MMH aims for lofty goals

2020-2023 strategic plan presented

Aggressive, lofty and robust were all words used to describe the Melissa Memorial Hospital strategic plan for 2020-2023, which was approved by the East Phillips County Hospital District Board of Directors on Tuesday, Aug. 27.

Those in the room took a deep breath after MMH CEO Trampas Hutches finished a lengthy presentation that highlighted numerous goals for the next three years.

“Let’s not be surprised when they exceed it,” said board member Gary Rahe.

The four pillars of focus are:

1. Value from the patient’s and community’s perspectives: Improve value by delivering exceptional outcomes while focusing on the cost and affordability of care to remain viable in the current state of health care.

A few things that fall under this pillar are implementing a regional insurance network to have an alternative to large insurers, redesigning hospital services based on volumes and trends, and improving performance to a break-even operating margin by 2023, something that Hutches admitted is very aggressive.

2. Culture: Create a family-oriented and supportive culture that fosters high-quality and compassionate care with focus on the patient and employee experience.

Some highlights here include providing training for employees to handle difficult patients, developing leadership to lead with love and integrity, and focusing on retention of high performers and medical staff.

3. Clinical excellence through multidisciplinary care: Accelerate adoption and improvement of population health in Phillips County through integrated teams delivering outcomes-focused care. Drive high outcomes with a decrease in avoidable harm and increase in patient experience.

This includes things like integrating primary care, oral health, vision health, mental health and specialty medicine; and decreasing the readmission rate.

4. Delivering for the community: Strengthening MMH’s value to the community by delivering services, programs and innovation that reduce health disparities and meet community defined needs. Develop and deliver services in collaboration with others.

Some goals include growing the specialty and surgical service line, implementing a mental health clinic at MMH, doing a feasibility study for a retirement village and increasing Hispanic population visits by 25%.

Recognizing that the 2020-2023 strategic plan is a living document, board member Steve Young said it’s a good place to start and focus energy, but it will change.

Board member Angie Powell said the MMH team is very capable of achieving these things, but she also challenged them to brainstorm ways to collaborate with other agencies so they aren’t constantly reinventing the wheel.

Hutches also reviewed data in several areas from the past three to nine years. Areas with an upward/increasing trend included clinic visits, specialty clinic visits, outpatient registrations, surgery, emergency room visits, ambulance trips, ambulance transfers, total patient days (acute), average length of stay (acute), radiology, lab, rehab, pharmacy total scripts, eye care clinic, dental hygiene clinic and total full-time equivalent employees.

Downward/decreasing trends were found in the areas of observation days, acute admissions, admits from the emergency room, average daily census and Coumadin clinic.


July is slow financial month

Chief Financial Officer Wes White reported that August was already looking better than July, which was a slow month for MMH financially. It seems like slow Julys have become a trend, he said.

He reported that July revenues were less than revenue deductions plus expenses, generating a net loss of $480,846.

In the year-to-date summary, revenues generated a net income of $110,344.

White said that while many areas were down in July, he noted that the physical therapy department and Dr. Anthony Sanchez were both really ramping up.


3D mammogram upgrade could become a reality

Radiology director Tim Johnson updated the board on his department, noting it is fully staffed now as well as very busy during this season.

The department is looking forward to potentially upgrading to 3D mammograms. The equipment will be part of the fundraising efforts of the Melissa Memorial Hospital Foundation Legacy Event in February 2020.

Also on the topic of mammograms, he said half of the mammograms performed at MMH are for Julesburg patients. The department hopes to tap into some Holyoke markets that they may be missing.

Hutches said mammograms will be one topic in the multiple mini health fairs planned this year, a change from the one large health fair held in previous years.

Johnson said the CT contract will be up at the end of the year, and with two bids on the table, the department is most excited about the bid that includes a newer machine that’s run with a handheld tablet.


MMH aligned with state vision

In August, Hutches and White had the opportunity to meet with the executive director of the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, who Hutches described as the head of all health care in Colorado.

He was pleased to report that her vision is very much aligned with the vision of MMH, with a focus on quality and cost. “I think we’re headed in the right direction as far as the state is concerned,” said Hutches.

He added that her dream is to shift out of the high-cost urban corridor and move to low-cost rural health care.


Other business

In other business at the Aug. 27 meeting, the board:

— Heard an update from Hutches that the EMS department’s golf tournament was a success. Money raised went to the purchase of automatic external defibrillators for Phillips County agencies and community access.

— Heard an update from Hutches that the Holyoke Community Childcare Initiative is approaching $100,000 in its campaign to raise $500,000 locally for a new child care center.

— Reviewed Policy 3.1 regarding board/management delegation.

— Accepted the annual monitoring report on Policy 2.8 regarding compensation and benefits.

— Approved new appointments for Abhay Divekar, M.D., cardiology; Lewis Bui, M.D., emergency medicine; and Richard Hammack, M.D., family medicine; and a reappointment for Michelle DeNault, M.D., neurology.

— Noted the next meeting was moved to Tuesday, Oct. 1.

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