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We Together: A Communication of Stormont Vail Health (Oct 06, 2022)

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Dear Community Partners,

Here are today’s updates:

  • Organizational Changes to Optimize Operations, Resources
  • Additional Information on Guideline Changes for Masks, Visitors
  • “To Your Health” on WIBW-TV Tonight

Organizational Changes to Optimize Operations, Resources

Flexible, adaptive, innovative, willing to step into change, investing in the future, are attributes of successful teams and strong organizations.

The last few years have been particularly challenging. Pandemic, volatile economic conditions, supply chain disruption, staffing shortages have all come together to create an environment in which health care organizations have struggled. Surveys of healthcare organizations across the country for the time period including this calendar year find the worst financial performance since the pandemic began. We finished our fiscal year 2022 on Sept. 30 with a small positive margin. This performance is better than most across the country but inadequate to fund our future. We invest all of our “profits” back into the organization to fund facilities upgrades, technology, equipment, community support, and competitive wages and benefits.

We will be best positioned if we can generate a 4% to 5% operating margin consistently.  This is what we need to fund the ongoing care for our region in the excellent and accommodating manner to which we have become accustomed.  Fiscal year 2023 will be a transition year where we take the steps necessary and make the investments that have the promise of returning us to the 4%-5% range in FY 2024.

Our team, through an interactive and participatory process have done remarkable work to plan for our FY 2023.  Teams and leaders submitted financial improvement plans, some of which are already implemented, that will provide the foundation for our financial performance.  There are no easy fixes, but we have a flexible, adaptable, innovative team that will step into the changes required.

Taking care of our team is vital as we navigate toward more stable conditions. We regularly conduct compensation surveys to make sure our salaries and benefits are competitive with others in the region, including Kansas City. Other initiatives to continue Stormont Vail Health as an employer of choice include:

  • Increasing Wellpower wage from $15 an hour to $16 an hour, effective Oct. 2, 2022, which is for the check on Oct. 21. This will be the minimum rate that any team members will be paid for an hourly rate.
  • Expanding day care opportunities for children of team members at Building Blocks. In the coming year, the day care center will expand from one location to two near the main campus, and increase the capacity from 192 to 321 children.
  • Support opportunities for professional development – through tuition reimbursement program, scholarships, and flexible work schedules.

To promote efficiency and optimization in operations, other initiatives in progress include:

Advanced Practice Provider Management Restructuring – Change from a Lead APP model to Manager APP model, with manager positions aligning with the restructured Stormont Vail organizational chart. The new Manager, APP roles will be have a defined reporting structure. (Leads: Salena Gillam and Amy Kincade)

Discharge Team Model Development – Conduct a 90-day pilot that started Oct. 3 utilizing a mobile discharge team focused on timely inpatient discharges, reduction of length of stay (LOS), positively impact bed availability and decrease boarding across the hospital. This replaces the flex/discharge lounge. Goal is to be able to accept additional patients and decrease LOS. (Leads: Dr. Salah Najm, Juanita Breeding and Richelle Rumford)

Two Primary Care Clinics Closures – We value all patients and communities in which we provide care and want to continue serving them within the Stormont Vail system. However, following an evaluation of all primary care locations based on volume of patients served, ability to merge with existing Cotton O’Neil clinics, and financial viability, it was determined two primary care clinics – at Lebo and Rossville – will be closed by Dec. 31, 2022. All team members will be provided job positions within the system. Patients at those clinics will be given the opportunities to transition their care to nearby clinics. Lebo operations will be merged with Emporia. Rossville will be merged with Wamego and Topeka locations. (Leads: Angie Gamber, Dr. George Wright and Toni Wendling)

Imaging Services to Change at Three Clinics – Because of aging and obsolete imaging equipment at three clinic locations and staffing shortages that have resulted in inconsistent coverage, we will be discontinuing imaging services at Oskaloosa, Osage City and Carbondale clinics at the end of October. This will include X-ray at all three and mammography at Oskaloosa and Osage City. Ancillary services are important to patients and primary care practice and will be available at nearby clinics.

Our imaging services (radiology) team members will shift their work schedules to clinic locations with higher patient volumes and demand for the services. Oskaloosa patients will be directed to imaging services at the North Fielding Clinic. Osage City patients can get imaging services at Emporia or Topeka, and Carbondale patients will be directed to receive services at Topeka locations. (Leads: Adrienne Mills, Dr. George Wright and Connie Wagers)

Enhanced Provider Access – Medical leadership will be working with providers in primary care, specialty care and surgical services to encourage and ensure we are meeting access and productivity targets which are specialty specific. This effort has already started in primary care. (Leads: Medical vice presidents)

Command Center Expanded Hours – Expand hours of the Command Center during coverage time by Emergency Department physicians. New hours will be 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Hospitalists to cover night admission requests. (Lead: Dr. Salah Najm)

Thank you for being a member of the SVH team and for your contributions to the great care and caring we provide across the region.

Thank you for supporting the changes we’ve identified and those we know are coming.

We are grateful for each other, for our opportunity to journey together, as we care for each other, our communities and our region.

Thank you.

Additional Information on Guideline Changes for Masks, Visitors

Masking guidelines:

Effective today, facemasks are no longer required at Stormont Vail Health for patients, visitors or team members, unless certain circumstances exist as outlined below. Updated guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) removed the recommendation of universal masking in healthcare settings, unless the facilities are in areas of high COVID-19 transmission.

Facemasks are not required when the community transmission rate is below the “HIGH” level, which is the situation now.

Masking is required for individuals (patients/team members/visitors) in healthcare settings who:

  • A person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 or respiratory infection. Team members are still expected to complete their minimum 5-day isolation period when testing positive for COVID-19. Example: If a team member meets isolation release criteria and returns to work on day 6 then it is expected they will wear a mask through day 10 from symptom onset.
  • A person who has had close contact or high-risk exposure to someone with COVID must wear a mask for 10 days after exposure.
  • Team members who work in a unit or location where there is an on-going and/or high rate of COVID-19 transmission as determined by Stormont Vail Health.
  • Team members who are unvaccinated. This includes those with approved medical and religious/moral exemptions. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services requires us to have a process for ensuring the implementation of additional precautions, intended to mitigate the transmission and spread of COVID-19, for all staff who are not fully vaccinated. The continuation of masks for those who are not fully vaccination is in response to that requirement as well as to be in alignment with our Flu vaccination policy.

Visitation guidelines:

  • Visitation for non-COVID patient has no limitations.
  • Visitation for COVID-19 positive patients, limited to two people at a time and visitors will receive information to ensure awareness of risk, personal protection equipment needs, hand hygiene and to refrain from traveling throughout the organization after leaving patient room.

The screening process at entrances for visitors and team members will remain the same as current practice.

The changes noted above are in effect due to low community transmission rate. If the COVID-19 levels start to increase, Stormont Vail Health may re-implement stricter measures.

 “To Your Health” on WIBW-TV Tonight

Our Stormont Vail team is educating future healthcare workers at the Topeka Center for Advanced Learning and Careers (TCALC), an innovative high school program that Topeka Public Schools created through partnerships. Leann Edington with our Learning and Talent Development team will explain her work in teaching a certified nursing assistant (CNA) program at TCALC on tonight’s “To Your Health.” The segment will air at 10 p.m. on WIBW-TV, Channel 13. The segment will typically repeat at 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. Fridays on 13 News This Morning and be posted on wibw.com.

We together,
Dr. Kenagy

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