*The interview with Steve Hyde, CEO of Paris Regional Medical Center, that formed the basis of this article was conducted on March 2, days before the Covid-19 began in earnest in America.

For Steve Hyde, CEO of Paris Regional Medical Center, health care in America is at something of a crossroads.

“It’s hard not to look at the presidential election without hearing discussion about ‘single payer’ versus ‘Medicare for all,’” Hyde said. “Those are very different models from what we currently have, but that is what the discussion is all about at the national level. Wherever you stand on the question, it all sounds well and good, but the challenge is funding it. We will see how the election plays out, who will win, and that should give us some guidance on how to go forward with health care in America.”

At the state level, Hyde said, the discussion is all about the Affordable Care Act, most commonly called Obamacare, and Texas’s decision to decline enacting the new laws.

“Texas was one of about 14 states in the nation that decided not to accept the Affordable Care Act and expand Medicaid,” Hyde said. “They decided to try to address the needs of the Medicaid population in a different way, with the 1115 Waiver, and there is much debate and discussion on that subject yet, about the mechanics of making it work and how they intend to apply the waiver that is unique to the state of Texas. It is of great interest to all of us.”

On the local level, Hyde said, Paris Regional had a good year and is looking to continue the trend into 2020.

In 2018-19, Paris Regional added cutting edge technologies to its tool box of services for the people of Northeast Texas and Southeast Oklahoma, with a new radiological intervention service line, continued its practice of hiring new medical professionals and showcased its overall high-quality care with several new national accreditations.

“We continue to build on our successes this year,” he said. “We have hired a number of new physicians and other advanced practice providers, improved and augmented several of the existing services, brought a sleep medicine service line we had been partnered with in-house and we continue to update and renovate key departments in the hospital such as the catheterization lab and the emergency department.”

Hyde said Paris Regional continues to be a regional destination for patients choosing to come to Paris for treatments rather than going to facilities in Texarkana or Dallas.

Paris Regional Medical Center averages about 120 inbound transfers a month, compared to five years ago, when the hospital saw about 40 inbound transfers a month.

“In four or five years, we have tripled our inbound patient transfer numbers,” he added. “That’s pretty big growth there.”

Hyde said about 110 patients a day are seen in the hospital’s emergency room, for a total of more than 3,000 visits a month. Between 600 and 650 patients are admitted to the hospital each month with four times that number coming to the hospital for outpatient services, such as imaging or blood work.

While no new construction is planned for the immediate future at Paris Regional, plans are being discussed for building a new medical office building and new parking lots on the campus. Hyde also pointed out the ongoing updating of the facility’s roofing and HVAC system, the newly re-paved DeShong Drive and the continuing addition of new technology and equipment, such as a new 3D mammography unit and a new nuclear camera for other imaging processes.

Paris Regional also began operation of two satellite clinics, one in Clarksville and one in Bogata, both in Red River County.

Hyde also pointed out the participation of invited citizens and community leaders on a hospital advisory board.

“We ask them ‘How are we doing and what do we need to do better?’ We are listening to our community and adding to our plans for the future,” he said.