By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News
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OMC Assistant Administrator Rhonda Curry introduced a draft strategic plan for 2013-2015 at the OMC commissioners’ meeting Wednesday night.
“We’ve been working hard to gain some input on what the focus should be for the update of this year’s plan,” Curry told the seven commissioners at their twice-monthly meeting at the Port Angeles hospital.
“Our mission, vision and values remain the same.”
No public testimony was taken on the plan Wednesday night.
A separate forum was held in Sequim on Sept. 27, and about 20 doctors attended physician forums in Port Angeles and Sequim last month.
The plan, which is updated ever year, contains 30 measurable goals. It will be presented at the Nov. 7 commissioners’ meeting and considered for adoption with the 2013 budget Nov. 21.
Curry also briefed the seven-member board on a recent lobbying effort in Washington, D.C.
Commissioner Jim Leskinovitch, Chief Financial Officer Julie Rukstad and Curry represented OMC at the Washington State Hospital Association’s Rural Advocacy Days in Washington, D.C., from Sept. 19-20.
“We are over 77 percent government-paid,” Curry said.
“What happens in Washington, D.C., and Olympia has extraordinary impact on what happens at Olympic Medical Center and in this community.’
The OMC contingent was joined in the nation’s capital by Jefferson Healthcare Commissioners Jill Buhler, Marie Dressler and Marc Mauney; Jefferson Healthcare Chief Executive Officer Mike Glenn; and representatives from several other small hospitals from across the state.
Meetings were held with U.S. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, and several House members and their health care staffers.
“I think it was really well worth it,” Leskinovitch said.
OMC leaders pitched the protection of Medicare reimbursement, physician payments and sole community hospital status.
Hospitals that the other officials who made the trip were from are critical-access, meaning they have 25 beds or fewer and receive higher reimbursement rates than sole community hospitals such as OMC.
“We have a unique set of challenges,” Curry said.
“I think it was very important that we were there.
“We were assigned a flurry of meetings.”
In about a month, OMC will ask community members to contact their elected representatives about protecting hospital reimbursement.
“We are going to wait until the election, and then Olympic Medical Center is going to really ramp up our legislative outreach at the community level,” Curry said.
OMC Chief Executive Officer Eric Lewis added:
“There’s going to be huge decisions made between Nov. 15 and year end.”
“You’ve heard about all the tax fiscal cliff, but with Medicare, we could lose multi-millions of dollars, easily.”
The three main priority areas in the strategic plan are:
■ Quality patient safety and satisfaction.
■ OMC and community relationships, including community relations, employee relations and medical staff relations.
■ Organizational performance, including information management technology, facilities and services, and financial stewardship.
“We have significant issues facing us as we update the plan for 2013, a very huge category being the economy,” Curry said.
“Health care reform remains a focus for our updated plan. Also, electronic health records really will come to the forefront in 2013.”
Proposed focus areas for 2013 to 2015 are:
■ Implementation of Epic electronic health records.
■ Legislative advocacy.
“That has really moved up the list through the years,” Curry said.
■ Expanding the Swedish Medical Center affiliation.
■ Medicare core measures and patient satisfaction scores.
■ Maintaining a positive net income.
■ Remaining locally owned.
OMC affiliated with Swedish Medical Center one year ago to expand local services and save costs.
A major impetus for that affiliation was an electronic health records system, which carries significant financial incentives for hospitals that implement a certified system by next summer.
Last month, OMC approved a $7.6 million agreement with Providence Health and Services to provide Epic electronic records for the hospital and its satellite clinics.
In Wednesday’s board action, commissioners authorized Lewis to sign contracts with Restorix Health for technical and professional services to develop and offer wound care and hyperbaric medicine by next spring.
“We have a growing population of diabetic patients and others in our communities that need expert wound and infection care,” said Dr. Scott Kennedy, chief medical officer.
“This program, with both wound-care services and hyperbaric medicine capabilities, will specifically allow us to address those growing needs in our communities.”
The $301,200 cost will be recovered within five years.
“The pro forma for this program is at least a break-even,” Kennedy said.
“We plan to carefully develop the program to make that a positive.”
In other action, commissioners approved the $117,310 purchase of seven infant-warmers and oxygen-saturation monitors to standardize care for newborns.
The cost represents a 20 percent discount and a trade-in for the seven existing warmers.
“We really feel that having those seven pieces of equipment be exactly the same in each of our areas will provide great gains for our safety,” said Lorraine Wall, chief nursing officer.
It will take about six weeks for the warmers to be up and running, Wall said.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.