Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
Serving West Texas

Serving West Texas

I want to present a “This, That, and the Other” type of column today where I touch on several topics.

First of all, a big SHOUT OUT to all for preparing for and supporting our Joint Commission Survey, conducted at the end of August.  We did great! You’ve probably seen the bumper sticker that says, “Safety is no accident.”  I would say, “Success with The Joint Commission is no accident.”  It takes hard work, planning, and effort.  It also requires continuous vigilance to be prepared; therefore, it is not a once every three years activity.  So, thank you. One might say, “But they didn’t come to my area.”  It doesn’t matter—you were ready if they had stopped by and we thank you for that. By the way, if you were present for the Texas Tech University football game (to which we purchased and distributed tickets), I hope you had a good time.  We’ll do that again for some future event.

As we begin a new school year, we are once again greeting students and boasting great class sizes and graduating class sizes. With our medical school class size of 180 students accepted each year, we now have 734 students enrolled. (We have 14 additional students.) This puts us in the top quartile for public medical schools in the nation in terms of enrollment!  It’s pretty exciting and shows that the 50-year-old medical school in West Texas, birthed despite naysayers, has grown up and is doing its part to address the region, state, and nation’s need for physicians.  Be proud of this—we are part of something big, successful, and thriving!

In Texas, there are 290 physicians for every 100,000 people in the state. Compare that number to New York at 499. Our state had 83,334 of the 985,026 physicians in the country, according to the data gathered in the Federation of State Medical Boards’ 2018 Census. Twenty percent of practicing physicians in West Texas are TTUHSC graduates. That percentage goes up when we think of physicians who did their residency here or have, or do, serve on the faculty.  We are doing exactly what we were asked to do by the people of Texas—we are making a difference.

A couple of other things about the Practice and then one more personal story to conclude.

Patient collections for the Lubbock campus set an all-time record at $82,206,920 or a 4.4% increase over the prior year (charges were up 2.25 %.) And, our key question on the patient experience survey, the so-called net-promoter score (used by all the experts), is a very high and respectable 86%. 

Finally, as I write this on 9/11, my thoughts (yours too most likely) drift back to 2001 and the events that changed so many things for our country and for all of us. This is my 9/11 story. 

Late on the evening of 9/11, I was making rounds at the hospital where I worked—trying to encourage people on whom the day had taken an emotional toll and checking on things.  I went into Central Supply in the basement and there were two employees engaged in a rather animated discussion.  One employee—a male RN, was asking for a few basic medical supplies (first-aid type stuff) to take to New York City to which he intended to drive alone in his vehicle starting that night.  He said he wanted to “help out.” The Central Supply attendant told him he couldn’t give him any supplies.  They were chargeable items and he just couldn’t do that because of inventory control, rules, and so forth.

When I walked up, I became the referee in the dispute. I looked at the nurse and said, “You are really going to drive to NYC to help and who will you work with when you get there?”  He said, “Yes sir, I’m leaving tonight and I’ll work beside whoever will let me work with them.” 

I had a decision to make. I looked at the sincerity on the nurse’s face and decided in a split-second that the hospital could contribute a few supplies to the victims of 9/11.  I told the attendant, “Give him what he wants.”  To the nurse I said, “Bless you and please be careful.”

Have a great week.