ARTESIA — “December was a fairly busy month for Artesia General Hospital.”
That was the word given late Monday afternoon to the Artesia Special Hospital District Board of Directors by Chief Executive Officer of Bob Tyk.
“On the inpatient side we had 10 percent more acute admissions,” he said.
For 2017, that number was up by 14 percent from the previous year.
“Surgeries are down a little bit,” he said. “Nine percent in the month of December, which is not unusual in December with the holidays. Year-to-date, we’re off by about 4 percent.”
Tyk said hospital staff are confident that will pick up for the rest of this month and next month as well.
“The emergency room has been busy during the month of December,” he said. “Ten percent increase over the prior year and so far in the month of January, we were on track to do almost 1,300 ER visits, historically we do 950 to 1,100. So we’ve been very busy in the emergency room.”
Tyk said some of the extra people have had the flu, however not all ER visits have been due to the flu.
“Which is good, the emergency room is the doorway to the hospital,” Tyk said.
Tyk was asked by board member Gary Sims about a new sleep center at Artesia General Hospital.
“I think there’s going to be a soft opening next week,” Tyk said.
“But, they’re all geared up ready to rock ’n’ roll,” he added.
Tyk added that the personnel manning the sleep center have been getting calls asking about sleep studies. He also said that some out-of-town doctors have been asking about it as well.
“We’re getting calls from physicians in Roswell that wanna use this as well,” Tyk said.
Dennis Maupin, board chairman, questioned Tyk how the department should go about trying to attract more family providers.
“That is at the top of our list,” Tyk said. “That’s one of the things that Dr. (Joe) Salgado made perfectly clear when he moved over to MFP (Memorial Family Practice clinic), we just can’t have one family practitioner.”
Tyk added, “I don’t know why it is so difficult for us to get anyone to even come here. It’s not that they’ve come and they weren’t happy, we just can’t get them down here. Nor-Lea in Lovington they have all kinds of family practitioners.”
Maupin recalled Artesia had a new a number of MD’s in the past.
“There are less physicians going into that into family medicine,” Tyk said. “And so it’s a harder speciality to recruit to. Because there are less that are going into that and more are going into general surgery, orthopedics the types of things that generate a paycheck.”
AGH’s Chief Operating Officer Kai McSwain explained that Dr. Salgado, who is the lone MD at the family practice clinic, is actually looking at some resumes of some people who could provide some help.
“I’ll be honest with you, I’m not having troubles recruiting right now,” McSwain said. “There’s nothing to be ashamed about for Artesia, we have plenty to offer. I just approach it from that direction. Bob has given us the flexibility to be competitive, we just need to find a doc.”
“Your solo practitioner doesn’t exist anymore,” McSwain added. “They were part general surgeon, the way medicine is now, family practice is it’s own speciality. We’re just gonna have to go out and get someone that wants to like all the things Artesia is good at it.”
McSwain said Artesia offers the small town living for people who want to raise a family and likes desert living. “I have high hopes that we’ll be able to recruit.”
General assignment reporter Mike Smith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 307, or at email@example.com.