Marion General Hospital sees more patients, more profits - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Marion General Hospital sees more patients, more profits

COLUMBIA, MS (WDAM) -

Six months ago the wait time in Marion General Hospital's emergency room was too long, county residents said - and not all the doctor's there were licensed to practice by the Mississippi State Medical Board.

"Having a downturn in the economy hurt you know and we have a lot of people that can't pay their hospital bills and things like that, it created a problem out there," said Columbia Mayor Reed Houston

Now, the wait time is shorter. Doctors have not been added - they have been reorganized to become more efficient. Some doctors have been laid off and replaced so now all E.R. physicians are board certified.

Forrest General has taken over management of Marion General Hospital and put Bryan Maxie, a former head of operations at Forrest General Hospital, at the helm.

"We want to do everything in the small rural settings that we can do, which would in turn free up space at the big hospital," said Maxie.

Maxie himself said it was not hard to ask around to get complaints and criticisms of the hospital, which he used as directions on how to get the facility where it needed to go.

Marion and Forrest counties are working with Forrest Health to foot the bill, which has grown to $600,000 since November, in order to renovate and reorganize Marion General in its first major building update in 30 years

In terms of the look of the place, the walls are changing, the ceiling is going to change, the blinds, and even the shower curtain - designed to be warmer will be different. Even in the corridors, a new coffee-color finish on the walls is designed to make the facility more inviting.

"People can let the looks affect what they think about a facility," said Maxie of the cosmetic upgrades.

In the last months, more patients have been coming into the 49-bed hospital

"When we got here our census was less than 10 and we've been up to a census of 28," Maxie said of number of patients registering in the hospital.

"We understand how the patients feel and we know that if it's a clean, new environment that it makes them feel better," said Patricia Reid, the hospital's director of nurses.

The hospital even made money last month.

"It's the first time we've had a positive month as far as cash flow in a couple of years probably," said Reid.

"They are slowly changing the mindset that I think Columbia and Marion County had of the hospital, which - I hate to use the Band-Aid station - but that's how they perceived it," said Mayor Houston.

Most of the renovations are being done in the west wing of the hospital, and Maxie says, if the renovations stay on target, administrators are shooting to have the wing finished and the changes made and ready to be shown off in an open house in April.

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