It’s been a good year for the physicians and other medical professionals at Paris Regional Medical Center, according to Steve Hyde, the hospital’s CEO, with cutting edge technology and recognition of the hospital’s high standards of service leading the way.

“Number one on the list of positives at PRMC, we believe, is a new service line, the interventional radiology service, which began in 2018,” Hyde said. “Dr. Srikanth Medarametla and his team are providing cutting edge procedures using state of the art equipment to deliver targeted therapy to our patients and assisting the other physicians to help their patients get the best care possible.”

Interventional radiology is not a new field, but it is a growing one, which uses high definition imaging to guide fine catheters and wires through the body’s blood vessels, offer an alternative to traditional surgeries and laparoscopies. The technology delivers medication where it is needed most and allows surgeons to see exactly where they are going in a manner much less invasive than before.

“This is the latest and greatest technology in medicine and we have it now available in Paris,” Hyde said. “That’s cool.”

In October 2018, Paris Regional Medical Center celebrated its official designation by the Texas Department of State Health Services as a Level 3 Trauma Center, making the hospital the only designated trauma facility within an approximate 90-mile radius of Paris and one of only 55 Level 3 facilities in Texas.

The process took about three years to complete, involving a rigorous one-year demonstration period and compiling a year’s worth of data and meeting the standards of the American College of Surgeons, proving its capability of serving the public.

Trauma designations in Texas are earned in levels 1 through 4, with Level 1 being the highest among the rankings and only confirmed at facilities affiliated with educational systems. Level 3 centers — being the highest designation that can be achieved outside a metropolitan area — provide for resuscitation, stabilization, and assessment of injury victims.

As the popularity of free-standing emergency rooms grows, Hyde pointed out that a Level 3 Trauma Center is a better option for those in need of emergency services.

“The difference is, at a free-standing ER you have one doctor on call,” he said. “We have 30 doctors available every single day at a moments notice.”

Hyde said at a Paris Regional’s ER, those most in need get attention first, so patients presenting with non-life-threatening conditions may have to wait a little bit.

“Every patient and their pain is important,” he said, “but we want to stop life threatening events like heart attacks and stroke first, get them diagnosed and get a doctor right there to take care of them.”

In the last year, Paris Regional Medical Center has worked hard to grow its network in the region, and Hyde said the numbers of patients coming to Paris has increased 69 percent because of it.

“Patients are coming here from all directions, from counties and towns and other hospitals,” he said. “Every month, we have had more than 100 patients transferred to us from outside the county. That’s more than 1,200 a year. The medical professionals in our region are saying ‘You guys are pretty good. We are going to send these patients to you, rather than to Dallas or to Oklahoma City or Tyler.’”

“We believe this is a result of the hard work and dedication our team puts into the service we provide our patients,” said Erin Barnes, Paris Regional Medical Center’s director of marketing/community relations. “The health care providers at the rural facilities across the region have come to know we are a true regional medical facility, and they can trust the outcomes of care we can provide.”

Paris Regional Medical Center continued its course of physician recruitment over the last year, bringing a total of five new physicians to the medical community, as well as the Paris/Lamar County community.

“Not only have we improved the quality of our medical staff, these physicians are new taxpayers in our community, families with good incomes, not just doctors who drive in from Dallas once a week,” Hyde said.

The CEO also pointed to the continued investments the hospital is making in the facility.

“More than $8 million for heating, ventilation and air conditioning, renovations of the labs, purchases of equipment,” he said. “We continue to invest materially in improving this facility and in bringing the technology and equipment and servicess that everyone in the community expects we would have.”

In May of last year, Paris Regional Medical Center instituted a medication disposal program aimed at helping residents to easily dispose of leftover, unused and out-of-date prescriptions and over-the counter medications. Organizers of the effort noted unused medications are a source of drug abuse in millions of homes, with the opioid crisis in the United States fueled in part by that availability. More than 70 percent of young people abusing prescription pain relievers get them through friends or family, including raiding the family medicine cabinet. Overall, 22,000 people die each year from misuse of prescription drugs.

In June of last year, Paris Regional Medical Center also received a re-designation as a Texas Ten Step Facility by Texas Department of Health and Human Services. The hospital first won this award in 2016, and it signifies the detailed work Paris Regional’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital team members have placed on the importance of encouraging breastfeeding as the preferred feeding method for newborns and infants.

Also in June, members of the Paris Regional Medical Center’s auxiliary team, comprised of 151 active volunteers, noted donations of 34,635 hours, gifts of professional artwork and framing to upgrade aesthetics to patient care floors, presentation of a new vehicle to the Security Department, donations of special lactation chairs to the Women’s and Children’s Hospital as well as new chairs to the ER and Fast Track lobbies. The auxiliary team also donated to several community agencies.

In August, Amanda Green, MD, FACP, HMDC, internal medicine physician and chief of staff at Paris Regional Medical Center, was granted the Hospice Medical Director Certified credential by the Hospice Medical Director Certification Board. Green was recognized for her commitment to improving the quality of life by displaying professional competency in the hospice industry.

In September, the hospital hosted a lunch for about a hundred of the area’s first responders on the facilities front lawn

In the coming months, Hyde said, Paris Regional will continue to improve its services and initiatives, growing its network, recruiting physicians — gastroenterologists, a general surgeon and vascular surgeon are high on the list — and investing in new equipment as needed.

“New buildings are still in the plans, but not this year,” Hyde said. “We’ve invested a lot in the last few years in the existing facility so there will be some time before we look to make significant major expansions to the campus.”

Hyde said hospital administrators are in the process of exploring options to upgrade and improve the ER.

“Our biggest problem is that there is not a lot of space to go with that,” he said. “We are working with architects to figure out what we can do to optimize or improve or renovate there.”

Sally Boswell is a staff writer for The Paris News. She can be reached at 903-785-6962 or at sally.boswell@theparisnews.com.

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