Jan. 11AMORY The signs have turned blue at the Gilmore hospital campus in Amory, and leaders say seas have calmed for the physicians, staff and patients.
The hospital officially became North Mississippi Medical Center Gilmore-Amory on Jan. 1 as it joined the North Mississippi Health Services family.
"The silver lining of the painful bankruptcy process was bringing Gilmore into the NMHS family," said Allen Trya, who will continue as hospital administrator. "It's the best thing to happen in the last 20 years."
The mission is to bring long-term stability to Gilmore. Since 2009, the hospital has been sold four times.
"Gilmore completes our network," filling a coverage gap in Monroe and Itawamba counties as well as adjacent counties in Alabama," said Shane Spees, NMHS president and chief executive officer.
The bumpy ride the Amory hospital has endured since August when Curae Health announced bankruptcy is smoothing out figuratively, Trya said.
The smoother ride will soon extend to the parking lots, which are the first capital improvement project.
"When weather permits, the hospital's parking lots will be resurfaced, then we will be catching up on deferred maintenance," Spees said.
NMHS is also planning to add needed medical equipment and update the facade of the women's center. The transition will also allow Gilmore to resume physician recruiting with the strength of the NMMC system, Trya said.
Patients and families will see familiar faces when they come to Gilmore. All of the employed physicians made the transition to North Mississippi Health Services, Trya said. The private practice physicians who have medical privileges continued without interruption.
Gilmore employees went through the NMHS hiring process as part of the transition. Spees said he didn't know of anyone who wished to continue who was not hired.
"Shedding the distraction of the bankruptcy let us us get back to taking care of patients," Tyra said. "The staff and providers have felt a sigh of relief."
Spees and Trya said the community does not need to fear that services will be transferred out of Amory.
"We have no plans to reduce or eliminate services," Spees said.
The neonatal intensive care and adult critical care units at NMMC-Tupelo have been operating at near or full capacity, Spees said. It would make no sense to shutdown those services in Amory.
"We see this as an expansion of capacity in our system," Spees said.
NMHS did fold the Gilmore clinic in Fulton into its NMMC Fulton Medical Clinic. The nurse practitioner and the two staff members from the Gilmore clinic transitioned with the change.
There has been far more coordination and interaction with NMHS leadership during the transition than in previous ownership changes.
"It's been the best transition, and I've been through three or four of them," said Tyra who has served as administrator at Gilmore since 2013.
Earlier this month, Gilmore had so many patients that it needed to put decommissioned rooms back into service, Trya said. The hospital needed beds and equipment to make that happen.
"All it took was one email and one phone call and we had six new patient rooms ready for service," Tyra said. "It's never happened like that before."
The hospital's electronic medical records were transferred to the NMHS system the first day. The Gilmore's affiliated clinics will be transitioning to Epic with other NMMC Clinics.Those clinics have new names Amory Medical Clinic, Amory Specialty Clinic, Amory Children's Clinic and Hamilton Medical Clinic.
On Feb. 4, another sign will change as Gilmore and NMHS resume offering outpatient physical, occupational and speech therapy. Elite Physical Therapy will be moving out of the space it has leased adjacent to the Gilmore Wellness Center.
"We shed it in 2013, but we'll bring it back," Trya said. "We will be hiring new people."
Therapy services for adults will begin immediately, and there are discussions about offering pediatric therapy as well.
Spees and Tyra were optimistic the changes will be good for both Amory and the larger NMHS system.
"We've been here 102 years," Tyra said. " This solidifies we can move forward for the next 100."
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