Challenges in rural communities impact a significant portion of the U.S. on a daily basis.
At Cleveland Area Hospital we believe it is our responsibility to be innovative in our efforts to successfully increase access to healthcare for the rural population we serve. The strategic guidelines mentioned place Cleveland Area Hospital on the cusp of leadership in the healthcare industry ensuring the financial sustainability necessary to fulfill our vision.
Preserve Organizational Culture and Stability
Preserving organizational culture and stability is paramount to achieving the vision of becoming a regional healthcare provider. Loyal and committed employees have higher levels of performance and investment in the success of the organization. The hospital leadership cultivates shared-decision making, resulting in a climate of trust and transparency. We promote accountability and empowerment, with patient care as our number one priority.
Expand Primary Care Clinics
Reaching into our service region to open additional primary care clinics in surrounding communities will enhance accessibility to healthcare and keep medical dollars within our rural area. Lake Area Medical Associates (LAMA) is our primary care clinic located on West Pawnee Street next to the hospital. LAMA has recently achieved designation as a Rural Healthcare Clinic (RHC) through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which demands a higher level of scrutiny for our facility, but results in increasing federal dollars available to the community. A Hub and Spoke model for healthcare involves having multiple practicing sites of primary care clinics. We will deploy a Hub and Spoke model to expand our RHC clinics in surrounding communities. Expansions will be pursued openly and collaboratively to facilitate partnering with other healthcare providers in our region.
Cultivate Partnerships with Larger Health Systems
Partnerships with larger health systems provide direct access to medical specialists allowing them to impact multiple rural locations. Cleveland Area Hospital currently has active alliances with larger health systems both in Tulsa and Stillwater. The engagements with the larger health systems include a Cardiology bus which provides outpatient cardiac testing and a Cardiologist on-site to see patients. Continuing our efforts to expand the partnerships with larger health systems will facilitate providing medical education and care management by linking specialists and local providers on-site and through technology which enables them to reach more people with quality care within their community.
Increase Financial Sustainability
Financial sustainability manifests by an acute awareness of the role patients play in our organization. In 2017, the patient census at Cleveland Area Hospital increased by 50% over the average of the prior two years. Our Swing Bed (SWB) program is a primary focus, and an exponential effort has been taken to enhance this service including elevating marketing and increasing staff in the nursing and physical therapy departments. The SWB program is unique in that the patients have an extended length of stay allowing a relationship to develop between them and the staff which extends to the patient’s family members. The SWB program impacts the community by increasing the quality of life for the over 65 patient population, as well as positively influencing the hospital’s reputation through optimal patient outcomes. Our chief executive officer Edred Benton serves the organization as an exemplary role model of financial stewardship. Strategies implemented include consolidating administrative positions, prioritization of capital purchases to improve patient care, and continually reassessing organizational needs to achieve the vision. The momentum created by this financial diligence has bestowed a sense of investment and ownership of this organization among the employees, as well as the Board of Directors.
Patient-centered care and teamwork drive our passion to retain and recruit the best healthcare staff and medical providers available. Valiant efforts are made to create desirable employment conditions and opportunities for the current team through programs such as tuition reimbursement, progressive compensation, and competitive benefits. Physician recruitment efforts are an ongoing priority, engaged by the entire management team. We take a holistic approach to the development of our workforce, utilizing external resources to train and educate, as well as providing advanced training to our staff members, both in-house and at nearby conferences. To ensure that patient values consistently guide all clinical decisions, CAH emphasizes collaboration within the entire enterprise.
We continue to care for the 54-year-old facility that has served the families of this community for decades. Advances in healthcare are demanding that we evaluate options for facility upgrade or replacement; therefore, we have initiated the development of a master plan, market analysis, and feasibility study. Collaboration with stakeholders throughout the community has already begun, as there is much to accomplish and time is of the essence. Investments in our facility continue and are assessed with scrutiny on positive patient impact, fiscal responsibility, and projected lifespan of the existing buildings. The structural design and layout of our hospital make it challenging to provide modern, best-practices for clinical care, and we are threatened by the current standards of both the Oklahoma State Department of Health and Medicare.
Expansion of Services
The definite need to care for the community is upon us, and the expansion of services is inevitable. The existing shortage of physicians and medical services for rural populations forces our community to travel for healthcare. We currently capture only an estimated 5% of the healthcare services that our community members are receiving (Oklahoma State Department of Health information, based on patient zip code). As we continue to pursue excellence this data not only supports the potential we have for explosive growth, but also justifies the necessity and urgency of facility replacement.