Happy New Year! I hope everyone had some memorable moments with family and friends over the holidays. My wife Lynda and I spent our holiday in NYC with our children and grandson Rylie. Unfortunately for me, I picked up a bad respiratory bug from riding around on planes, subways and trains while there. As we enter into what is generally the peak season for flu, it was a good reminder to me to wash my hands frequently, as Brandi Jones, our infection prevention coordinator, teaches us. It’s also a reminder that it is not too late to get the flu vaccine. If you declined the vaccine, you must be wearing a mask at all times when you are in a patient care area (which means most places in the hospital with the exception of break rooms and the cafeteria). This is not only to protect you and your families, but also our patients, many of whom are immuno-compromised, and contracting the flu could be deadly. Thanks for making sure you, your families and our patients are safe during this high risk time.
One of our biggest accomplishments of 2018 was an improvement in your satisfaction as noted on our employee survey and the huge reduction in staff turnover. In 2018, our nursing turnover improved year over year from 23% to 15% and our overall hospital turnover improved from 21% to 16.7%! I attribute this to several key activities. First, thanks to those staff members who have been trained and participate in the peer interviewing process, making sure we pick the right people that share our values and commitments to join our team. Second, thanks to those who serve as preceptors to provide a smooth transition for our new staff. Third, our Directors’ commitment to the on-boarding process and monthly employee rounding. Next, to our HR team who makes sure we stay competitive with salaries and benefits. I also want to thank those staff members who have referred friends who have become new staff members. Finally, thanks to our EAG for planning fun activities for all of us to enjoy as part of our work life.
In with the New Year are many new employee benefits that each of you should be familiar with and explore on our HCARewards website. First, our Volunteers award several $1,000 scholarships to students every year. There are instructions here on how to apply. The deadline to submit applications is 3/15/19. Another scholarship program, HCA Healthcare Scholars Program for staff members’ children, is now available and awards scholarships between $2,000 – $5,000 annually. For more details and to apply, go HERE, Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or to speak to an HCA Healthcare Scholars Program representative directly at (507) 931-8398, or call toll-free at (800) 537-4180 and ask to be transferred to one of our dedicated representatives. Now, for those of you who have accrued or are accruing student debt, there is the HCA Healthcare Student Loan Assistance Program. The HCA Healthcare Student Loan Assistance Program offers: Monthly Benefit Payments: After you have made your monthly payments, these benefits will be applied to your loan: Full-time employees: $150 monthly benefit, Part-time employees: $75 monthly benefit. Go to HERE and HERE to learn about the program’s eligibility requirements and process. Make a Plan to Reduce Debt: Call (800) 640-2235 to schedule a free session with a financial wellness coach. Access Your Account and Submit an Application: Go HERE, Click “Add a Student Loan Now” and follow the instructions and submit required documentation. We also still have our tuition reimbursement program that provides $5250.00 annually for eligible staff members. Please take advantage of these new benefits!
One last benefit is Doctor on Demand Telemedicine. Eligible HCA medical plan participants now have access to the new Doctor On Demand telemedicine service, which offers 24/7 primary care and behavioral health video visits from a smartphone, tablet or computer. Through live video, board-certified doctors, licensed psychologists and psychiatrists review symptoms and medications, perform an exam and may recommend treatment, including prescriptions and lab work. The cost is generally less than a visit to a primary care physician’s office. In most cases, participants will pay just a copay and HCA Healthcare will pay the rest of the cost. The deductible does not apply. Who is eligible? Doctor On Demand is available to participants enrolled in the Well Care, Out-of-Area, Prime PPO and Wichita Preferred medical plans. This includes employees and covered dependents. What types of conditions are covered? Doctor On Demand provides care for 90% of the most common health conditions affecting the mind and body. This includes colds, flu, sinus infection, cough and sore throat, fever, urinary tract infections, skin and eye conditions, anxiety and depression, stress, bruises and sprains, diabetes and more. Learn More: Go to HCAhrAnswers.com, click HCA Rewards and enter Doctor On Demand in the search box.
Thanks to our Employee Advisory Group (EAG) for helping us extend our mission outside the walls of the hospital. EAG is organizing a mid-year school supply drive to assist the teachers and students at Burdell-Hunt Elementary just around the corner from our hospital. This school has one of the highest number of at-risk children, and we are asking for your help by donating items like Kleenex, Clorox, hand sanitizer, pencils, glue, construction paper, etc. We asking for these donations to made by 1/31/19, and these can be dropped off at Human Resources. Our Executive Team and Directors continue the backpack ministry with Forest Hills United Methodist Church, delivering food to these students to carry them through the weekend. Many of these children would go hungry over the weekend without this support.
Next week, we welcome Dr. Richard Rubio to our executive team as our new Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Rubio will be responsible for helping drive our clinical excellence agenda to improve the safety and quality of care delivered by our health system. Dr. Rubio has been a member of our medical staff for several years and will bring that local knowledge and those relationships to this new role in which I know he will be successful and you will enjoy interacting with him as we improve care.
The week of January 22nd we will be undergoing an ACGME site survey to become an accredited Emergency Medicine Residency Program. Our Program Director Dr. Bryan Sleigh, our ED Medical Director Dr. John Shivdat, and our Designated Institutional Official (DIO) Jimmy Colquitt will lead the survey team. If successful, we will add these residents to our GME program this summer. This is a continuation of our commitment to helping alleviate the some of the physician shortage in Georgia and further commitment to our Mission: “Above all else, we care committed to the care and improvement of Human Life.”
Now that our cafeteria renovation is complete, we are planning a grand “re-opening” of this space. We are planning this event sometime close to the Superbowl, so watch for the announcement for this fun staff event.
Happy New Year!