Meridian Star

July 7, 2013

Neshoba General opens doors to new $19 million addition

By Terri Ferguson Smith / tsmith@themeridianstar.com
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —      Better facilities and improved emergency services have arrived in Philadelphia where hospital officials and local leaders are celebrating the opening of new 52,600-square-foot hospital addition which features a new emergency room with X-ray and four ICU rooms on the first floor; and 25 large, private patient rooms, a surgery suite, and a pharmacy on the second floor of Neshoba County General Hospital and Nursing Home.

    The additions cost $19 million, hospital officials said.

    "We started this nine years ago," said Lonnie Graeber, CEO. "This happened without a tax increase. We've still got a ways to go. This is all part of the first phase."

    Among those who gathered recently for the grand opening is Dr. Jon Boyles, director of Emergency Services, who had good reasons for being happy to see opening day arrive.

    "I'm most excited about having enough room. We've been in close quarters for so long. We were working in an emergency department that was designed in the 1960s to take care of about a quarter of the people that we've been getting through there," Boyles said. "We are finally going to have enough room to properly take care of people."

    The new ER also has some additional equipment that will aid in diagnostics in emergency care.

    "We've just added ultrasound capabilities inside the emergency department for working with trauma and vascular access. It's the newest thing for that," Boyles said.

    Radiology technician Kelly Jonas was standing by her post during a recent tour of the new facility where new equipment will speed things up for ER patients.

    "We have two brand new rooms with all digital equipment, so instead of having to switch the films and cassettes out, all we have is one plate and it's going to be transmitted to our monitors from a wireless signal, so we don't have to go back and forth to scan the plates, run the films and do all of that," Jonas said. "It's in and out a lot faster so that gives us the ability to see more patients faster and more efficiently."

    Neshoba General has also joined a partnership with Anderson Hospital. Jo Helen Daly, of the Board of Trustees of the hospital, recently sent a statement about the relationship with Anderson Hospital and Neshoba General.

    In a statement on the hospital's website, Daly said the board and  management recently reviewed the strategic direction of the hospital and nursing home to determine how it could provide the optimum in healthcare and services.

    "We determined that perhaps the best approach to achieving this goal could be to align with a larger healthcare system, while at the same time, maintain our independence and local ownership," Daly said. "We want to emphasize that this affiliation is just that — an affiliation. It is not a purchase agreement, it is not a lease agreement, and it is not a management agreement. It is a unique blending of both hospitals where each will remain independent but will work together for the betterment of both."

    Boyles emphasized if someone is at Neshoba General and needs to be transferred to another hospital, they will transfer the patient to the hospital of the patient's choice.

    "I want to stress that anytime anybody walks in here and says, 'I want to go to Rush, I want to go to Jackson, I want to go somewhere else,' — if that's what they want to do, that's what we do," Boyles said.