Hospital's occupancy rate leads Md. CCGH adds doctors, equipment CARROLL COUNTY FARM/BUSINESS

September 09, 1993|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff Writer

Carroll County General Hospital is celebrating having the highest occupancy rate among Maryland's 51 general-service hospitals.

The 148-bed hospital had an occupancy rate of 86 percent, compared with a statewide average of 67 percent, during fiscal 1993, which ended June 30, according to Carroll County General and Maryland Hospital Association officials.

It was the second straight year that the hospital had had the state's highest occupancy rate.

The occupancy rate is based on all beds in the hospital and how many are being occupied each evening, hospital officials said.

They attributed the high rate to a growing roster of doctors and specialists serving the Westminster hospital and new equipment, both of which attract more patients.

"In the last three to four years, we've added more than 60 doctors to our staff, including a lot of new specialists," said Gill Chamblin, the hospital's director of public relations. "People are beginning to use local specialists at a local hospital rather than going into Baltimore."

New equipment, such as a cardiac catheterization that helps identify heart problems, has improved services at the hospital, she said.

"More and more people and doctors are referring patients to our hospital because they know we can do the procedures," she said.

Services in high demand for fiscal 1993 included surgery, critical and progressive care, the emergency room, laboratory services and diagnostic testing, especially CT scanning and nuclear medicine (in which low-dose radioactive dyes are injected into blood vessels and pictures taken to diagnose cell-tissue cancers or hairline fractures).

During the 12 months that ended June 30, Carroll General cared for nearly 8,300 inpatients, 7 percent more than in the previous fiscal year; treated 24,710 emergency room patients; and performed nearly 10,700 operations, hospital officials said.

Population growth in the area also has played a role in th hospital's high occupancy rate, Ms. Chamblin said.

The hospital, in an annual report released this week, said the ne gain for the fiscal year was $991,000, about 2 percent of the hospital's $48.6 million operating budget, which is "a small amount even for a nonprofit hospital," said Kevin Kelbly, the hospital's financial vice president.

He said the hospital had concluded one of the busiest years in its 32-year history. New beds, a 34-bed nursing unit and expanded computer capabilities were among the accomplishments, he said.

"We've achieved a lot," he said.

More than 700 babies were delivered at the hospital in fiscal 1993, 20 percent more than in 1992, hospital officials said.

"We're beginning see real increases in the number of deliveries, Ms. Chamblin said.

Hospital officials estimated that nearly 5,000 people participate community health screenings, lectures and classes about health-related topics.

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