Since merging with the Christus Health System in February 2017, becoming Christus Good Shepherd Medical Center-Marshall, the local hospital has made monumental strides that administrators hope to continue to build on.
“It’s been a great start for Christus Health, coming into the Marshall and Longview communities,” said Jason Adams, chief operating officer for Christus Good Shepherd Health System.
“When we got here they were both challenged organizations and we’ve done a lot over the last (20-plus) months to stabilize the organization and start moving it forward so that we can focus on strategic growth in those communities,” he said.
In order to stabilize the organization, Adams said they had to look at both the expense structure and revenue that was coming into the system.
“We looked for opportunities to be both more efficient and to grow service so that we can generate a higher top end,” he said. “You have to work the problem from both ends in order to be successful.
“At the end of the day, about 50 percent fell into both categories to help us achieve the turnaround that we have.”
Adams said they have had a lot of support from both corporate and regional offices.
“Obviously all the staff and leaders in both communities have contributed tremendously to helping us be successful,” he said. “It’s been a total team effort.”
And while the stabilization has been a success, most rewarding has been seeing the resurgence of patient volumes as well as regaining the community’s confidence and growing the services there, Adams said.
“In addition to that, looking at our most recent associate satisfaction surveys, our associates are all happier now than they were when we got here; so that’s the measure of success of building the team and regaining the community confidence,” the COO said.
A new day for the hospital, Adams said the operation has a number of plans on the horizon.
“We’ve got a cardiac rehab program here that we’re looking at opening after the first of the year, so we’re very excited about that,” he said. “We’re also looking at some other strategic growth opportunities in the Marshall/Harrison County area.”
Additionally, the health system has made significant improvements within the facility.
“Since we’ve been here, in 2017, we’ve put over $6 million worth of investment in Good Shepherd-Marshall hospital,” Adams said.
“You can see that when you come into the front door,” he pointed out. “We repaved both parking lots; we’ve done a lot of landscaping, cleaning up. We’ve done a lot of physical asset to the building itself … a lot of painting.”
One of the major projects was the renovation of the kitchen.
“That was $1.8 million in-and-of itself,” said Adams.
The health system also purchased new equipment, including a state-of-the-art 3D mammography machine as well as a new telemetry system, which allows medical staff to review data to track a patient’s heart rate, blood pressure, breathing and other vitals.
“We’ve got new monitoring system equipment,” said Adams.
“We (also) put in new furniture in patient rooms, all the way down to the bed mattresses,” he added. “So it’s just a significant amount of investment in the physical plant.”
“And as we invest in the physical plant, because we’ve been in the community for 100 years and we plan to be here for the next 100 as well, we’re doing a lot of things to modernize the plant to make it more efficient as well,” Adams continued. “We’ve just overhauled the boilers to make them more energy efficient and support the physical plant here. And we’re in the process of expanding the generator capacity for the facility, as well.”
Other equipment upgrades include a new echo machine, which Keith Creel, interim administrator, said will benefit the new cardiology program.
“We want to be ready for them to have the best equipment as possible,” Creel said, sharing the old equipment was about 10 years old.
“That was one of the things they addressed very quickly is you want to provide the patient with the very best in diagnostics,” he said.
To ensure that they are providing the best, Adams said they take an inventory of all equipment annually.
“We’ve got a process that we go through, annually, to look at the age of all the equipment and what needs to be replaced on a cycle, based on how long the anticipated life of the equipment will be,” the COO said. “That way, we’re replacing it before we run into a lot of repair and maintenance issues.”
In addition to facility and equipment upgrades, administrators have also been actively recruiting new physicians to the area.
“We started a pain management program; and so doctors Carmine Vincifora and Rajashekar Lakkadi both come to the Marshall community and hold clinic here and do pain procedures here in the hospital,” said Adams.
The expanded practice is located at 815 S. Washington Ave., Suite 303, and is currently welcoming new patients suffering with chronic and acute pain including back and neck pain, painful joint or muscle conditions and nerve pain in the arms and legs.
According to a press release, Dr. Lakkadi, who specializes in pain management, has provided medical care in East Texas for more than 15 years. He completed his medical degree at Kakatiya Medical College in India and a surgical internship at St. Vincent Medical Center, New York Medical School in New York, NY. Dr. Lakkadi went on to fulfill a residency in anesthesiology from Boston University in Boston, Mass. He is board-certified in anesthesiology and pain management, is a fellow of Interventional Pain Practice and a diplomate of the American Academy of Pain Medicine.
The press release goes on to say that Dr. Vincifora, who is also a pain management physician, has served East Texas since 2016. He completed his medical degree at the University of California – San Diego and residencies in surgery in Arizona and Hawaii, in anesthesiology at Loyola University, as well as fellowship in Pain Management at Loma Linda University. Dr. Vincifora is a member of the American Society of Anesthesiologists.
In addition to those doctors, Adams said they’ve also recruited a new general surgeon, Dr. Daniel Robbins, who joins the staff at CHRISTUS Trinity Clinic after graduating with honors from The University of Texas at Dallas and completing his medical degree and postdoctoral training at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, where he served as chief resident. According to a press release, Robbins is a member of the American Medical Association, the Texas Medical Association and the American College of Surgeons.
“Dr. Robbins is getting active,” said Adams.
Adams said they also hired a new urologist, Dr. Robert Frederick, who will have rotating offices in both Marshall and Longview.
According to a press release, Dr. Frederick joins the Longview and Marshall teams from CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Health System in Tyler, where he has served as a urologist and director of the Urology Institute and Continence Center since 2004. He earned his undergraduate degrees in biology and chemistry from Texas Christian University before completing his medical degree and residency through the Texas A&M University Health Sciences Center. He is a member of the American Urological Association, the Society for Urodynamics and Female Urology and is certified by the American Board of Urology in General Urology with a subspecialty in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery.
Adams said the recruitment of more doctors is just another opportunity for positive growth.
“We’ve gotta use the resources we have efficiently and then we’ve gotta grow, as well, so adding medical staff members to the community and supporting the community that way is a focus of ours,” he said.
The spirit of growth has been so high at the hospital that it’s spread throughout all departments, including the hospital auxiliary.
“They just completely renovated the gift shop and they’ve got a large selection of items that they’re offering there, so we welcome the public to stop in and see what they have to offer,” said Adams.
The hospital foundation, which is made up of community members, also has some plans in the works to continue their support of the facility.
“We’ve got a lot of strategic growth opportunities that are happening within Marshall, Harrison County, Gregg, Longview and all of northeast Texas; and CHRISTUS has a large presence between Texarkana all the way to Tyler,” Adams said. “We’re the largest employer in the region; and so we’ve got a lot of strategic plans to continue to expand upon, delivering the healing ministry of Jesus Christ.”