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Hospital graduates Safe Sitters class, faces changes in pediatric services

  • Category: News
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  • Written By: Matthew Adkins

From Carteret News Times, by Matthew Adkins

MOREHEAD CITY - From graduation milestones to potential changes in pediatric care, Carteret Health Care hospital in Morehead City addressed various aspects of its operations at its board of commissioners' monthly meeting.

One major point of celebration was the healthcare facility's success in graduating their first Safe Sitters class since 2018.

The Safe Sitters program equips young kids with essential skills and knowledge to care for younger siblings or provide responsible babysitting services.

Addressing monthly statistics, the hospital reported providing surgeries to 111 inpatients during the month of June. This number was lower than last year's figure of 137 inpatients.

Additionally, the hospital served 11,900 patients through its emergency department and other outpatient services.

For the month, net patient revenue was $17,954,387, net operating revenue was $18,321,704 and total operating expenses were $16,942,834.

This left total income from operations for June at $1,378,870, up 7.9% from last year's figure of $1,278,060.

The financial committee also discussed expenditure issues and explored potential cost-saving opportunities, especially in light of the recent increase in contract nurses, known as "travelers."

It was revealed the cost of hiring contract nurses has risen, impacting the overall budget.

The hospital's financial team said they are actively seeking solutions to manage these costs and find cost-effective alternatives.

The Resources Committee reported on the hospital's plans for facility improvement, including construction and electrical upgrades.

Among the projects, progress was reported on the earth concrete pad area, though construction of the helicopter landing area continues.

Construction of the slab and further landscaping will follow electrical work with completion planned by Tuesday, Aug. 15.

The hospital's surgery project, including the renovation and construction of several new operating spaces, remains in phase three of the operation as staff continues to build out ancillary areas.

The hospital's human resources and education teams reported receiving commendations during a recent Joint Commission survey.

At the Monday meeting, the board shared that the surveyor was impressed with the hospital's processes and culture, particularly the completeness of staff documentation and credentialing.

Administration also relayed updates on ongoing efforts to fill several positions, including doctors and medical providers to strengthen its medical team.

Staff said they were "aggressively" recruiting an oncologist and are currently in talks with a candidate.

Additionally, they are anticipating the arrival of Dr. Stephen Carter, a radiologist from South Carolina, to join the hospital's ranks.

Department heads also discussed an impending change in pediatric services.

The pediatric unit informed the hospital administration that, starting from Jan. 1, 2024, they would be relinquishing their privileges at the hospital.

This development raised questions about future pediatric coverage and care arrangements for the hospital, with possible solutions suggested such as finding new staff or training existing personnel.

The board's next meeting is set for Monday, Aug. 28.