HARKER HEIGHTS — After one year as the only Catholic-affiliated hospital in Bell County, Seton Medical Center Harker Heights is treating double the patients it did after opening in June 2012, CEO Matt Maxfield said Tuesday.
“So many lives have been touched over the last year,” Maxfield said. “It’s unbelievable to think we stood here 12 months ago, waiting on that first patient to show up.”
Tuesday afternoon’s anniversary celebration in the hospital lobby united about 50 doctors, nurses, hospital associates and local officials, including Heights Fire Chief Jack Collier and Heights City Councilman Hal Schiffman. Two buckets of fruit punch and a 2-by-4-foot vanilla cake greeted attendees inside the door.
So far, the hospital has handled 3,000 admissions, 550 deliveries, 2,000 surgeries, 37,000 emergency room visits, and 30,000 outpatients, Maxfield said. In May, the hospital admitted 300 patients and delivered 72 babies, compared with 125 admissions and 30 deliveries in July 2012.
About 450 people work at Seton, which will add a second heart imaging lab by September, Maxfield said. The location hires 10 to 15 employees a month.
The hospital has chaplains who lead three Catholic Masses a week, and operates based on Catholic tradition, said Seton spokeswoman Melissa Purl.
“It is a holistic tradition,” said James Davis, Seton consultant for mission and ethics. “We believe that when people are physically ill, they also have needs psychologically, emotionally and spiritually, and we believe that healing has to do with addressing all of those needs.”
Seton also accepts patients regardless of ability to pay, Davis said. The “preferential option for the poor” is in place for those who “by the nature of their needs, have a claim on the resources in the community,” Davis said.
Seton Harker Heights paid out-of-pocket for about 15 percent of patient care during the past year, Maxfield said.
“We committed to bringing extra satisfaction, results, respect and courtesy to every patient without regard to their ability to pay,” he said. “It took so much teamwork. The architects and the contractors, the construction workers that all came together as a team, made it work.”