Huntsville Memorial Hospital

Huntsville Memorial Hospital, which is operated by the non-profit Walker County Hospital Corporation, refused to give a public update towards its status during the monthly meeting of the Walker County Hospital District. 

Things are looking up for Huntsville Memorial Hospital. 

After skipping last month’s meeting, hospital CEO Steve Smith addressed the Walker County Hospital District Thursday, stating that patient admittance is on the rise.

Year-to-date the hospital has averaged a daily census of 57 patients, with as many as 84 patients in the acute-care facility last week. Smith added that while revenue was down 15% from last year, officials have also cut expenses by nearly 19%.

“It has been a very busy time,” Smith told the District board. “But I really have to give credit to our team, who have really helped us achieve some substantial improvements.”

Smith told the board that his administration has implemented new programs such as standardized safety huddles to improve communication and safety reporting, as well as working to improve patient flow in the emergency room.

“The fact that communication is up is encouraging,” Smith added.

With the implementations, Smith said that wait times in the emergency room have been reduced by approximately 52%, with a 30-minute average wait time.

With his report, Smith stated that deliveries were also up 14% year-over-year, with May being the fourth consecutive month to see an increase. Most of the increase in deliveries was due to the addition of a nurse practitioner at the rural health clinic. The practitioner has provided prenatal care for 31 mothers who have already delivered, and is currently providing the service for 39 future mothers.

“These are mothers that would have normally gone south to deliver, so it is really great to see our deliveries up,” Smith said.

The HMH Medical Clinic continues to be a busy operation for the hospital, with patients up 8% from the previous year with and clinic on pace to see 17,000 visits this year.

Ella Smither update

In other business, district officials announced that they had received “little to no interest” on the former Ella Smither Geriatrict Center, which is currently up for sale. Officials announced the sale of the 6.324 acres property in March with a minimum bid of $2.5. All bids are to be received by Aug. 1 for the property that was the former home to the hospital, and more recently the Ella Smither Geriatric Center.

Hospital sale update

District officials met with legal counsel behind closed doors following the public portion of the meeting. No information was released following the session, but officials are expected to provide an update today. The update will be made available at www.itemonline.com.

The next scheduled meeting of the Walker County Hospital District is scheduled for July 24.