The Sarah Bush Lincoln Board of Directors toured a newly completed area designed for the Laboratory at its May meeting.
The new area, located on the ground floor, is considerably larger than its former area and will easily accommodate emerging technologies as a removable floor allows for reconfiguration of plumbing and electrical systems to accommodate growth, as needed.
The Lab runs more than 2 million individual tests annually and operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It features a pneumatic tube system, which enables staff members throughout the Health Center to send collected specimens directly to the lab in secure containers creating greater efficiencies as it takes less time and resources to get items to the Lab for testing. The results are posted electronically to each patient’s medical record.
Additionally, the Lab can send blood products directly to needed areas, and the Pharmacy staff members can send medications throughout the Health Center as they are ordered, again creating greater efficiencies and decreased turn-around time in the delivery of medications needed urgently.
In the histology area, a new “grossing” station provides better light and ventilation for the processing of surgical and cytology specimens, while a new lab break room has been equipped with an overhead projector and screen so it can function as a classroom/training center for the continuing education of our medical technologists and other personnel.
In other business, the board discussed the big themes they learned at the governance institute members attended in recent months. They included:
• Coordination of care – Sarah Bush Lincoln needs to ensure it’s doing all it can to coordinate ongoing care for patients throughout the community.
• Cost Control – Sarah Bush Lincoln should align itself to breakeven with Medicare reimbursement, of which one way would be to care for more people with the same number of staff members, as the age wave continues and Medicare covers more people.
• Connectivity – Ensure electronic communication to ease decision-making.
• Transition – Move the organization from sickness care to wellness care.
• Palliative Care – Nationally and locally, we should strive to provide better palliative care or to ease the symptoms if the underlying disease cannot be cured. According to Medicare statistics, 25 percent of Medicare dollars are spent in the last two months of life, while 30 percent of the Medicare dollars do not lead to better health.
• Pay for Performance – Through Medicare, hospitals are already paid based on the patients’ medical outcomes. It is expected in the future that more diagnoses and treatments will be reimbursed based on outcomes.
In other business, the board approved governance changes to its charter which realigns committees of the boards and the work for which they are responsible, as well as reducing the number of times the boards meet throughout the year from 10 to six. The move is expected to create greater efficiencies for board members.
The board learned more about the work of performance excellence and how it has been introduced to staff members as each department of the organization embarked on its first project to organize a specific area to create greater workflow. It also heard about the deep dive project in Surgery to prepare it for renovation and re-organization before construction begins.
In a construction update, the board learned that new construction was beginning in the Emergency Room in early June, which would last for nearly a year. The ambulance garage was being dismantled to make room for the ER expansion. Driveway entrances were re-routed to safely accommodate ambulances, those entering the ER and others entering through the Health Center’s West Entrance. Temporary exam room space would move to the former Laboratory area on the first floor, while the rest of that area would be temporarily occupied by surgery as renovations begin in Surgery.
The drywall is being hung on the private patient rooms on the third floor, while work on the fourth floor to convert the rooms to private rooms begins in June. The first private rooms are expected to open in March 2013.