The clinic will be closed until Aug. 5 when Twin Fountains Medical Clinics, owned by Dr. John McNeill, takes over the operation.
Raymond Ramos, vice president/chief operating officer at Christus Spohn Beeville, said that it’s not only hospital staff but the entire medical community that has offered their help during this transition to ensure that the patients are cared for adequately.
Likewise, staff from the Christus Spohn Medical Group will remain at the clinic until October to assist patients in obtaining their medical records.
“We are going to keep staff working there in the clinic working side by side with Dr. McNeill’s staff,” said Linda McKenna, vice president with physicians services at Christus Spohn Medical Group. “We will be able to provide immediate on-scene, on-site medical records.”
McKenna said that they notified doctors at the clinic 90 days out that they would not be renewing their contract.
She, however, would not say why the decision was made to discontinue the service other than it was “multi-factorial.”
The medical group purchased the clinic two years ago. Today, Saturday, that contract expires.
Throughout at least the past 90 days, officials with the medical group have been in negotiations with a couple of groups, including Dr. McNeill, who has clinics in Victoria, Port Lavaca and Rockport.
McKenna said that, while the hospital had made the decision to discontinue the service there, that didn’t mean the clinic would close.
“There was always the option (the doctors) could continue to operate the clinic. It just would not be a CPN clinic,” she said.
McKenna said that a similar situation occurred in George West when discussion surrounded the closing of that clinic. Ultimately, the decision was made to continue it as part of the Christus Spohn Medical Group.
In Beeville, Christus Spohn Hospital staff members are preparing for a substantial renovation to its emergency room.
Fortunately that work won’t begin until after this Beeville clinic reopens Aug. 5 as a Twin Fountains branch.
Ramos said that when the emergency room work is complete, it will have a new fast track room for those patients needing treatment for such illnesses as sore throats and smaller cuts, along with overall increased capacity and a more efficient layout.
These renovations, costing between $850,000 to 900,000, are needed Ramos said because of the increase in patients coming through the ER doors.
Construction also will be done in several phases instead of all at once.
“We have to keep the ER running, even with the construction going on,” Ramos said.
Once complete, the emergency room staff will be better able to handle the increase in the number of patients entering.
“This fiscal year just closed, and we saw about a 14 percent increase in ER visits from last fiscal year,” Ramos said. “Many of those are attributed to accidents along Highway 181... and other areas in the Eagle Ford Shale.”
This increase is in contrast to an overall hospital population of about a third the total occupancy.
Ramos said the hospital’s daily occupancy averages about 21 patients.
“It is low compared to some of our other facilities. If we can have the hospital full every day, that is the goal of any administrative team.”
He said that the addition of local general surgeons would likely increase the number of patients.
“We are licensed for 69 beds,” Ramos said. “You want to meet the needs of a community.”
Currently, the hospital contracts to have a surgeon at the hospital during the week, but Ramos wants to have two surgeons on staff who could be available at any time — including weekends.
Couple that with finding ways to bring in more primary care physicians, and the hospital would see an increase in patients, Ramos said.
All of it takes time, but Katy Kiser, communications manager, said that the hospital and the medical group are willing to do what it takes to improve service in the area.
“Christus Spohn Hospital Beeville is here to stay,” she said.