Hospital board hears assessment results

Published 1:51 pm Friday, April 22, 2011

CHARLES TYSON, current chairman of Memorial Hospital and Manor Authority, presents a plaque to former chair, Joe Livingston, in recognition of his years of dedicated service to the board as a member and chairman.

Memorial Hospital and Manor board members learned at their monthly meeting Tuesday that there is work to be done to achieve their goals of improving patient-centered care and employee morale.

The findings of an in-depth survey—“Patient-Centered Excellence Assessment”—conducted in March by the Baptist Leadership Group of Pensacola, Fla., were presented.

Physicians, nurses and staff members throughout the system participated through a process of on-line surveys and personal interviews in focus groups. The goal is to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the hospital, how it is perceived by employees; and provide training, communication and expertise to all staff to improve the level of patient-centered care.

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It was reported that 90 percent of the organization responded to the survey, which was declared to be an outstanding response, showing that there was a strong desire on behalf of the entire staff to be part of the process of collaborating on making cultural changes in the organization.

While respondents indicated they believed a benefit of a small-town hospital such as this is that all patients are treated with dignity and respect—like family—by the employees, opportunity is there for further development. It is recommended leadership become more engaged with employees so that they feel valued for their opinions and service. It also involves training the front line people—environmental and dietary workers for example—to engage with patients, recognizing them by name, so that they are regarded as individuals and not just numbers.

Areas determined to have the greatest opportunities for improvement are: Employee input, department heads and staff work together to create patient communication, openly communicating quality scores and patient satisfaction scores throughout the organization, using a consistent process for involving peers in the selection process of new employees in their department, and department heads holding their staff accountable for using patient centered communication scripts.

Although patients and family members of patients were not interviewed by the team from Baptist, they did have access to and referred to the results from the HCAHPS comparisons. HCAHPS stands for the hospital consumer assessment of healthcare providers and systems. It is a requirement of Centers for Medicare/Medicaid services (CMS) that hospital patient discharges be surveyed. In the case of Memorial Hospital the discharge information is forwarded to an independent company, NRC Picker, which randomly selects patients to survey their satisfaction level of care. Patient and resident perceptions from the HCAHPS indicate the hospital ranked slightly below national satisfaction norms in most areas, except for physician communication and quietness at night, which exceeded norms.

The Baptist assessment clearly showed that all employee respondents had a desire to see the hospital be more consistently profitable.

Results also showed that senior leaders are currently taking on 70 percent of the goals and ideas. That needs to be spread around to all levels of staffing, according to the Baptist Leadership Group, who recommended, “Begin with valuing and training the employees to be leaders. Give them the tools for success.”

A blueprint of specific goals and action items tailored specifically for Memorial Hospital and Manor has been developed by the Baptist group.

The board approved at the February meeting to enter into a contract with the Baptist Leadership Group at an initial cost of $8,500, plus travel, for the assessment portion, including the report and prioritized areas for improvement. Board approval would be necessary for any additional expenses incurred if the group continues to provide training and assistance to the organization in implementing the goals.

CEO Billy Walker told The Post-Searchlight that he is not surprised at the results of the assessment.

“We knew we had areas that needed to be addressed. Part of the motivation for going through this process was to allow employees an opportunity to provide their input, and we are pleased they have been responsive.”

In his CEO update, Walker later reported he has implemented administrative “chat sessions” with employees, setting aside certain hours during the week when any staff member can come in and talk about issues. Calling the sessions “very productive,” he said he has had a good response and some good ideas have come from the meetings. It goes along with the goal of involving the employees.

Financial report

Walker formally introduced Karen Faircloth as the new chief financial officer, although she is already well known to the staff, having been with the hospital for a number of years.

The proposed 2011-2012 budget was approved, projecting revenue of $39,078,559 and expenses of $39,878,367.

Key indicators for the month of March reflect a net income of $408,318. Payment of $596,709 received from the indigent care trust fund is reflected in the positive income figures, which also showed an increase of $845,171 in gross patient revenue.

Capital equipment purchase

The board approved purchase of two replacement anesthesia systems at a cost of $103,745.82, which includes an extended service plan. The units scheduled for replacement are presently located in the Cysto room and the labor and delivery room.

CEO Walker reported that quarterly reviews of the physicians have begun. He also reported on a first meeting with Miller County Hospital personnel regarding a flex grant received by Memorial Hospital and Miller County to conduct a feasibility study and community needs assessment to see how the two hospitals can collaborate on services offered. Additional meetings will be held with Miller County medical staff to see what services Memorial Hospital could provide that are otherwise being referred to other hospitals.

At the close of the meeting, a presentation was made to Joe Livingston in recognition of his 15 years of service to the hospital as a member of the board, with six of them as chairman. Livingston resigned his position as chair, at the March meeting, but retained his board membership.