Not long ago, the MED was so broke. There was talk of shutting it down. Bills weren't being paid. Local leaders were suing the state to get federal Medicaid reimbursements, and hospital leaders were begging the Shelby County Commission for more money. Three years later, that's all changed.
Visit The MED today and it looks like that dream of a complete campus replacement is becoming a reality. Everywhere you look, there is construction and new equipment. For hospital executives, there's a new attitude about making The MED a big time player in health care, beyond trauma treatment.
Tish Towns and Rick Wagers are part of The MED's new management team in charge of the makeover. On a recent tour, they showed FOX13 News parts of a $32 million remodeling project.
FOX13 News saw a 4,000-square-foot critical care waiting area, a real time X-ray room, and upgraded patient exam rooms. Many of these improvements in the first phase are expected to be done within a few months, and it's just the beginning.
But, before any expansions, remodels or improvements could happen, the new team had to get The MED's financial house in order. They say they have. According to staff members, The MED has been profitable for three years and 2013 will be the fourth.
Profits were hard to come by three years ago. Back then, more that $160 million in medical treatment was going uncompensated. Major contributing factors were poor patients and folks in neighboring states not paying for treatment, and those states not reimbursing The Med.
Nowadays, aggressive collections, and new reimbursement deals with Arkansas and Mississippi has helped The MED's balance sheet.
For the next 10 years, the new leaders at The MED say they plan to continue to breathe new life into a trauma center, once thought to be on its death bed.
The days of thinking about The MED as a trauma center only might be over. After this upgrade, they'll have more than 300 beds, all in private rooms with the most modern equipment.
When it's all said and done, the makeover that will have a price tag of about $500 million.