Pocahontas Memorial Hospital (PMH) CEO Barbara Lay has been hosting employee forums to motivate and inform the staff at the county-owned hospital. In order to show the Board of Trustees how the forums are being conducted, Lay held a forum at the start of last Thursday’s board meeting.
Board member David Fleming participated via teleconference and board member Amon Tracey was not present.
The forum began with a recitation of “connect to purpose” stories – stories from any employee about how their work has impacted the life of a patient. Lay began by reading an email she received from a NASA employee, who was recently treated at PMH.
“In February, 2014, I was involved in an unfortunate snowboarding accident at Snowshoe, which led me to the doors of your hospital,” Lay read. “I wanted to take the time and inform you that your hospital staff was the best I have ever encountered. I’ve had numerous orthopedic surgeries and emergency room visits in my life, and yours was truly the best. I would be very proud of your staff.”
Similar stories were shared by other staff members. Lay began the formal portion of the employee briefing by providing an overview of the changing environment of U.S. health care.
“We realize that, while the United States has the highest cost per person in the delivery of healthcare, our outcomes actually rank number 13,” she said. “We’re even behind some third world countries. So, what we are doing is not really working, so we have to change.”
“There’s a call for action from hospitals and healthcare systems that we have to transform our organizations and we have to become organizations that provide better care that is more efficient for patients and populations,” Lay added.
Chief Operations Officer Terry Wagner talked about an objective, evidence-based system that hospital supervisors use to evaluate employee performance.
“This is something we’ve worked for a long time to put into place at Pocahontas Memorial,” she said. “We have a system in place that we can actually measure how well someone is doing. It’s not anymore, how well your supervisor may like you, or maybe you did some good things right before your evaluation, or maybe you didn’t make them very happy last week and you’re worried how that will affect your evaluation. Now we have key performance indicators in place and employees know what they are and how they’re measured. So, you know throughout the year how you’re doing and it’s no surprise when you get your evaluation.”
Wagner reported that PMH was one of only two hospitals, out of 800 working with the Studer Group, to meet 100 percent implementation of Studer’s employee and leader evaluation systems.
During her portion of the employee briefing, Nursing Director Kerri Ridgway noted that the hospital had recently approved an expenditure of $475,000 to improve patient rooms and other patient care areas.
“The appearance alone is a huge improvement,” she said. “It’s really nice to see the investment in our facility and the upgrades we’re making,” she said.
Following the employee briefing, the board conducted its regular monthly business meeting.
Chief Financial Officer Melissa Kane reported net income in March of $81,683, and fiscal year-to-date income of $1,870,958. Kane reported that 72 applications had been received for debt exoneration totaling $68,839. All of those who applied were approved for debt exoneration and four of the applicants were approved for Medicaid health insurance coverage, made available by the Affordable Care Act. A total of $82,952 in bad debt – unpaid for 120 days – was referred to the hospital’s collection agency.
The board discussed the purchase of a 2.86-acre lot, adjacent to hospital property, from Seneca Mental Health for $35,000. Lay noted that the hospital currently owns 30 unused acres and said she could find no pressing need for the lot. The board voted to not purchase the lot. Regardless what happens with the lot, it is deed-restricted to medical-related purposes.
The next regular PMH board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 22, at 6 p.m.