December 2, 2018 / Special to the Herald Times / By DOC WATSON
MEEKER, CO | The primary emphasis of the Nov. 27 Pioneers Medical Center board meeting was the future vision held by both staff and board in the areas of orthopedics as well as hospital expansion.
In preparation for that discussion, Development Director Margie Joy outlined PMC’s Strategic Plan for 2019–2022, elaborating on five focus areas: quality (excelling in all we do); finance (breaking even in 2020); growth (meeting the needs of local healthcare, such as orthopedics); people (being a premiere employer); and community (being a leader in public health concerns, such as tobacco, alcohol, suicide prevention, etc.). Also presented was the 2019 budget with projected revenues of $30.313 million and projected operating expenses of $26.633 million. The projected revenues are actually a 20.6 percent increase driven mainly by orthopedic surgeries. After other factors are figured in, the net projected income is $2.706 million.
The meeting then turned to the future vision. Meeker’s own Dr. Kevin Borchard—a highly acclaimed, board certified (American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons) orthopedic surgeon—was on hand to propose the purchase of the Mako Total Knee Robotic-Arm to assist in knee surgeries. This $1 million piece of technology guarantees greater accuracy and precision in planning and performing knee replacement than manual technique. It also replaces several other surgical instruments and makes the job much easier for the surgeon and assistants.
While there are currently three locations on the Western Slope that have robotic surgery, none of them have joint fellowship-trained surgeons such as Dr. Borchard (and Dr. Dan Ward). “This, coupled with zero percent infection rate, low remission rate and short length of stay (in the hospital), would make Pioneers probably the top place on the Western Slope to get a joint replacement,” Borchard said.
This discussion then led to another need this robotic advancement and patient increase will demand, namely, building expansion. Joy elaborated on this by presenting three options. The most practical and cost effective one is option two, an approximately $7.7 million expansion that will add two operating rooms, three recovery rooms, six hospital rooms and additional clinic space.