Nov. 11, 2005 Myrah Keating Smith Community Health Center's new administrator, Harold Wallace, gave the facility a B- in an interview after Friday's Rotary Club of St. John meeting at the Westin Resort and Villas.
Wallace said that he wants to expand radiology service from Monday and Thursday to three days a week.
"The big task is finding employees," he said to the approximately 20 members gathered for their weekly meeting.
He urged radiology technicians who want to work on St. John to call him for an appointment. And in order to make working at the health center easier, Wallace said that a van picks up St. Thomas-based employees at the ferry dock, which eliminates transportation expenses for them.
On the job for five weeks, Wallace said he's still evaluating where other improvements can be made. He said he's willing to look at the feasibility of delivering babies at Myrah Keating Smith, a service long sought by some St. John residents, but the Rev. Ray Joseph explained that it was cost prohibitive.
Joseph, a Rotary member who served on the facility's advisory committee, said a study done several years ago determined it would be necessary to have a helicopter standing by to take the patients to Roy L. Schneider Regional Medical Center on St. Thomas in case something went wrong. He did, however, say that it may be time for another study.
Wallace said he expects to refurbish the existing helicopter pad so it's usable.
Meanwhile, he said that 58 percent of the patients at Myrah Keating Smith are responsible for their own bills because they don't have insurance or are underinsured.
"It seems to be more of an issue here," Wallace said.
Wallace said some uninsured or underinsured people don't pay their bills, leaving the facility to absorb nearly $1 million a year in charges. He said that both residents and tourists are guilty of non-payment.
"We're trying to improve on that," he said.
Wallace also thanked the Rotary members for donating a sterilizer to Myrah Keating Smith.
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