By TIFFANY RONEY
Memorial Health System is receiving superior ratings.
Memorial Health System’s in-patient rating for the previous 12 months is 80.8 percent, which puts the hospital in the 91st percentile, according to HealthStream, an organization that seeks to improve hospitals’ clinical and business outcomes.
Outpatient services saw a slight decline, but Paula Dinkel, director of Memorial Health Foundation, said she attributed this change to the hospital facility’s transition.
“A lot of the comments were, ‘It’s really hard to find our way around the hospital,’ so I think from July to September will be the true test,” Dinkel said. “Although we had a lot of glitches when we first started, we should see a lot of changes and more satisfied patients.”
The hospital is already making changes to increase its navigability. MHS CEO Mark Miller said management is working to adjust some signs to make them more readable. They are also working to install new signs, such as an ER sign with an arrow pointing to the outside door of the ER, to make certain units easier to find.
The emergency department saw an increase in patient satisfaction, from 58 percent to 66.2 percent, putting the hospital in the 77th percentile.
“One thing about emergency departments everywhere – usually when people come in, they have big things going on, so satisfaction is a little harder to meet, but that’s everywhere, not just with us. So the percentage is great,” Dinkel said.
Because of these emergency department challenges, the 8.1 percent increase in patient satisfaction led to a 24-point increase in regard to percentile rank.
“I always think we need to focus on what our percentages are or how we’re making patients happy,” Dinkel said. “Yes, it’s good to know how we rank, but we’d rather have a high percentage of our patients being happy.”
Courtyard draws support
Individuals within and far from the Abilene community are showing support for the hospital’s new courtyard.
One family purchased a redbud tree for the courtyard in memory of their son. Some MHS employees said they are planning to purchase courtyard furniture and trees for the hospital to raise money for former employees. Thirteen items have already been purchased.
“Some projects take off, some don’t. This project really drew a lot of attention and a lot of support from the community,” Miller said. “People from Salina were calling that had ties back to Abilene, so it’s been pretty interesting, pretty heartwarming.”
Miller said their farthest-away donor is a resident of California.
“We had somebody that lived in Salina and with their sister in California, the two of them went together and bought a 6-ft. bench,” Miller said.
Several items are still available for purchase: two 4-ft. benches, four 6-ft. benches, two end tables, six chairs, three red bud trees and three white birch trees.
Fitness center revamps
personal training sessions
Raelyn Swisher, director of Impact Sports & Fitness, said several fitness center clients said hour-long personal training sessions were too long. The management listened.
“We revamped it, so we’re selling a lot of half-hour sessions,” Swisher said. “That seems to go over really well.”
Five half-hour sessions are $100.
Health system keeping expenses below budget
MHS is keeping expenses below budget. One of its affiliates, Learn & Grow Depot, especially stands out from the pack. The center is ahead of budget by $12,862.
“That’s a stat we’ve all been following,” Miller said. “They’ve been having a very good year.”
Miller recommended the board continue the 2-mil tax levy.
“Many hospitals will lower their mil levy when they have a good year or they don’t have a lot of critical expenditures and then they’ll raise their mil levy when they need money because they need to build a new garage or something,” Miller said. “We charge those flat 2 mils and it goes into our overall budget. It allows us to be much more strategic in our planning and operating, so that is again what we’re recommending this year.”
The board approved this recommendation.
MHS to offer employees digital trading post
Whether they’re selling wicker baskets or Girl Scout cookies, MHS employees are about to have a place to advertise their services.
Miller said this employee benefit is the result of years of work.
“It’s something that the employees had asked for for a long time,” Miller said. “We’ve really been working on this for 2-3 years: bulletin boards, special tables and all that. This is what we came to.”
Miller said the online buy-sell-trade page and services pages can be used for a variety of offerings.
“Nowadays, an awful lot of parents don’t require their children to actually sell their own popcorn or Girl Scout Cookies, they do it for them. You’ll get a lot of employees that want to come in and do that, and we struggle,” Miller said.
To end this struggle, the pages are subject to a set of rules. For example, employees must use their personal phones to conduct trading business, and they cannot conduct business while on the clock. Cookies cannot be delivered within the facility, but they can be sold in the parking lot off the clock.
Miller said many employees have already praised the idea.
“When Sherrie (Root, executive assistant to the medical staff) saw it for the first time, she commented she thought people were really going to appreciate that,” Miller said.
These topics were discussed at MHS’ board of directors meeting on Tuesday, August 6th.