Coffeyville Regional Medical Center: Jerry Marquette, CEO

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A typical rural, Midwestern healthcare center not only meets the medical needs of its community but the needs of neighboring towns as well. Residents travel from across the plains, from points where it looks like the horizon never ends, seeking medical attention.  People will even travel from neighboring states for medical care.

That’s the reality Jerry Marquette faces every day as CEO of Coffeyville Regional Medical Center in Coffeyville, Kan.  For 21 years, he has led this 60-year-old, 105-bed medical facility in caring for the sick and injured who come to this community hospital, situated on the southeast border of Kansas and northeastern border of Oklahoma.  “While Kansas is a rural state, with only 3.4 million residents, it is a large state geographically, with many rural areas that don’t have their own hospitals or medical facilities,” he said.  Coffeyville itself has only about 12,000 residents.

“Even though we’re not a big city, we have surrounding cities that we provide care for,” said Marquette.

With a staff of about 421 full-time employees, Coffeyville serves at least 10 counties, two of them located in Oklahoma, for a total of more than 100,000 people.  The hospital provides all the regular services a hospital would normally offer; including a 24/7 emergency room staffed by physicians Coffeyville keeps on contract, rather than hiring outside physicians to staff the area.  “This has been an industrial community for a hundred years and with that comes the need for emergency care,” Marquette added.

“That’s the kind of unique services that we provide and help us to keep afloat in this economic age that we’re in now,” Marquette said.  “We have to look at the big picture.”

Due to the hospital’s rural location, the CEO said they do some telemedicine in conjunction with the University of Kansas’ KU Medical Center, specifically using TeleStroke in their emergency room.  With TeleStroke, physicians can consult with specialists at KU, who review case data remotely via videoconference and image sharing technology to provide guidance to emergency room personnel.

“We also work with some tertiary hospitals in Tulsa, Oklahoma, as they are actually closer than facilities in Kansas City or Wichita,” Marquette said.  “Tulsa is only 70 miles from Coffeyville.”

Unique Services

Much of the reason why Coffeyville draws patients from such a wide area is the unique services the medical center provides.  Unlike other acute-care general hospitals in the region, Coffeyville is an American College of Surgeons-certified cancer hospital, and has been for 30 years. The medical center provides all modalities available in cancer treatment, performs surgery when necessary, completes chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and maintains all the record keeping for cancer reports.

“A lot of hospitals our size don’t have a cancer program or a cancer center within their facilities,” Marquette said.  There’s only one other hospital that offers a complete cancer program in Southeast Kansas.  We think we have a certain niche that we’re able to provide that type of care to our patients, so they don’t have to travel for their cancer care.”

In addition, the medical center recently added Neurosurgery to its service line, and two new procedures called EsophyX and PillCam.  “Neurosurgery is not usually found in rural hospitals,” said Marquette. “In 2008, we were the first hospital in the State of Kansas to offer EsophyX, a new incisionless procedure to help patients with heartburn and acid reflux.  And, at the same time, PillCam was introduced, which is a vitamin-sized capsule with a miniature video camera; when swallowed, it sends pictures of the gastrointestinal tract to a computer to help the physician make diagnosis.  These new services provide another unique aspect to our hospital, utilizing the latest technology that you would expect to see only in the big city,” said Marquette.

The Basics

In addition to the services already mentioned, Coffeyville’s facility includes a 20-bed, semi-private skilled nursing unit, a seven-bed intensive care unit, a six-bed women’s health unit, and the remainder of the hospital’s beds are available for acute care patients.

The medical center provides both in-patient and outpatient surgery services, with an in-house anesthesiologist who provides pain management.  Marquette said the medical center also provides outpatient rehabilitation, in-house laboratory services, and dietary and environmental services.  There is also a full suite of medical imaging, including a 40-slice CT scanner.  To meet patients’ medical needs once they’ve been discharged from the hospital, Coffeyville has operated a home health agency since 1985.

Financial Investments

In 2001, a majority of Coffeyville residents voted in favor of a $16 million building and renovation project that resulted in the addition of 60,000 square feet to the hospital.  Construction took place from 2003 to 2005.

“The original hospital building dated back to the hospital’s founding in 1949, so once the new facility was completed patients were moved to the new space for inpatient care,” Marquette said.

The new space included a new admissions area, laboratory, emergency room, intensive care unit, women’s health unit, skilled nursing unit and behavioral health care unit.  Existing areas that underwent renovation included medical imaging, acute care and surgical services.

The CEO noted that they’re currently adding a 20,000 square foot building for radiation oncology and MRI, which will include a safe room to house more than 77 patients in case of a natural disaster, such as the flood that hit Coffeyville in July 2007.  A levee was breached and more than 42,000 gallons of crude oil, from the local refinery, spilled into the Verdigris River.  The hospital processed 50 patients following that disaster.

“We only admitted 18 people, but this addition would have given us ample space to take care of all 50 people if they had needed to be admitted, without impacting our other patients,” he said.

Educational Opportunities

Coffeyville provides a number of preceptorships in which students receive practical experience and training while being supervised by a specialist in a particular area of medicine.  Students from KU Medical Center can receive experience in pharmaceuticals, rehabilitation services, and physical, speech and occupational therapy.  Similar opportunities are available to high school students as well, with programs where they can observe activities within the hospital to learn more about the medical profession.

“We give back a lot of things to the community, such as this program,” Marquette said.  “We try to be a good provider for the community that we serve.”

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