Saturday, November 12, 2011

So much to be Thankful for...

As we enter the Thanksgiving season, it strikes me how much we have to be thankful for at Orange Regional Medical Center. We have a beautiful new hospital, an outstanding team of people dedicated to excellent patient care and a very bright future. Many patients have expressed their gratitude for the amazing experiences they have had at our facility. One patient told me that they never needed to ring their call bell during their entire hospital stay! I think this is an amazing testament and illustrates our attentiveness and dedication to our patients. I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you for your contribution toward positive patient experiences.

We are closing in on a historical year filled with many monumental events. The magnitude of what we accomplished this year did not go unnoticed by our community. Gratitude has been bestowed upon us with numerous recognitions and awards. Organizations such as the Orange County Chamber of Commerce, the Orange County Partnership and the Community Foundation of Orange and Sullivan thanked us publically and with distinguished awards for our unwavering commitment to our patients and community.

I am very grateful to serve as your President & CEO. Thank you, again, for all you do and have a healthy and safe holiday season.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Enhancing Patient Experience

As we approach our three month occupancy date of the new hospital, we continue to incorporate advancements in technology, implement new services and recruit qualified staff in an effort to meet and exceed our goal of providing exceptional healthcare to our community. During the past 12 weeks, there have been several suggestions from employees on physical enhancements to the facility that would make out patients’ experience even better.

Expanding our services and advancing technology is necessary to be the hospital of choice for our community. Our third catheterization lab is now operational which allows us to better meet the increasing needs of our cardiac patients. Also, our second interventional radiology lab is up and running. This all-digital vascular and interventional imaging system helps physicians treat various medical disorders including peripheral vascular, cardiovascular and neurological diseases, cancer and other conditions, in lieu of major surgery.

We recently added new technology to diagnose and treat more cancer patients. We are now using the HALO System, the latest in radiofrequency ablation (RFA) technology to treat Barrett’s esophagus, a pre-cancerous condition affecting the lining of the esophagus commonly caused by acid reflux. Additionally, we’ve added new endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) technology. EUS is used in diagnosing cancers throughout the digestive tract, as well as staging esophageal; lung; gastric; pancreatic; biliary and rectal cancers. Both procedures increase survival rates due to the ability to detect and treat cancer early.

The patient Room Service Dining Program has been very successful and is receiving rave reviews. Since opening the new hospital, Nutrition and Food Services reconstructed a portion of the kitchen to resemble the inner workings of a restaurant. This upgrade allows for a la Carte cooking and preparation of fresh food resulting in faster service and personal touches to custom orders.

We continue to recruit staff and leadership that demonstrate performance excellence. Please welcome Joanne Ritter-Teitel, Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer for the Greater Hudson Valley Health System (GHVHS). Joanne brings significant experience in nursing administration and will oversee Nursing throughout Orange Regional and Catskill Regional Medical Centers. Jeffrey Lieto, Chief Physician Strategy Officer, has also joined the GHVHS Executive Team. Jeffrey has an extensive background in Operations, Strategic Planning, Business Development and Physician Practice Management. He is responsible for physician integration throughout the System.

I’m also pleased to announce that we have signed a contract with the Schumacher Group to provide Emergency Medicine Services at both Orange Regional and Catskill Regional Medical Centers effective January 1, 2012. The Schumacher Group serves over 180 hospitals throughout the United States.

At Orange Regional, we always take employee suggestions into consideration to enhance patient care and maximize efficiencies for our staff. We’re installing 25 more automatic doors to ease the flow of traffic throughout the facility. We’ve also rewired the alarm system on the fifth floor to place greater emphasis on security in the Pediatric wing. Additional signage throughout the facility is in progress so staff and visitors can navigate more easily. You may have also noticed areas with increased swipe access and electronic keypad locks. These additional devices were installed to increase the safety of our patients, visitors and staff.
I am always interested to hear suggestions on how we can better serve our patients. Please don’t hesitate to share your ideas with me or your manager. I’ve also reinstated monthly anniversary lunches. This is a great opportunity for me to listen to your comments, ideas and feedback about the organization. Lastly, our employee survey will begin November 7. We take your feedback seriously. Please make every effort to take the survey.

