First, I want to explain my absence from rounding on your units over the last 2 weeks. I was out of town, and while away, came down with the flu which took me out for a full week. Since then, I have had a lingering cold that I thought best to protect you and our patients from by remaining confined to my office. These are difficult times as we try to respond to extraordinary volumes along with many absences due to the same flu everyone else in Macon is suffering from (and seeking our care!). The ED has done a tremendous job pulling together as a team to care for this large influx and to care for the 10-15 hold everyday due to our inpatient units being at capacity. I hope that this flu epidemic will peak soon and we can get back to more predictable volumes. Thanks for your hard work caring for these very sick patients.
As a thank you for everyone’s hard work responding to the increased volume in January, we have asked that your Directors plan an appreciation event that is specific and meaningful for your individual units for next week for all shifts. I hope you enjoy whatever they do for you as our “thank you” for a job well done. I look forward to some pictures from those appreciation events!
The big healthcare news in Macon was the announcement yesterday regarding a merger between Navicent and Atrium (formerly Carolinas Healthcare System). Many of you and physicians have asked what this means for our market. First, this is not an overnight process and can take up to a year for a deal this large to close. This transaction is compounded by the fact that Atrium has not yet completed its merger with UNC Health. The primary factor driving this decision as reported is the limited financial backing that Navicent has which is what Atrium brings to the table.
Navicent has roughly $750 million in reserves in comparison to the $3-4 Billion dollars Atrium has in its reserves. All of this impacts the hospitals’ bond ratings which in turn raises the interest rates they pay when they borrow money (bonds) for capital projects at their facilities (i.e. Children’s Hospital). SO…what does it mean to Coliseum Health System? While we certainly need to keep our eye on this transaction, we need to stay focused on our mission, our values and our strategies.
If we stay committed to our mission, hire the very best staff, provide an exceptional patient experience, make our hospital accessible and efficient for our medical staff, we will be successful. HCA plans to invest 10.5 billion dollars in our existing facilities over the next 3 years, and I plan to make sure projects we need to meet the needs of our community are part of that investment. HCA also plans to invest $300 million in additional training and scholarships for our most valuable asset – you! We are well-positioned to compete with anyone in middle Georgia on the quality of our care and the caring and compassion you deliver here every day.
The other big topic in the news (that healthcare facilities are not immune from) is sexual harassment. In 2016, the federal EEOC received more than 27,000 complaints of sexual harassment. We know there are many more that are not reported. Let me be clear, we do not and will not tolerate this behavior in our health system. Sexual harassment comes in many forms such as verbal, physical and electronic (texts, email, Snapchat). This harassment may be sexist remarks or behavior, unwanted sexual advances, coercive advances, subtle bribery or threats to engage in sexual behavior, all of which are unacceptable in any workplace. Any unwanted and unwelcome forms of harassment should be immediately reported to your supervisor, Director, Human Resources or ethics officer or ethics line. Our responsibility is to provide not only a safe and secure environment for our patients but also those who care for them. We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen, and if we keep that standard, our workplace should be free of any kind of harassment.
Yesterday, Greg Caples and I hosted our quarterly Community Advisory Committee lunch and presented our new palliative care program that will roll out on March 1st with our partner PruittHealth. Palliative care is a multidisciplinary approach to specialized medical and nursing care for people with life-limiting illnesses. It focuses on providing relief from the symptoms, pain, physical stress, and mental stress of a terminal diagnosis. It will begin while they are in our hospital and will continue upon discharge by PruittHealth extending our mission outside the walls of the hospital. Franchetta Trawick will lead this effort and can answer any question on how this fits into our patient plan of care. I am excited that after many years of development we can now offer this service to our patients. Our CAC is composed of key community leaders and influencers that we can educate about our services and help spread the word throughout middle Georgia.
I want to commend everyone’s response to the Code Adam yesterday. While most of these codes are drills, it is easy to become complacent. Yesterday’s code was not a drill. The missing child who was a visitor in our hospital was located and returned to his family. Thank you for the role that all of you play in keeping our patients and visitors safe.
Don’t forget to take the AHRQ survey!