Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Weems Memorial June/July Newsletter

County Receives $10 Million Loan: New Hospital Closer to Reality
Franklin County took a step closer to building a new hospital during June when Weems Memorial officials and representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced to Franklin County Commissioners that the county’s $10 million loan application has been approved thus clearing the way to renovate the county’s existing 56-year old facility.

However, the loan announcement doesn’t mean groundbreaking is imminent. According to Weems CEO Mike Cooper, loan closure and subsequent construction of the new facility is pending efforts to bring on new physicians and on continuing efforts to document the fiscal health of the hospital.

The proposed plan calls for the replacement of the emergency department, radiology suite and inpatient nursing unit. The new facility will be constructed on the eastern side of the Hospital and include 10-12 private inpatient rooms with individual shower and restrooms, an emergency department with triage, four exam rooms and a radiology suite with CT and radiology/fluoroscopy rooms.. Procedure services will remain in the existing location with some cosmetic upgrades.  Also remaining in the existing facility will be pharmacy, laboratory, respiratory, physical therapy and dietary services. An expansion of physical therapy to include outpatient physical therapy is planned in the existing space.

Once groundbreaking is approved, the project construction/renovation is estimated to take between 18-24 months to complete.

Weems Memorial Hospital opened on June 21, 1959 in its current location. But it was not Apalachicola’s first hospital. Historians note that Apalachicola’s first hospital was actually a renovated Army barracks building at the airport with 13 beds, a small obstetrical wing and operative suite. The hospital served the needs of the community from the time of its opening in 1948 until the completion of the new hospital with 25 beds at the present site in 1959.

Hospital Provides Boost to Local Economy
Weems Memorial Hospital plays an important role in Franklin County and generates significant healthcare services and contributions to the local residents. However, the role Weems Memorial Hospital plays as a major contributor to the economy is often overlooked. Weems Memorial Hospital employs a large number of people with a large payroll.

Weems Memorial Hospital currently employs 120 full- and part-time employees. As these employees and the hospital spend money locally,  additional jobs are generated in other businesses in Franklin County. These are called secondary jobs and are measured with employment multipliers for Franklin County. The hospital employment multiplier is 1.40 which means that for each job established in the hospital, another 0.40 jobs are generated in other businesses in Franklin County.

According to an economic impact assessment report of Weems conducted in 2011 by the National Center for Rural Health Works at Oklahoma State University, secondary jobs generated annually from operating activities of Weems Hospital represented a total employment impact of 162 jobs (based on hospital employment of 116 employees in 2011).   

Employee income (wages, salaries, and benefits) paid to the employees of Weems Memorial Hospital is currently estimated at more than $4.8 million. With the hospital employee income multiplier of 1.31, the secondary employee income impact is more than $1.5 million and total employee income impact is now estimated at more than $6 million to Franklin County.

Swing Bed Care Provides Transition
Are you recovering from a surgery, stroke or trauma and need rehabilitative therapy before going home? With today’s shorter hospital stays, your need for skilled rehabilitation care is an important part of the healing process. Weems Memorial Rehab Care is here to guide you through your healing process and best of all, it is local with your loved ones nearby to help and encourage you.

The Weems Memorial Hospital Swing Bed Program offers 24-hour nursing care plus the benefit of rehabilitation therapy to help patients transition back to their home or to a long term care facility. The swing bed program can also be used to help rehabilitate from surgery, illness or accident in a familiar setting, close to home.

According to Weems CEO Mike Cooper, “The Weems Swing Bed program is like a bridge from the hospital before going home. It gives the patient time to heal and adjust before returning to everyday life. Our main purpose is to provide the necessary care through a collaborative team approach, using therapists and skilled nursing to obtain the optimal outcome.”