While I’ve noted several advancements, it is vital that we stay focused and provide excellent patient experiences. Otherwise, the upgrades we make and the new services we add will mean nothing. Patients have choices for their healthcare needs. Please make sure that you are providing quality care and excellent customer service to ensure patients continue to choose Orange Regional as their healthcare provider.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hurricane Irene - ORMC Remains Committed to Patient Care

I sincerely thank everyone at the hospital for the incredible work performed during the weekend of, and days following, the recent hurricane. Your preparation and careful planning made it possible for all of us to manage the impact of Irene - one of the most damaging storms to the Hudson Valley in history.

The command center performed perfectly with rapid responses and timely communication throughout the 36 hours of the storm. Beyond the storm, our emergency management department continued to keep you updated with area road closures due to flooding and downed trees.

Physicians, nurses and support staff took excellent care of our patients while many experienced outages and flooding in their own homes. Travel restrictions were mandated due to the deteriorating road conditions and a county-wide, state-of-emergency declaration. Not only did this hinder the ability for staff and physicians to travel to and from the hospital, it also left our discharged patients and their families stranded at our facility. However, our team of professionals created a plan for nourishment, medication and shelter from the storm until it was safe to leave. Mother Nature has presented our community with challenges lately. As a team, we once again, clearly demonstrated tremendous strength in effectively and efficiently managing this emergency situation with the safety and comfort of our patients at the forefront.

Thanks again for your commitment to our patients, the organization and our community.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Welcome to the New ORMC

It is with much pleasure and gratitude that I welcome you to the new Orange Regional Medical Center. Thanks to all who worked night and day to get the new hospital ready for our patients. Friday, August 5, 2011, is now a day in history that each of us will never forget.

Congratulations to everyone for the incredibly smooth and safe move of all patients from the Arden Hill and Horton Campuses. Special thanks to Jonathan Schiller and Sandra Iberger for leading the fantastic planning of the move, to everyone in the command centers, the EMS community, our physicians, staff and volunteers. It was a proud day for Orange Regional and our community. It was also a significant day with many “firsts” including our first baby, first cath lab procedure, first surgery and first helicopter landing to name a few.

The new building is quite large. Please become familiar with it quickly. Additionally, we must all work to refine processes and procedures that allow for better patient flow and time management efficiencies. This is necessary in providing excellent care to every patient every day. The expectations of our community and of our patients have been raised significantly requiring us to set the highest standards of professionalism throughout the organization. Not only should we meet and exceed these standards, but we must follow through with each and every patient encounter as they come before us, ensuring quality care from beginning to end.

We have a fantastic opportunity to create a medical center second to none in the region. We should all take great pride in what we have accomplished and embrace our exciting future. Please continue to work as a team in the spirit that shined so bright throughout our move. Together, it was the hard work and dedication that each of you put forth to make this dream a reality. Together, moving forward, we will only grow stronger.

Welcome to our exciting new home!

Friday, July 8, 2011

It's moving time!

Our move to the new hospital is here. This once in a lifetime, historic opportunity will allow us to bring the best possible healthcare to communities in the Hudson Valley. Our patients have high expectations of us, as they should. Exceeding these expectations belongs to each and every one of us. A brand new hospital means little if we don’t treat our patients and their families with compassion, kindness, dignity and respect. Therefore, in addition to providing quality healthcare services, my expectation of all hospital family is to always model professional behavior. Greeting our patients and visitors with a smile and in a friendly manner makes an extraordinary difference. Going above and beyond has an exceptional impact.

We have a wonderful new state-of-the-art facility that will help us raise the level of quality healthcare throughout the region and enable us to provide new services and programs never imagined just a few years ago. I have no doubt that you will all take great care of our new home as if it were your own. Please treat our building, equipment and furnishings with respect because they need to last a long time. Always strive to maintain neatness, order and cleanliness no matter where you are in the hospital.

Your flexibility and patience is appreciated as we adjust to our new surroundings. Keep a positive attitude. Your co-workers and our patients will thank you for it.
Please remember that a strong team is virtually unstoppable and I know we all want our new hospital to be the best it can be. With your continuous dedication and compassion, Orange Regional Medical Center will lead the way and serve as a prime example of excellent healthcare in New York State and beyond.

