RMH ‘all the way back’ from Blackhawk era
“I’d say we’re all the way back,” Jeff Madison, CEO, said. “We’re operating in the black and it looks like, when all the data is in, August is going to be a great month.”
A new clinic—the Pecos Street Clinic—is opening Thursday in the former professional center building at RMH.
It joins Richards Medical Clinic on North Main, and the Family Care Clinic at RMH as the third clinic serving the Rockdale area.
Longtime Rockdale physician Dr. Peyton Thompson is back with Little River and will be overseeing operations at the new Pecos Street Clinic.
And Little River Medical has announced or thopedist (and current state representative) Dr. Charles Schwertner will see patients in Rockdale one day a week at the Main Street clinic.
‘BACK TO BASICS’—It’s no mystery what has triggered the recovery.
Madison told hospital officials when he came back on board in early 2011 that Little River Medical needed “to get back to doing the things which made us successful in the first place.”
Under Blackhawk, which went under financially in November, 2010, and almost took Little River Medical with it, services and popular physicians were cut.
In what came to be known as the “Midsummer Massacre,” about 40 percent of Little River’s 200 employees were fired on July 28, 2010.
“We’re almost back to where we were before that day,” Madison said. “ We’re back to about 95 percent of that work force.”
SUPER CLINIC—Madison said the hospital and clinics are “getting great use” by the public, so much use that a third clinic is needed.
“ We’re just running out of space,” he said. “In fact, one of our long-term goals is to consolidate all three clinics into a ‘super-clinic’ some day.”
That’s a far cry from the situation last November. Blackhawk had closed its hospital in Bastrop and it appeared Richards Memorial was next on the list to be shut down.
But Kevin Owens of Georgetown stepped in and purchased the failing Blackhawk company, telling Rockdale Hospital District directors he made the purchase specifically to keep RMH from closing.
“Blackhawk doesn’t exist any more,” Madison said. “ We’re paying off about $9 million in debt.”
Madison said there are more long-term goals being considered.
“We’re going to convert to electronic records,” he said. “We’ve got a $2 million federal grant to work with. That’s going to have a big positive impact on our business.”
There’s also been discussion concerning a possible clinic in Thorndale.
Remodeling present facilities is also a long-term goal.
“And, of course’, we’ll keep doing what made us successful,” Madison said. “We got away from that last year.”
CLINIC—Nurse-practitioner Monette Schweitzer and physician assistant Kathy Smith will work under Dr. Thompson in the new clinic.
“I’ve never left Rockdale, of course,” Dr. Thompson said. “I’m looking forward to this new opportunity.”
It’s a new opportunity for Dr. Schwertner, of course, who has come to Milam County a number of times in campaigns and as its state representative.
“This is an opportunity for me to get to know, and help serve, the people here in a different capacity,” he said.