When people need medical help, they do not like to travel long distances to receive care. According to Lisa Casteel, this was a longtime problem for the citizens of Henry County, Tenn., which has a large population of retirees.
In previous years, the closest sources for some types of care were in the cities of Jackson and Nashville, Tenn. Patients had to travel anywhere from one to three hours for a specialist’s visit, depending on traffic. “It would take you an entire day,” she recalls.
But the Henry County Medical Center (HCMC) in Paris, Tenn., has taken steps to solve this problem. Casteel, who is the HCMC’s CEO, has managed a turnaround to make it easier for locals to get the care they need.
Henry County infoHCMC, which started operations 66 years ago, currently consists of a 142-bed hospital, the 136-bed Henry County Healthcare Center, Emergency Medical Services, an off-site Center for Wellness & Rehabilitation, an off-site Diagnostic Center, and off-site Surgery Center, multiple physician clinics, and a Home Health and Hospice service. It also employs a staff of 900 skilled employees, Casteel says.
“We have an excellent work environment with camaraderie among clinicians and the organization,” she declares. “That really helps us to recruit the talent we need so we can grow and provide the services people need and keep them at home for their healthcare.”
Casteel joined HCMC in 2005 as its chief financial officer after working as a controller in a hospital in Clarksville, Tenn., Prior to healthcare, Casteel worked as a CPA with two national firms. Casteel became HCMC’s CEO in 2017. She notes that her turnaround of the center began two years ago, after suffering losses and cutbacks spurring from the Great Recession and when surrounding employers cut back on their services. Volumes plummeted and HCMC needed to redefine itself. “Any time that those types of things happen, that impacts our services,” Casteel says, adding that HCMC was affected by the change in insurance toward more value-based purchasing, as well as the regulatory environment requiring electronic health records.
Henry County 2The center also saw a drop in the number of beds it was staffing, which made it difficult to cover its expenses. To cope, HCMC focused on core businesses that needed to be marketed, including its behavioral health services.
HCMC split the services into adult and geriatric units and marketed them to the local area. With its population of retirees, “That absolutely grew our service in behavioral health,” she reports.
The center also grew its skilled nursing facility by reaching out to other hospitals to offer the services that they did not already provide. For example, when the patients at those facilities are ready to be discharged, they can be transferred to HCMC to take it from there.“Those facilities were glad to have a direct connection to us,” Casteel says.
HCMC also has made investments in its service lines, including orthopedics. For example, “We purchased a robot to assist with those surgeries, became a Joint Commission Accredited Joint Center of Excellence, and have marketed our services and grown our business,” she says, noting that the center plans to grow its cardiology and pulmonology services.
Previously, HCMC offered those services part-time. “We have found a full-time pulmonologist and are waiting to hear back from a cardiologist,” Casteel reports.