I’ll see you in the new hospital.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

On the go!

We are going through a number of significant changes currently. Acknowledging that change can be exhilarating, challenging and exhausting it can also be stressful, even if it’s positive. Implementing the EHR system was a major, yet positive, change in how we do our work. Likewise, the new hospital will also bring about a drastic change to our work environment, our relationships with co-workers and, for some, their reporting structure. Nevertheless, we need to have extra patience and focus on the basics when at work. Amidst all these distractions that come with change, patients are always our number one priority. During the move to the new hospital, patient safety will remain our number one priority.

It’s important for us to recognize that we are all going through this stressful time together as preparations for our move continue. We must deal with our own stress in the best way possible so as not to compromise the delivery of services to our patients and for our own well being. Everyone copes with stress individually and I encourage you to deal with your stress in a positive way and that best suits you.

Regarding quality of care, we have been doing really well so far. As I round, I have received positive feedback from our patients about nursing care, physicians, food service and house-keeping. I have even heard that it’s quieter at night. It was incredible to see that inpatient satisfaction actually increased during the EHR implementation. That is an outstanding accomplishment!

Preparations for our occupancy at the new facility are quickly coming together as we are ready for yet another Department of Health building survey. Furnishing and moveable medical equipment installations have begun and the installation of fixed medical equipment is 95 percent complete. Artwork is scheduled to be delivered and displayed throughout the facility starting the week of July 11. Support departments will start moving in mid-July and the patient move is still on schedule for August 5, 2011.

Moving our patients is an enormously complex activity. We have planned the patient move for years with Orange Regional staff as well as with numerous Village, Town, City, County and State agencies. Of course, the most important and critical part of the plan is the detail surrounding the actual day that our patients move into the new hospital. That’s why on June 29, we will take the patient move plan, put it into motion and undergo a mock patient move. We will be transporting ‘patients’ (played by those who offer to volunteer) via ambulances from the Arden Hill and Horton Campuses to the new facility. Command Centers will be set up at all three locations.

Additionally, a comprehensive plan to safely and efficiently move departments, equipment, records and staff from the Arden Hill and Horton Campuses to the new hospital has been developed and is also coming to fruition. Each department has developed a plan that focuses on pre-move, move day and post-move activities. For details regarding your department’s move plan, please speak with your supervisor.

Over the next several weeks, please stay calm and focused on the basics of taking care of our patients. A brand new hospital means little if we cannot deliver exceptional healthcare to every patient, every time. I thank you for your effort and dedication in helping the organization reach this historic milestone. Keep up the great work!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Electronic Health Records

Thanks to the leadership of our Chief Information Officer and Vice President of IT, Shafiq Rab, his staff and our partnership with EPIC, we have forever transformed the way we practice medicine and care for our patients at Orange Regional. We experienced one of the best conversions in the nation, going from a paper record to an electronic record for each patient virtually overnight. Additionally, we have already achieved over 90% Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE). This is a remarkable accomplishment that improves the accuracy of orders for patients and minimizes delays in care and treatment.

The EPIC system redefines how physicians practice medicine and also provides direct access to best practice methods. It provides us the ability to maintain a single, complete and current patient medical record, thereby enhancing patient safety and accuracy of medical history, outcomes and continuity of care. Patient information is derived off of a single database for inpatient care, ambulatory care and care provided in the private offices of our physicians who choose to participate, allowing clinicians to capture clinical data instantly and more efficiently. Further, the system helps to ensure compliance with organizational best practices at every point in the care process.

Having a state-of-the-art electronic health record system is new and exciting. However, the real benefit is our ability to enhance patient safety, improve patient outcomes, consistently utilize best practices and increase communication of patient information to all necessary clinicians. As we learn to optimize the system in the future, we will have the capability to tap into advanced research using the clinical information now readily available to us.

Many of our employees and physicians have embraced our new technology by contributing to the developments of our EHR functionalities, becoming super users, developing training programs or being on stand-by for support. No matter what your role, together we have taken a huge leap forward. I sincerely appreciate your hard work and dedication.

