Five years of health care progress: UMMC Grenada looks to the future
Published on Thursday, January 24, 2019
By: Ruth Cummins, firstname.lastname@example.org
When the University of Mississippi Medical Center in 2013 leased then-Grenada Lake Medical Center from the Grenada County Board of Supervisors, the mission was clear: increase treatment options, boost facilities and add physicians in key specialties to ensure high quality care at home.
Five years later, that’s what has happened, and there’s more to come.
“We are proud of the things that we have accomplished over the past five years since Grenada joined the UMMC family,” said veteran health care administrator Wes Sigler, who became the hospital’s CEO in May 2018. “But, we are more excited about what the future holds for this facility.”
The 156-bed UMMC Grenada today employs 276 full-time staff and 74 part-time workers. The 20-year, renewable lease arrangement calls for UMMC to pay the county about $1.8 million annually to retire Grenada Lake’s $37.4 million debt.
Much of the hospital’s growth springs from recruitment of dozens of specialists and sub-specialists in fields including urology, adult and pediatric orthopaedics and orthopaedic surgery, pediatric gastroenterology, rheumatology, pain management and interventional radiology.
The recruits include Dr. Tim Ragland and Dr. Katie Ragland, married radiologists who came together to UMMC Grenada in 2016. The two divide their time between the Grenada hospital campus and the hospital's Imaging Center on Sunset Drive, where radiological services are offered.
More recent additions include general surgeon Dr. Doug Bowden, who began work earlier this month, and orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Donna DiPaolo, who came on board at UMMC Grenada in early 2018.
“We offer a pretty comprehensive orthopaedic line, and we receive excellent support from radiology and rehabilitative services,” DiPaolo said. “This gives patients the opportunity to get multiple things taken care of right here rather than having to travel.”
UMMC Grenada has achieved important milestones that have allowed it to better serve the region and become one of the state’s health care leaders.
“We continue to be committed to the Grenada community and hospital,” said Kevin Cook, UMMC Health System CEO. “Our goal is to bring superb health care close to home, marrying the resources of the state’s only academic medical center to the local community hospital.”
The milestones are:
- A transplant services clinic that provides pre-transplant evaluation and education opened in May 2015. It’s won multiple awards from the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency, and plans call for it to be expanded to include more office and clinical space.
- An advanced 3D mammography suite opened in August 2015 at the Imaging Center.
- UMMC telehealth services for the Grenada campus child development clinic and TeleMIND services for patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia began in 2016.
- Clinicians in April 2016 began using the Epic electronic health record, the same system used on UMMC’s main campus in Jackson.
- A new telemetry system to give more sophisticated monitoring of heart and other vital signs of cardiovascular ICU patients was implemented in July 2017.
- UMMC E-ICU critical care nurses began remotely monitoring Grenada’s cardiovascular ICU in August 2017, followed by critical care pulmonary and cardiology patients in November 2017, giving those patients a second set of eyes via live remote video.
- In February 2018, UMMC's Department of Anesthesiology established a pain clinic at the Grenada hospital staffed by Dr. Douglas Tucker, assistant professor of anesthesiology.
- A new inpatient substance abuse detox program debuted in May 2018.
- The MRI unit was replaced with a newer and larger unit in June 2018.
- Renovations are under way to create larger space for pediatric clinic services.
- Opening in late spring is an updated cardiac/interventional catheterization laboratory.
Dr. Amber Bailey Googe, a pediatrician who arrived at UMMC Grenada in summer 2018, will soon relocate to the new pediatric clinic that will have 10-plus exam rooms, more than twice what’s now available. Its colors will take inspiration from the new 7-story pediatrics tower being constructed next to Batson Children’s Hospital in Jackson, said John Farrish, UMMC Grenada’s director of ambulatory operations.
Googe recently treated Kane Parker of Winona, a newborn who was coping with feeding issues.
Kane’s mom, Caitlin Parker, said she’s relieved to get a higher level of care without having to leave the region. “We’re 30 minutes away in Winona, and we’ve been up here quite a few times,” she said. “We don’t have anything like this in Winona. It gives me peace of mind.”
When she began practicing in Grenada, Googe said, “I saw this as a branch of the main hospital. It made me super comfortable.
“If I have a child here that we admit to the hospital, I know who I’m going to send them to. I know it’s a higher level of care,” said Googe, an assistant professor of pediatrics. “Before, it would have been a toss-up between LeBonheur or UMMC.”
Googe’s clinic is just one component of Children’s of Mississippi, the umbrella over all pediatric care provided statewide by UMMC.
“Seeing us as part of that builds more faith in the system,” Googe said. “I encourage my patients to stay under the umbrella of UMMC. It’s a better continuity of care.”
Like Bowden, urologist Dr. Thomas Weldon came to UMMC Grenada from Greenwood-Leflore Hospital, 40 minutes down the road. His patients can now visit a board-certified urologist at home.
“They’re glad I’m here,” Weldon said. “A lot of them who had to go away to see a urologist are coming back. One of my patients had been managed in Nashville.”
“I’m thrilled to be part of a teaching institution again,” said DiPaolo, who spent the first half of her career at teaching hospitals in New York before moving with her family to Grenada.
“Our big challenge here is growth,” she said. “We’re growing faster than most people anticipated. One of the comments I hear a lot is, ‘I didn’t know you could do that here.’ We’re doing really cool state-of-the-art things here.”
“As we add new physicians, specialties and services to meet the needs of the communities we serve, our team remains focused each day on improving every patient experience,” Sigler said.