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MCE’s ‘community impact overview’ given to Coffee commissioners

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MCE's 'community impact overview' given to commission

Medical Center Enterprise Chief Executive Officer Joey Hester addresses the Coffee County Commission Monday.

The CEO of Medical Center Enterprise outlined the hospital’s commitment to the community in a presentation of the organization’s statistics for 2021 to the Coffee County Commission Monday.

“Where healthcare and community connect,” is more than a slogan at Medical Center Enterprise. “We’re seeing a tremendous change in the perception in the community about the hospital,” Hester said. “That’s big for us because we need to have the community have confidence in us and we’re seeing that happen.”

Hester gave an overview of some of the impact that MCE had on the community in 2021. “People said that we are a for-profit hospital,” he said. “Last year we paid $3.9 million in property, sales, and gross receipt taxes. I say that we are a tax-paying hospital.”

Financial benefits to the community include the investment of $3.2 million in capital projects at the hospital last year that employees 450 full and part-time employees and has an annual payroll of $24.8 million, Hester said. “We have 149 physicians and nurse practitioners on staff.”

MCE is a 131 licensed bed facility with seven ICU units and 18 emergency rooms bays, which were renovated in 2021.

Hester said 108,800 patient encounters in 2021 included more than 28,000 emergency room visits, 3,700 inpatient admissions, 900 births, and 4,900 surgeries. Outpatient visits, including physician clinic visits, exceeded 71,000 in 2021. In the four operating room suites, 4,900 surgeries were performed. “Those numbers are really remarkable for a hospital our size,” Hester said.

Commitment to the community in 2021 included providing $32.3 million in charity and uncompensated care, $4.3 million spent locally and spent $11,000 in donations and community outreach. The overall financial impact on the community of MCE is over $68.5 million. “That’s pretty good for a hospital our size,” he said.

Included in the community impact is a commitment to developing clinicians for the future, Hester said.

“Enterprise High School students experience potential careers shadowing our team and auxiliary scholarships totaling $70,000 were awarded to students pursuing clinic studies. MCE has partnerships with Enterprise State Community College, Wallace Community College, Troy University, and Lurleen B. Wallace Community College to help educate nursing school students in their facility.

With more than four decades in the health care field, Hester plans to retire in the area. “When people ask why I don’t go to a larger area, I say that the reason that we chose to live here because of the pride of the people here in Coffee County and Enterprise,” he said. “I’m so excited about being here.”

His commitment to quality medical care is ongoing, Hester said. “I plan on retiring here so I’m going to need it,” he said.

The next meeting of the Coffee County Commission is Sept. 26 in the Government Office Complex in New Brockton. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. and is open to the public.

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