Thank you for doing your part to make the EPIC “go live” a great success! We will continue to rely on your participation. It is well-known that successful implementations depend on employee engagement. Please stay calm and be patient. I believe we are all eager to benefit from a system that will improve our workflow, increase efficiency and allow us to enhance the quality of care we deliver to our patients.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Greater Hudson Valley Health System

Orange Regional Medical Center and Catskill Regional Medical Center are members of the Greater Hudson Valley Health System (GHVHS). This year, we are integrating the corporate departments into the GHVHS structure including Finance, Human Resources, Quality, Planning and Marketing, IT, Legal, Corporate Compliance and Real Estate and Audit. The purpose of combining the corporate departments is to save money on overhead expenses and standardize work at both organizations. We continue to work closer and more efficiently as one system. This is good for both organizations; strengthening each hospital individually.

Implementation and training for the successful launch of the EPIC Electronic Health Record System is in full swing as we prepare to “go live” in late March. The training program is going very well and I’m very impressed by the enthusiasm of our nurses and physicians. A special thank you to the IT and education staff for their dedication and hard work.

There are many benefits to the EPIC system. One huge improvement will be in the ordering of medications. With physicians ordering prescriptions directly to the pharmacy, hours of time will be saved and the opportunity for errors greatly reduced. This is a key benefit of the EPIC system and will improve the timeliness and safety of medications delivered to our patients.

An extraordinary focus of ours in 2011 will be delivering the new hospital on time and within budget. We’ll continue to monitor costs, keep a close eye on the construction schedule and execute move plans to coincide with a seamless transition for our patients. I recently met with Fred Kummer, President and CEO of HBE, our design-build firm. Coincidentally, Fred was born at Horton Hospital and will celebrate his 82nd birthday on April 23, 2011: the same day we are scheduled to complete construction. Having noted a very special connection to this project, Fred has assured us that it will be completed on his birthday, as scheduled.

There is a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and energy surrounding our progress and what needs to be accomplished this year. Still, favorable patient experiences must remain at the forefront of providing quality healthcare. Starting in January, Lou Heimbach, Chairman of the Board, and I have been making patient rounds. We have interviewed patients at both the Horton and Arden Hill Campuses and have received very favorable feedback from patients and family members. Thank you for all you do in taking great care of our patients every single day.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Happy New Year

This will be a monumental year for our organization. We will make historic transformations in the way we deliver healthcare by implementing our Electronic Health Record (EHR) system and consolidating the Arden Hill and Horton Campuses into our new state-of-the-art facility. We are also expected to provide excellent care to every patient, every day. All of the steps we take to accomplish these goals will require patience, flexibility and a great deal of energy.

Training for EHR is well underway with approximately 600 scheduled sessions for the nurses, physicians and employees required to use the system. This extraordinary training effort is key to the success of one’s ability to effectively use the system to deliver patient care; we cannot just “go through the motions”. When our EHR system goes live in March, the paper chart will disappear and will be replaced with the electronic patient chart. You will need to implement what you have learned. There will be a significant support system in place, comprised of EHR experts, to assist throughout this transition.

Construction of the new hospital continues on budget and on schedule with completion expected in late April. Soon after, equipment and furniture will be delivered and installed, numerous inspections will be conducted by various State and local agencies, an intense cleaning effort will be conducted and all staff will be oriented. Our expectation is to be completely moved into our new hospital campus by late August with all patients, from the Arden Hill and Horton Campuses, transferred in one day.

In the meantime, we need to remain focused on patient satisfaction and achieving successful patient outcomes. As we have witnessed with our outstanding Joint Commission survey last month, we can achieve any goal, when we stay focused and work as a team. Additionally, patient rounding is an extremely effective way to increase patient satisfaction. Therefore, Chairman of the Board Lou Heimbach and I are making patient rounds twice per month. While we will be visiting with our patients, we also look forward to seeing you in our travels.

I am very proud of our accomplishments to date. This year will mark a milestone for us as professionals and as an organization. It will also be a new a new era for our patients and an opportunity for us to raise the bar for healthcare in the entire region. Exciting and challenging days lie ahead. Please do your best every day and stay focused. Together, as a team, we can achieve success.