Hospital focuses on improved patient experience

Nothing like a little role playing to liven up a boardroom and that’s exactly how the July 11 meeting of the Plumas Hospital District board of directors began.

Nurses Sue Brown and Megan McCrorey demonstrated a “patient handoff” — that’s when Brown in the role of an emergency nurse hands off the patient (in this case hospital CEO JoDee Tittle) to the floor nurse McCrorey.

Though a handoff is a routine event, the new practice at the hospital is to do it with a twist — the exchange is completed with the patient present.

“This used to take place outside of the patient,” Tittle said.

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“Patients like the interaction,” McCrorey said. “And having the patient involved in the handoff — they catch misinformation,” she said. (Such as an allergy to a particular medication or food.)

The information is posted on a board in each patient’s room that is plainly visible to the patient as well as his/her family.

McCrorey said that it’s also helpful for both nurses to be viewing the patient at the same time and she cited wound care as an example. A nurse can describe the wound, but having both nurses see it simultaneously allows the new nurse to have a starting point for watching its healing progress.

“Looking at everything together is helpful,” McCrorey said.

“It helps coordinate their care,” Brown summed up the new policy.

Annexation

The merger of the Indian Valley and Plumas Hospital health care districts is another step closer.

The day before the hospital board meeting, the Plumas County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution approving a property tax transfer that allows the portion designated for Indian Valley to go to Plumas.

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According to Guy McNett, an Indian Valley trustee who has been advocating for this merger, half of the money will go toward servicing a bond incurred by Indian Valley, and the other half will go toward the general fund of the newly merged district.

“We need to consolidate efforts; we need to consolidate resources,” McNett said.

The Plumas Hospital District board scheduled a special meeting July 16 to approve the tax exchange. The final step is for LAFCo (Local Agency Formation Commission) approval slated for Aug. 12.

Other news

CEO Tittle reported that the implementation of the new Cerner electronic medical records system continues to dominate staff time.

Additionally, hospital leaders are continuing to move employees’ offices to alleviate space constraints.

It was also reported that the hospital provided 59 free physicals to high school athletes. It’s a requirement for students to play sports, and since most would need the physicals prior to the start of school year when the hospital is set to be in the midst of its electronic medical records transition, the hospital wanted to get ahead of the increased workload. It’s anticipated that the hospital will need to reduce available appointments during that time.

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Finances

“May was a really good month,” said Caleb Johnson, the hospital’s chief financial office. “We set a record; deposited $10 million.”

He said the large deposit was partially a result of an increase in the intergovernmental transfers the hospital received.

Johnson said that he expects to end the fiscal year (which was June 30) “very strong financially.”

While he had anticipated presenting the 2019-20 budget during the meeting, Johnson said the process was not yet complete.

He added that there might be some changes made to the hospital’s pricing to more accurately reflect what a particular service costs. He anticipates “some increases, some decreases.”