By Michelle Price
Special to the UCBJ
COOKEVILLE – The Cookeville Regional Medical Center (CRMC) Board of Trustees was given an update on CRMC’s highlights from the past year during their recent September meeting, most notably that wages and benefits for the 2,466 employees are nearly $190 million per year.
“One of the numbers I’m most proud of is our salary, wages and benefits number of over $189,600,000,” said CRMC CEO Paul Korth. “Almost $190 million was paid out in salary, wages and benefits to our employees and staff. That just goes to show the great number of employees and great staff we have here at the hospital – 2,466 employees, well over 180 positions.”
Korth shared with the Board that CRMC provided over $33 million in charity/uncompensated care to the community last year.
“Our 2020-21 year was a very difficult and challenging year, especially with COVID,” Korth said. “Since Jan. 1, 2020, CRMC has seen almost 4,000 COVID inpatients and ER visits.”
CRMC’s first potential COVID patient was a Tennessee Tech student tested in mid-January 2020 after returning from spending his Christmas break in China. Because the pandemic was in such early stages, the test had to be sent to the CDC in Atlanta for testing. Fortunately, the student was negative for the virus.
“As we look back and try to reflect on what happened with COVID. This was something none of us in this room, or even the state or nation, had seen such a dramatic impact and continued impact that this virus is having on our nation right now,” Korth said.
The effects of COVID on the medical center were also profound, according to Korth.
“Never had we thought before that we would close the doors and not let any visitors in,” Korth added. “A lot of people didn’t come to work. We had people working from home, so it changed tremendously. We were able to adapt. We were able to overcome. And I think we are better for it today than what we were (before). We’ve learned a lot of stuff from it. We’re continuing to try to make improvements and changes.”
There were good cases that came to the medical center also. There were 1,450 newborn deliveries last year, an average of almost four babies per day.
Even with the reduction in services, 7,580 surgeries and 3,694 heart procedures were still performed at CRMC last fiscal year.
Over 46,000 emergency room visits occurred, with 13,548 inpatient admissions. Another 166,030 people had outpatient visits at the medical center.
Because of COVID, the number of patients treated was down considerably from a typical year.
“We treat well over 300,000 patients a year on an annual basis,” Korth shared. “We probably have over 1 million people through the doors on an annual basis. There is a lot of foot traffic through this building on a regular basis.”
The reason for the large number of patients that CRMC sees is the quality of its physicians and services.
CRMC is recognized as Tennessee’s only hospital to receive America’s 100 Best Hospitals for Orthopedic Surgery Award for nine consecutive years and Tennessee’s only hospital to receive the Cardiac Surgery Excellence Award for three straight years.