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|FMC preps for H1N1, business improves|
With the arrival of flu season, Franklin Medical Center has begun preparations to administer flu shots.
However, the 2009 season will be different from previous years because healthcare providers must contend with two strains of the flu virus.
Chief of Nursing Sheila Mason said the hospital and its clinics will offer both the standard vaccination for type-A flu and the vaccinations for the H1N1 virus, known as swine flu.
A community-wide clinic will be held Oct. 30 in the hospital lobby to administer the type-A vaccination. Also, the seasonal flu vaccinations have arrived and will be distributed to clinics in the coming weeks.
However, Mason said the hospital has not received word when it will begin administering swine flu vaccinations to the general public.
That date will depend on when the hospital receives the swine flu vaccinations from the government.
"They're going to start with only enough for healthcare providers in an area," said Mason, at a hospital board meeting on Monday. "Then afterwards, they're going to start sending out more."
Mason said she has received good news from state officials so far.
"Neither Franklin nor Tensas parishes have had any positive cases of H1N1," Mason said.
"None at all."
That does not mean the community should not be prepared, she said.
Mason encouraged people to practice good hygiene to prevent transmission of both kinds of flu.
In other business, Franklin Medical Center finances have improved in the past 12 months, according to Blake Kramer.
Kramer told the board of directors the month of July outperformed the same period last year.
"It's pretty much known that May, June and July are the worst months for us," said Kramer. "This time, it's June, July and August."
For the month of July, the hospital posted an operating loss of about $110,000. During the same period last year, that loss was some $129,000.
Kramer noted the stronger numbers came despite a significant decline in revenue over the previous year.
Kramer also said the month of August was shaping up to be better than expected.
"August is going to be pretty good and it looks like September is going to be pretty good too," Kramer said.