New leadership brings new opportunities to Mizell Memorial Hospital

Published 9:15 am Wednesday, June 21, 2023

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Covington County native Mitchell Myers considers Mizell Memorial Hospital in Opp to be “full of awesome opportunities” as it continues making strides toward its future.

After serving in leadership roles, Myers was promoted to CEO in December.

“It means a lot to give back to a community that gave so much to me growing up,” Myers said. “I ate many Sunday lunches in the lab at Mizell with my mother when she was working weekend shifts. I am excited for the opportunity to make improvements that will propel Mizell to success now and in the future. I believe the hospital is improving and making strides toward growing. We are adding pain management, we have a new orthopedic, a new podiatrist, and we are heavily recruiting more talent to come in and serve the healthcare needs of Opp and Covington County.”

One of the hospital’s largest projects in 2022 was an extensive upgrade of its heating and cooling systems.

“Some of the equipment we had running our heating and cooling systems was from the late 1960s and early 1970s. This equipment outlived its expected lifespan by a long time. We started facing issues with the system being able to adequately heat and cool the facility. We should be able to run our air conditioning and heating more efficiently after this necessary project,” he said.

Mizell also announced a change in its anesthesia coverage to Community Anesthesia Group, LLC with a plan to add a pain management program. The program has two full-time CRNAs and improves postoperative pain management.

“This new program will bring more up-to-date technology and techniques to the hospital, thus providing high-quality patient care and better patient outcomes. It will allow for more effective pain control and combat the opioid pandemic we are facing. This is non-opioid pain control that will contribute to improved quality of life by restoring the ability to tackle activities of daily living.”

Several new personnel were added to the Mizell staff in 2022, including a podiatrist and an orthopedic surgeon. Dr. Michael Maschek will be at the specialty clinic as a podiatrist.

“One recurring need voiced by our community on Mizell’s Community Health Needs Assessment is podiatry,” Myers said. “We do not have a full-time podiatrist in the area. This specialty allows for improved access to care for patients. He can provide surgical interventions specializing in podiatric medicine. Dr. Maschek has a passion for wound care, which is prevalent in our community due to the high population of diabetic patients. We are proud to offer these services.”

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Sean Owen practices on the second floor.

“It means a lot to have such a highly trained and qualified orthopedic surgeon in our area. This keeps patients in their hometown for care. If someone has a traumatic orthopedic injury, they can receive care equal to or better than the tertiary hospital, which is a big deal. It helps financially, but our efforts are first focused on quality care before revenue follows suit,” Myers said.

Much of the equipment received upgrades throughout the facility. Critical care bedside monitors and telemetry systems were updated, while beds two years old received new mattresses for inpatient units. Volumes in swing beds for short-term rehabilitation also saw an increase.

The hospital also saw several new technological aspects. New stretchers for increased comfort were placed in the emergency department. A new call light system was installed to allow for improved patient communication with care teams. New televisions were added to the inpatient care room on med/surg and in ICU. A PCR machine was added to the lab for improved testing capabilities, and three new ventilators were brought in.

“Mizell has been around since 1949, and upgrades are necessary to create a comfortable work environment for employees and a comfortable place to receive care for patients. These upgrades allow us to implement top-of-the-line equipment and techniques in Opp,” he said.

One of the largest upgrades was the addition of a brand-new 3D mammogram machine by Hologic.

“The new mammogram machine provides improved patient comfort and a much better detection rate. This will improve early detection of breast cancer. Early intervention is key with any type of cancer, and breast cancer is certainly no exception.”

ER volumes increased to pre-pandemic levels.

“This is attributed to the fear of hospitals being resolved. During COVID, people were fearful of contracting COVID by visiting the hospital. As COVID has fallen off, people are more comfortable seeking healthcare,” Myers said.

Mizell’s dietary department opened back to the public last year with stoves, ovens, and fryers in the kitchen.

“Dietary provides a good and hot meal at an affordable price to the community. It also encourages interaction between the hospital staff and members of the community. This interaction establishes a good rapport and provides comfort to patients when they see these familiar faces while battling healthcare issues.”

Inpatient and outpatient speech therapy has grown in the past two years. An outpatient infusion center opened to provide specialty infusions, outpatient antibiotics, hydration therapy, and more.

A primary care clinic opened in Elba. CRNP Dylan McCollough is accepting new patients and walk-ins at Elba Healthcare. Individuals can call 334-493-5713 for appointments.

The volume of the sleep disorders center saw a dramatic increase as Dr. Geoffrey Lipscomb was brought in to read sleep studies.

“We have a great staff in our sleep disorders center with a great reputation of friendly customer service and quick turnaround times. James Anderson does a phenomenal job keeping our certification active and leading a team of great employees. The employees get all the credit for the successes we have seen in that area,” Myers stated.

The Mizell Memorial Hospital Foundation held its first gala in a few years. The hospital also plans to revitalize its auxiliary (volunteer) program.

“COVID took a toll on our auxiliary as they were not able to meet or assist much in the hospital. Inactivity hurt membership, as we all know out of sight out of mind. When functioning well, we have enough members and are able to work in our building,” said Human Resources Director Cheryl Hampton said.

Hampton added that the auxiliary is integral to the hometown culture.

“They can be a smiling face greeting patients and visitors, providing directions, assisting in nursing units with tasks such as taking patients ice, assisting with filing in offices, and many other things. Over the years, the auxiliary has provided items such as new wheelchairs, activity supplies for our senior behavioral care unit and swing bed (rehab) patients, vital sign machines, and various other items through their fundraising projects. If you are willing to serve, we can find a place for you.”

Malori Mitchell is the auxiliary liaison for the hospital, and Edmond Hudson is the current auxiliary president.

Mizell Memorial Hospital is located at 702 North Main Street in Opp. For more information call 334-493-3541.