Investments being made to improve Fairfax Hospital
FAIRFAX – As access to rural healthcare becomes a growing challenge, the Fairfax Community Hospital, its owner Dr. Elizabeth Pusey and its management group, First Physicians Capital Group (FPCG), are investing to upgrade the hospital to provide quality healthcare close to home and to more effectively care for both its COVID and non-COVID patients.
Dr. Pusey, the owner of Rural Wellness Fairfax, Inc., a healthcare investment company, invested $2.1 million to purchase of the hospital. The March 2020 purchase saved 50 jobs in this small rural community with a population of 1,300. The company has invested $500,000 since purchasing the hospital to upgrade the facility, add equipment and expand resources for hospital staff amid this unprecedented pandemic.
Moreover, over the past several months Dr. Pusey led a legal battle to recover much-needed CARES Act funds that had been set aside for Fairfax Community Hospital in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services sent the CARES Act funds to the bankruptcy trustee even though Rural Wellness Fairfax, Inc. owned and operated the hospital for almost the entire period the funds were designated to cover. The court awarded Rural Wellness Fairfax, Inc. $2.4 million of the CARES Act money to be used to aid the hospital in recovering from financial losses tied to the pandemic and to upgrade the facility, including modernizing the heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system.
“I wanted to make sure our critical access care hospital in Fairfax received the CARES Act funds it deserved, and that the community benefited. Our hospital staff has worked tirelessly on the front lines of this enormous public health crisis for months delivering quality and compassionate care to our patients from Fairfax and across Osage County. I appreciate their dedication and I am proud of their service,” said Dr. Pusey, a physician with over 30 years of experience in both hospital-based and private practice settings.
The CARES Act funding and Rural Wellness Fairfax, Inc.’s capital investments will provide considerable upgrades and improvements to Fairfax Community Hospital.
The investments include updating the 30-year-old carpet with new special-purpose flooring; replacing the antiquated heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system for optimized air filtration; and providing negative air pressure rooms. The improvements are making it possible to have an ER department with better airflow and proper ventilation for patients who may come in for COVID-19 treatment, and to accommodate all patients’ safety.
The plans also include increasing hospital capacity with six rooms, including four ADA-compliant rooms for wheelchair accessibility, in addition to major upgrades for utilities and ventilators to provide long-term acute care to patients.
“I’ve worked at the hospital for over 40 years, and we didn’t have any equipment and resources when the hospital was in bankruptcy,” said Dr. James I. Graham, Fairfax Community Hospital’s Medical Director. “Under Dr. Pusey’s leadership, we went from almost no patients to a full hospital. She has been a big morale builder for the hospital employees and a great benefit to the community of Fairfax.”
Last spring, the hospital launched its telehealth services in partnership with the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences so healthcare staff could provide increased quality care amid the pandemic and into the future. The program offers the hospital’s in-patients with instant access to virtual doctors and specialists at OSU on a 24/7 basis.
“In the middle of a health crisis, we started providing telehealth services where we can get a hold of a pulmonologist, cardiologist, and we have 24-hour emergency room care. I am excited about this innovative technology,” Dr. Graham added. “Fairfax is one of the first rural hospitals in Oklahoma to embrace telehealth. I never thought this would happen for our hospital and it is a dream come true. Our patients are the true winners here.”
In addition to innovative technology and considerable upgrades, the hospital and its management group also invested in the community. Amid the pandemic, Fairfax Community Hospital and FPCG donated over $60,000 for laptops, computers and personal protective equipment to Woodland Public Schools and provided over 100 emergency food boxes for families in need.
“I am focused on closing the health disparities in rural Oklahoma compared to our urban colleagues. Since rural residents are typically older, they need a hospital nearby capable of addressing their often complex medical situations,” Dr. Pusey said. “I intend to bring more attention to and additional resources aimed at improving the healthcare outcomes for rural Oklahomans.”
About First Physicians Capital Group
First Physicians Capital Group is an Oklahoma City based hospital management company that has a successful track record in working with rural communities to convert struggling hospitals into sustainable businesses. The highly experienced team helps operate community hospitals with top-notch staff, innovative technology and quality healthcare that benefit residents, physicians, and local economies.