Carrie Strong

Carrie Strong, director of acute rehabilitation unit at Cox Medical Center Branson, works at her computer.

It has been nearly five months since Skaggs Regional Medical Center officially merged with CoxHealth with a goal of providing better, more stable health care to the Tri-Lakes Area.

Since Jan. 1, CoxHealth has invested millions of dollars into the Tri-Lakes Area, with improvements ranging from extending services and adding providers to making facility upgrades, with more changes in the works, according to Cox Medical Center Branson Media Relations Specialist Michelle Leroux.

“The biggest thing has been we were able to add a new roof to our Branson West clinic, which was much-needed,” Leroux said.

In addition to the new roof, she said, they added new carpeting and new furnishings.

“That was about $100,000,” Leroux said.

Just south of Branson West, Leroux said they were able to add service.

“In Kimberling City, we are also now providing walk-in care for acute services,” she said. “So, we’ve been able to expand services by providing walk-in care.”

In Branson, work has also started. Leroux said first on the list includes projects to remodel the reception area of the hospital’s human resources department, as well as conference rooms utilized by the community.

New signage began going up in January and, so far, it is on display at the hospital and outpatient center. Leroux said more signage will be going up at Plaza One and at satellite clinics.

Aside from structural changes, Leroux said they have added two new health care providers with more to come in the future.

“At this point, we are definitely turning the heads of providers who are interested in filling some of our open physician positions,” she said. “I attribute a lot of that to the partnership with Cox because physicians want to work at a place that is relevant and has plans to be here to serve the community.”

Shanti Yerra has worked at Cox Medical Center Branson for one month now, after 16 years in Springfield.

“I think how Branson is moving toward better health care, better quality and expansion and that’s the sole motive for me to come here,” Yerra said. “It works as a health care team, rather than individual, so overall, it’s going in the right direction.”

In January, CoxHealth donated $25 million to the Skaggs Foundation. The donation will be used for community health and outreach activities, as well as medical care for residents of Taney and Stone counties.

“The donation is part of a more than $100 million investment CoxHealth will make in the Tri-Lakes region over the next five to seven years as the organization completes capital improvements, upgrades equipment, assumes Skaggs’ debt and more,” a release from CoxHealth stated.

CoxHealth also hired Berkeley Research Group to help the two organizations merge. Leroux said Berkeley specializes in these types of partnerships and will look at everything from vendor contracts to system integrations.

“A lot of it is down to the nitty gritty,” she said.

— Kris Collins contributed to this story.

(2) comments

Just me

I would suggest anyone with a scanner tune to 155.34 the Hospital frequency and give a listen. Patients going to the ER are being transferred to Cox South in Springfield day and night. Almost a continuous parade to Springfield.

So, was the merger to feed the Springfield Hospital with a stream of patients from Branson? After they get there, are they being kept in the Springfield facility? Is the ER in Branson so poorly staffed it is not safe to house the patients in the Branson facility? Perhaps the people of Branson have been sold a bill of goods.

'Reckon this will change when Mercy opens a new facility in the area? Bet it will.
David Rust

Just me

“The biggest thing has been we were able to add a new roof to our Branson West clinic, which was much-needed,” Leroux said.

In addition to the new roof, she said, they added new carpeting and new furnishings.

“That was about $100,000,” Leroux said.

How does that make healthcare better and more affordable to the people of this area?

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