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Hospital changes wound-care program
San Antonio-based hyperbaric medicine provider International ATMO has been selected by the Wilson Memorial Hospital District board to help the Connally Memorial Medical Center establish its own wound-care services program. The board, at a Feb. 29 special meeting, agreed to enter into a one-year consulting agreement with the firm.
The hospital’s Chief Executive Officer Jerome Brooks said after the meeting that the two sides still have to agree upon the terms of the contract, such as its cost. But the hospital will retain the current employees of its wound-care center and it will own the equipment.
According to International ATMO representatives Kip Posey and Robert Sheffield, the company only will consult the hospital by managing the wound-care services program temporarily. The company will train the current team while helping the hospital to hire a program manager and a medical director. Posey, who will serve as the interim manager, said he prefers to hire local candidates.
This was to the relief of several area residents, who packed the hospital’s conference room for the meeting. Of those in attendance, most had personally experienced the benefits of the locally based wound-care program. They pleaded with board members Ronnie Eckel, Monica Flores, Amy Clark, Jimmy Fietsam, Sandy Yow, Keith Johansen, Sam Carter, and hospital Chief of Staff Emily Frye to keep the current wound-care staff.
Dino Cantu, brother of wound-care center nurse Rick Cantu, expressed concern that a new company could take away the hometown feel of Connally’s program.
“To be changed into a conglomerate, where they herd people in and herd people out, you can go anywhere and get that,” Dino Cantu said.
Some like Jim Mutz, a patient of the center, were concerned about the validity of rumors that the hospital board wanted to shutter the program.
“There has never been any discussion about closing down the wound-care center,” Eckel said. “It has never come before this board.”
Another patient, Freddy Amaro, praised the center for helping him find relief from ulcerative colitis and stasis ulcers, after being unable to find success with “10 different doctors in San Antonio.
“To lose [the center’s staff] would definitely be a big mistake for the patients and for the community,” he said.
Prior to its unanimous vote to enter into negotiations with International ATMO, the board also heard a presentation from representatives of Lubbock-based Wound Care Specialists. The firm proposed a $703,000-per-year contract, in which they would staff and manage the center. The contract included Wound Care Specialists purchasing three hyperbaric chambers for $300,000 and $75,000 of clinical equipment -- all of which they would own.
Brooks invited the two companies to make presentations before the board in the wake of its decision to seek a replacement for its current wound-care services provider, Accelecare.
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