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HCHC changes admission policy on pediatric cases

Jun 19, 2013
Photo by: Steph Tahtinen Work on Henry County Health Center’s new surgery addition is still progressing ahead of schedule, but plans remain the same to transition to the new area the week after Old Threshers. The drywall is now all hung, and pictured here are two of the future post-op rooms.


Mt. Pleasant News

Beginning Aug. 1, Henry County Health Center will no longer admit medical pediatric cases between the ages of seven days and 16 years for inpatient care.

This policy change was approved by the HCHC Board of Trustees during its regular meeting on Tuesday, and HCHC CEO Robb Gardner emphasized that the clinics and specialty clinics will continue to see pediatrics, and surgical patients will continue as before.

“I do really want to strongly emphasize to the board as well as to the community that nothing will change in the physicians’ offices, nothing will change in the surgery, nothing will change in the ER,” said Gardner. “We are still committed to providing complete care from newborns all the way to elder care such as at Park Place.”

The reason mostly deals with patient safety, as children’s bodies are different to care for than adults, and HCHC does not have the pediatric services available to provide the best care for these patients.

In total, this change will affect about seven or eight cases per year. Gardner said this is the usual number of medical patients in this age range that is admitted to the hospital each year, mostly due to seasonal issues such as croup or human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

With this new policy, these cases will be transferred to a facility with a pediatric unit.

“They can be seen and evaluated in the emergency department — that won’t change — but if they needed to have an admission, there would be a conversation about where they would go to,” said Jodi Geerts, chief nursing officer.

In other business, the trustees heard an update on the surgery addition from Project Manager Cragon Caboth. Work is still ahead of schedule, and plans are to begin operating in the new surgery addition the week after Old Threshers.

“Whatever day we get done doesn’t mean we’re going to change our actual date to enter the surgery area. We’ve talked about this, and the actual transition will occur after Old Threshers,” said Caboth. “While we may get done a little early, that’s just going to give us an additional training period for staff.”

Construction work in the surgery area is entering the finishing stages, with the drywall hung, painting complete and exterior masonry done. The interior courtyard area has been enclosed, and concrete was being poured Tuesday to help even out the floor area.

Gardner noted that while the new surgery area will be impressive when it is done, what is even more impressive is the mechanical equipment that will be hidden from the public eye.

“The surgery itself — what the patients and families and everybody is going to see — is extremely impressive. It’s such an evolution change from where we’re currently at. But the mechanical support for that area is just amazing,” said Gardner. “It’s the latest and greatest in terms of technology.”

Of particular note are two units — each 60-feet long —that will cool the air going to the surgery department.

It actually will create an air current around the operating theater in the operating room. It comes out of the ceiling and creates an isolation zone right around where the operation is going on,” said Caboth. “You’re not going to find anybody that has that any place else in the country.”

Gardner said that plans are underway for an open house to be held after the surgery addition is completed, most likely to be held in late September.

After the surgery addition is complete, work will progress on renovating the outpatient area of the hospital.

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