some repairs to that area.”
When asked about the potential expansion of the King City clinic, Smith said it would likely come in the form of a modular building specially designed for medical clinics, perhaps a 3,000 square foot model that could house up to three additional physicians.
With doctors comes the need for nurses, and Smith said the gradual hiring of permanent nurses is continuing.
“We have brought on several new nurses, particularly in our obstetrics department. We’re in the process of continually recruiting new staff to primarily replace some of the traveling nurses. That effort has gone well. The hospital is up to over500 full-time-equivalent employees,” said Smith.
The hospital also has a new Director of Health Information Management, Edith Albert. “Edith has moved to King City from Oregon,” Smith said. “She’s a great new addition and is managing the medical records department.”
The new computerized tomography machine has been installed at Mee Memorial.
“That unit is up and operational,” said Smith. “The medical staff and radiology department are very pleased with the quality of the studies. It is enhancing our capability in terms of the overall quality of the studies and the speed.”
Smith went on to say, “We’re expanding our MRI capability. We’ve had the mobile MRI here one day a week, and going to two days a week based on more referrals and need for it.”
Smith said right now the mobile MRI operates on Wednesdays and Thursdays, but there is a shift planned for Wednesday and Saturday service, for patients who cannot take time off from work.
“We’re hoping that we can have that facilitated by the end of this month or the first part of March,” said Smith. “We’ll see how that goes and we might even expand it more. Right now it’s been running 5-7 studies a day.”
With the recent Do-Gooder fundraiser put on by the Mee Memorial Hospital Service League, Smith said, “The Service League has committed to help the human resources department with a project, which is a tool that can be used to recruit additional staff to the hospital at recruitment events. Some of the funds from the Do-Gooder event were specifically highlighted for that purchase. The service league is also looking at commitments of other needs as they come forward. They are very dedicated through their gift shop and the other functions they do. They’re a hugely successful program, and they’re a true advocate of the hospital.”
When asked about the fiscal recovery of the hospital, Smith said, “The process is ongoing. It’s going to be very slow and gradual, based on the hospital’s ability to collect its bills. Our revenue continues to go up, but we still have in this economy a difficult time in making some of those collections that we need. Right now the hospital is holding its own in terms of its financial status, and breaking even.”
Smith said the winter months of December and January are typically slow for hospitals, and things will pick up in February, expecting to add more revenue for the hospital.
To the end of collecting more revenue, Smith said a project is in the works to be rolled out in the next 30 to 60 days that will improve the collections process.
Overall, Smith said, “It’s improved over where it was, but it’s going to be an ongoing process over the next two to three years, to put the hospital back in strong financial health.”
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