Who Needs Swing Bed Care?
  • Patients who need rehabilitation after orthopedic surgery or fractures
  • Patients receiving IV antibiotic therapy
  • Patients needing continued wound care
  • Patients needing to regain strength and mobility
Who pays for Swing Bed Care?
The Swing Bed program is a hospital-based program and Medicare Part A is the primary payer. Medicare can cover Swing Bed for up to 100 days with various co-pay charges. Co-pays can be offset by secondary insurance since health policies differ. The Weems admission coordinator can verify your coverage. As long as a patient meets Medicare criteria, has days left in the benefit period and the doctor approves the stay, a patient may receive Medicare Swing Bed services.

Swing Bed Services
  • Therapy: Physical, Occupational & Speech
  • IV Therapy
  • Continued wound care after recent surgery
  • Skilled nursing care
  • Respiratory Therapy
Your Swing Bed Team
  • Hospitalist
  • Nurse Manager
  • Dietitian
  • Physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist
To learn more about the Weems Swing Bed program, contact:Becky Gibson, Director of Nursing, (850)653-8853 ext.

Weems Receives Ambulance Grant
Franklin County will soon have a new ambulance traveling the roads thanks to a $162,780 grant recently awarded to the County and Weems Memorial Hospital. The State Department of Health Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Matching Grant was announced to the County Commission at their June 15 meeting by Weems CEO Mike Cooper.

According to Cooper, the grant funds, which requires a $52,000 match, will be used to purchase a 2015 Chevy 3500 Frazier Type 1 ambulance, stretcher, stair chair, Lifepak, CPR device and radio system. It is expected the vehicle will be ordered within a month and be in service by early 2016.

Capital Health Plan Accepted
Weems Memorial Hospital would like to reassure all CHP members that the Weems Medical Centers continue to provide primary care and family care services to their assigned Capital Health Plan members. If you are in need of an appointment, please do not hesitate to call either clinic location listed below:

Weems Medical Center West, Apalachicola, 653-1525
Weems Medical Center East, Carrabelle, 697-2345

Stay Safe During July 4th
Fireworks are synonymous with our celebration of Independence Day. Yet, the thrill of fireworks can also bring pain. 240 people on average go the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday.Follow these safety tips when using fireworks:
  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don’t realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them. If you do happen to get injured during the summer, know that Weems Memorial Hospital and Medical Centers in Apalachicola and Carrabelle are here to help.

Storm Summer Awareness
Summer marks the beginning of the annual hurricane season. Although hurricane experts predict a fairly quiet 2015 storm season, it only takes one event to wreak havoc. Being prepared for the unpredictable is the first line of defense to staying safe.

Franklin County’s Emergency Management website has a variety of links to emergency preparedness information. You can learn more  at or call 850-653-8977.

Plan for your Medical Needs
Weems Memorial Hospital officials suggest there are a number of medical safety preparedness steps residents can take to be prepared in advance of emergency events.

Prepare A First Aid Kit
Assemble a first aid kit for your home and one for each car with items such to include the following:
  • Adhesive bandages various sizes -- Sterile gauze pads (various sizes)
  • Germicidal hand wipes or waterless alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Non-latex gloves, Adhesive tape, Anti-bacterial ointment, Antiseptic spray
  • Cold packs (non refrigerated type), Scissors,Tweezers, Rubbing alcohol
  • CPR breathing barrier, such as a face shield
  • Thermometer, Safety pins.
Non-Prescription Drugs
  • Aspirin or nonaspirin pain reliever, Benadryl, peroxide
  • Anti-diarrhea medication, Antacid (for stomach upset)
  • Syrup of Ipecac (use to induce vomiting if advised by the Poison Control Center)
  • Laxative
  • Activated charcoal (use if advised by the Poison Control Center)
Prescription Drugs
  • Heart and high blood pressure medication
  • Insulin (enough for a 30 day supply)
  • Hearing Aid and extra batteries
  • Prescription drugs
  • Denture needs
  • Contact lenses and supplies
  • Extra eye glasses
Tip:  If your insurance will allow, get a 90 day supply of prescriptions and have at least a 30 day supply on hand. Don’t wait until a couple of days before a storm to go to the pharmacy. Lines will be long and you may not be able to get your prescription filled.