Hospital facing ?critical shortage? of pain medicine

By Grace King, Mt. Pleasant News


Henry County Health Center is facing a critical shortage on some pain medicine supply.

During a board of trustees meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 19, CEO Robb Gardner addressed the board?s questions, saying a national shortage has trickled down to Henry County.

?The real intense stuff, the narcotics stuff, we are at a critical shortage,? he said.

There is also a national shortage on IV solution, which may affect the hospital. Gardner said much of the saline is produced in Puerto Rico and because of Hurricane Maria, they have not been able to keep up with demand. On that note, Gardner said that HCHC is currently doing OK on IV solution, but both this and the pain medication shortage has come down on the hospital within the last six weeks.

The administration said they have a contingency plan, as the shortage could go on for months.

While the hospital is facing a shortage on some narcotics, they will be able to increase the days they are able to provide chemotherapy. Because of the Direct Supervision ruling, HCHC has been unable to provide chemo to patients since January 2014 without an oncologist present on hospital grounds.

With a reduction in regulations, Gardner said that there has been a ?moratorium? on Direct Supervision for critical access hospitals. Those needing chemo will now have the option to receive it on days even when an oncologist cannot be present at the hospital.

In other news, the hospital is updating their patient satisfaction goals. Chief Nursing Officer Jennifer Montgomery said during the meeting that the hospital has done relatively well in meeting patient satisfaction goals, and that after the first quarter of this fiscal year ended in September, she reevaluated and proposed to increase the organizational goals.

HCHC will be increasing their goals in the Emergency Department and in Outpatient Services. Patient satisfaction goals also will be added to two new reports, which did not previously have goals established because they were new. This includes Outpatient and Ambulatory Surgery (OAS CAHPS) and Clinician and Group Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CG CAPS).

Board member Robert Meyer said he applauded their aggressive goals in patient care.

The next board of trustees meeting will be Tuesday, Jan. 16.