Hospital looks at affiliation one year later
by Staff Reports | August 4, 2017 8:10 am
Last Updated: August 3, 2017 at 7:15 pm
McLeod Health Clarendon celebrated last month one year of affiliation with McLeod Regional Medical Center out of Florence.
“In the last 12 months, there have been many highlights here at the hospital,” said Debbie Locklair, who served as interim administrator for the past year. “The huge story for this county is the investment McLeod made in Clarendon Memorial Hospital, paying off $34 million in debt that this hospital had.”
Locklair said that, for taxpayers, that debt payment is a big deal.
“We helped pay off the bond that helped build the new emergency department, the operating room and the new wing of the hospital,” said Locklair. “We made an important investment in this community, but that debt was there, and it’s unbelievable for a hospital to be in the position to come in and not only take over that debt, but pay it off and continue thriving.”
Locklair said the hospital has also invested $2.5 million more in the past 12 months in technology, equipment and facility improvements.
“Some of these are very visible in renovations to the lobby, but a lot of it is behind the scenes in the infrastructure,” said Locklair. “You don’t see the mechanical parts of the facility or the clinical equipment in the patient care areas. A lot of the improvements have been in the IT infrastructure, things that needed to be upgraded here and there.”
Locklair said that, shortly after last year’s affiliation, McLeod administrators went to hospital staff and asked them to prioritize needs.
“As soon as we hit the ground, we asked the medical staff to make lists and prioritize what is needed for essential care,” said Locklair. “We knew we were making an investment, but our funds are unlimited. But we have a commitment here, and we will continue to invest in capital equipment here.”
Locklear said the affiliation has also provided Clarendon residents will “access to specialists across the entire McLeod family.”
“We now have the ability to use a computer, like Skype, and you can get in contact with a specialist at another facility,” said Locklair. “We are working on a contract with the South Carolina Department of Mental Health to extend this service for psychiatry.”
This connectivity has provided access to nephrologists, cardiologists, neurologists and other specialists, she said.
“It doesn’t matter which facility you go to in the McLeod family, you’re going to be able to see these specialists through this system and have the same experience of getting that visit at their clinic,” she said.
Locklair said that McLeod has also worked at shortening wait times in the hospital emergency department.
“Patients’ expectations are that when they come to the ER, the reason they’re there is to be seen by a provider, so I can get a judgment as to how emergent my situation is,” she said. “Our goal is to get you in front of that provider as quickly as possible and get rid of all the obstacles that keep you from being seen. We’ve gone through a lot of work to make this process more smooth for our patients.”