Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy new year

It’s New Year’s Day, and one of my tasks is to compose a report for the semi-annual medical staff meeting that will be held in one week.

I start by reviewing the monthly reports to the board of directors. This helps me focus on the operational, policy, and strategic issues that are the substance of the 1,500 words I write for the staff. I also look at my remarks from past meetings.

From these notes, here are some of the 2007 highlights at Community General Hospital.

■ Community General Hospital was named a Thomson 100 Top Hospitals Performance Improvement Leader.

■ Community’s strong performance in orthopedics was again recognized by a national hospital rating organization -- especially with respect to hip fractures, hip and knee replacements, spine surgery, and overall orthopedic care. I encourage you to research Community General Hospital’s ratings by conducting your own Google search, entering the key words Hospital Ratings. Our orthopedic volume grew some 25% last year.

■ The Joint Commission re-accredited Community for a full three-year term.

■ We completed an agreement with Onondaga County that complies with the requirements of New York State’s Commission on Healthcare Facilities in the 21st Century (the Berger Commission). We received notice of a $12.8 million grant to help Community and Van Duyn Home & Hospital (which is owned by the county) undertake joint planning for our medical campus – and to make the changes in our physical plants as recommended by the Commission.

■ We took a number of steps to improve patient safety, including improving water safety (reducing risks associated with Legionella); improving hand hygiene (through education, awareness, and monitoring); improving medications safety (by starting to implement computerized physician order entry (CPOE); improving interventions for patients at risk (with a rapid response team); improving bed rail safety (new side rails to prevent the entrapment of elderly or disabled patients); and improving accountability (with a new quality report card for board members).

■ We received a $200,000 grant from State Senator John DeFrancisco that is being used to help acquire our full PACS conversion. PACS stands for picture archiving and communication system, and it means that starting this year we will have all-digital image use and storage in the medical imaging department.

■ Our Jim & DeDe Walsh Family Birthing Center was honored with a design award for King & King Architects LLP from the American Society of Interior Design (ASID). King & King designed the unit that was renovated with the help of a $1 million federal grant obtained by Congressman Jim Walsh.

■ Oh, and I began this blog as the successor to the weekly letter I have written to employees and other members of the Community family since 2002.

Happy New Year!

[1] HealthGrades® requires hospitals to pay a significant licensing fee if they are to publicize its findings, so I won’t report them here. But anyone can look up our scores on the HealthGrades® website.

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