From staff reports
The Winston County Medical Center staff and interim to new CEO Paul Black continue to reach milestones and build a path to the future.
WMC Nursing holds ribbon cutting
One major milestone occurred when the first resident arrived back at the nursing home o Oct. 1, 2014. With the residents returned and a hard work staff back in place, the WMC nursing home staff held a ribbon cutting on Dec. 18.
“This is a special day for our residents and staff,” said Lacey Vowell, WMC Nursing Home Administrator. “The residents are glad to be home.”
She added that it had been a lot of work and a long road back yet they could celebrate the rebuilding of the nursing home and the future.
“There is no better season to celebrate and we are happy to be celebrating this day,” said Vowell.
With over 100 people watching, Vowell cut the ribbon on the repaired and remodeled nursing home.
“This is a wonderful day for the county, for the nursing home residents and the healthcare in our community,” said Senator Giles Ward after the ribbon cutting.
Dr. Sam Suttle thanked all those who helped the nursing home get back and recognized the staff.
Rep. Joey Hood and Rep. Michael Ted Evans also recognized all those who helped bring the nursing home back to serve its residents and the community.
The facility received a destructive hit by the F-4 tornado on April 28.
“This is one of the first steps back to normalcy for these residents and the community and it is a great first step,” said WMC CEO Paul Black.
Black named CEO
At that time of the tornado, Paul Black had been interim CEO for about a week.
Black jumped in and began to lead the team of WMC staff through the most difficult time in its history with the tornado and its aftermath of no hospital building remaining.
After 8 months of rebuilding, transitioning, and planning; the executive board of the WMC board of trustees named Black the official CEO of Winston Medical Center.
“It takes away an unknown factor but doesn’t change the plans going forward, the job ahead and the many challenges that need to be addressed,” said Black.
Black noted he is focused on the future and the plans ahead.
“The next step in the process are making sure all the plans come together for the new hospital,” said Black. “We can’t wait to unveil the plans for the new facility and the future of healthcare in the community.”
While Black may have had the toughest 8 month interview to gain the CEO title, he noted that his years of business experience in the industry helped him work through the many challenges even though nothing could have fully prepared him for his role after the tornado.
Black also recognized the WMC executive board members for working so diligently on all the matters dealing with the temporary hospital to the future plans.
Black joined the Winston Medical Center as the Chief Financial officer in May of 2011. He was named interim CEO in April of 2014 after CEO Lee McCall was named CEO of Neshoba County Hospital.
Transitional facility planned
While a temporary FEMA hospital has served the community since May, the WMC plans will have a transitional facility setup at the Church Street location in the upcoming months.
The transitional facility will have private rooms and baths, along with the addition of areas for CT scans and mammography services. The transitional facility will offer all departments connected and easy access from one area to another within the facility. With the transitional facility, WMC hopes to reopen Turning Point Mature Adult Care Unit in the first part of 2015.
The transitional facility will lead the way to a new hospital to be built at its former location on East Main. Pryor and Morrow of Columbus is creating process conceptual plans of the new medical facility with the trustees and staff aiming to begin work on the new facility in this summer.
WMC working in the community
While WMC staff have been busy with the nursing home, the temporary hospital and many other items; the staff is still community involved hosting a health fair on October 8.
The health fair was held at the temporary hospital location will several vendors offering services from health information, flu shots, health screenings and much more.