The Quay County Sun spoke with Dan C. Trigg Memorial Hospital administrator Lance Labine Thursday morning. Labine discussed physician staffing and new hospital programs.
Your first day at Dan C. Trigg was Aug. 30. How has your experience here been so far?
It's great. It's a great little hospital and a wonderful little community and I'm just really privileged to be here.
Some physicians have resigned recently. Can you tell us about that?
We had three physicians about a week prior to Thanksgiving who submitted their resignations. Of course we respect their decisions, for personal or professional reasons, to pursue other interests. It was something we didn't want to hear but that's the thing that happens in this health care arena that we're in. Our goal is to create a plan to ensure that we were going to have clinic access and physician coverage and we've been able to at least do that in the meantime.
We had two physicians that were emergency room doctors, that provided coverage for us in the emergency room. One of them is Dr. Justin Hazen. One of them is Dr. Amber Shields. The other physician is a clinic physician, Dr. Ed Cazzola.
You also have a new physician coming in?
What we did is we contracted with a temporary provider to cover our clinic, and she's already in place. Her name is Dr. Krishna Kumar. We contracted for six months so we've got her though June. Hopefully by that time we will have recruited full-time doctors. We've already been working on that. The emergency department coverage won't be a problem. We have a position candidate coming in the middle of December to interview for the clinic, and we've already provided a contract to another physician who is trying to make a decision as to whether or not she wants to come. We should be in pretty good shape. One of the things that we have added with all these changes is we do have five-day-a-week coverage in the clinic, whereas before we only had three-day-a-week-coverage. We have actually expanded our clinic coverage.
What else is new at your facility?
We're heading into a new budget year starting in January and we're excited about the prospect of expanding some of our services. There's a couple of things that we want to implement that we haven't been doing before. We just got approval for state-of-the-art new digital mammography, which we should have in place by January. The machine that we've been approved for is the top-of-the-line technology. People will be able to get the same technology here as they get in Albuquerque and Amarillo. We're excited about that.
The county helped pay for half of that equipment. It's a big thing for us. The county is so supportive of the hospital and we want to make sure the readers know that their tax dollars are going to good use.
We're expanding our physical therapy department. We just recruited a physical therapy assistant so we're excited about that and we hope to be adding a pulmonary rehab program, which is a new program for the area, and it's an outpatient program that will help folks that have respiratory issues and it will help improve their lifestyle. We're just developing that program as we speak.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
This is a great little community. The doctors that are leaving us, we hate to see them go, but they've really helped us get some things established here and hopefully we can move forward to even better things, but they've certainly been a big part of helping us get to where we are today.