Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Putting the "Community" in Jersey Community Hospital

The term "community hospital" is a familiar one.  So familiar it may not be given much thought when it is used. 

The key word in Jersey Community Hospital is the COMMUNITY.  To me, it reflects the importance of how we conduct ourselves as opposed to a focus on merely where we work or what we do. 

In fact, I often say how we do things is more important that what we actually do.  

You may be thinking that doesn’t make sense.  You probably think I would surely eat my words if there was a bad outcome in the hospital, and I would change my focus to what we did pretty quick if a patient actually died. 

Not necessarily.  I’m happy to share one such story of a bad outcome.

This month in our hospital an elderly patient was admitted.  Her name was Ms. Johnson; and she was dying. 

We didn’t know this would be the outcome when she was admitted, but after the first few days the physicians and staff realized what was happening and transitioned her care to be more palliative than interventional. 

Unfortunately, Ms. Johnson didn’t have any family.  She did, however, have a “community”.   It was a remarkable thing to see our community hospital wrap their arms around Ms. Johnson and become her proxy family in her final 8 days. 

I first heard about this patient and how we were reacting to her from Julie Smith, our CNO.  She told me of the nurses and aids that held her hand and prayed with her.  The “care plan” was to make sure Ms. Johnson died with dignity, and had someone with her all the time. 

Next, I heard about Julie Jackson, the nurse practitioner on the hospitalist team, that connected with her on a real and personal level.  Julie walked with her every step of her final journey.  Julie saw her change from a patient that was unsure of her condition and what was next…seeking advice and reassurance from her doctor; to a person with confidence in her future, her faith, and with the strength to console and advise her care providers. 

I heard about Cookie Brown, the nurse aid that laid in bed with her as she was in and out of consciousness so she would know she wasn’t alone. 

I heard about Stacey Brannan, the RN that sat with her for hours to hold her hand. 

Several staff were present when Ms. Johnson passed away.  Her last words to the staff were “God bless you for the way you took care of me.  Remember to take care of each other after I’m gone.” 


Loving our patients is not something we teach.  It is something we are honored to witness when it happens.  

Thank you to the staff at Jersey Community Hospital for being a great example of the value of a community hospital.  A special thank you to Julie Jackson, Stacey Brannan, Stacy Eilerman, and Cookie Brown for inspiring all of us that witnessed this small miracle of love and community. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Focused on the Fundamentals

We can accomplish great and wondrous things when we stay focused on the fundamentals. JCH is already widely known as the cleanest hospital in the region.  Cleanliness implies attention to detail and the ownership of caring.  These are two important pre-requisites to cleanliness…that coincidentally are also pre-requisites to quality care.  Being a clean hospital doesn’t guarantee quality care, but it’s hard to have quality without cleanliness and the attention to detail that such an environment breeds.  

We are focusing now on communication.  Much like cleanliness, good communication doesn’t guarantee quality care, but it’s hard to have good quality without it.  

This week we started hosting “Safety Huddles” every morning.  In the huddle all department heads participate in a short meeting where each department head communicates any issue that could affect care over the next 24 hours.  These types of meetings have proven to be very effective in getting everyone on the same page and elevating our overall quality.  

I recently received results from our first provider engagement survey.  An early look tells me that better communication is high on the list for our doctors and allied health providers as well.   As a result we have put together a schedule of regular rounding visits with each provider and in each department and clinic. The physician lounge is now complete.  Senior leaders will be posting in there in the mornings for any hospital-based physicians that have something on their mind.  Nothing beats face-to-face time for quality communication.  

We have installed communication boards in every department that shows our goals and progress towards them for everyone to see.  

Our Employer of Choice committee has recommended that quarterly CEO forums be replaced with more frequent, but shorter, CEO video blogs with opportunity for Q&A before and after.  We will begin that this month.  

We have an employee Facebook page and a corporate Twitter account as well.  We are easy to reach and engage by either of these methods. We are better when we all participate - and open communication is necessary for this.  I’m committed to it and I hope you will as well.  As always, feel free to respond with any questions or comments. Thank you all for the great work you do in our communities every day.

Jon Wade, FACHE

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

CEO Update for June

Good afternoon everyone!  I know I have been silent for long time, but just because you haven’t heard from me doesn’t mean there hasn’t been lots of progress around the organization. 

·         In order to improve something, we first have to measure it.  I want to improve our teamwork and communication throughout the organization.  To measure this we use a variety of surveys that help get a sense of things - the annual employee engagement survey, the internal customer survey, and the provider engagement survey.   Returns for these surveys are still coming in, and I’m anxious to review them when they are completed.  If you have received a survey, please take a few minutes to complete it.  

·         In a few weeks, the clinic in Carlinville will be transferring ownership to Carlinville Area Hospital.  We decided to do this a few months ago for financial and strategic reasons.  I want to take this moment to express my gratitude to the hard-working staff and providers that work there.  They are committed to the Carlinville community and providing excellent care; two attributes for which I have complete respect.  They will continue to do this under the ownership of the Carlinville hospital, and those residents will still receive excellent care and service.  

·         Beginning this year, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) placed select metropolitan areas in a new bundled payment program.  Bundled payment programs are one of the many new tools CMS is using to control costs.  In this instance, they plan to pay for joint replacement surgeries, including pre and post-care, with one lump sum payment to one provider although many providers may be involved, such as nursing homes, home health, physical therapy, and others.  The multiple care providers involved in the patient's care will have to work together to coordinate the care (and subsequent payment) in cost effective ways that result in good outcomes.  The St. Louis metropolitan area is included in this demonstration project, so we are included as well.  Dr. McNear is working with Dr. Blake and heading up a steering committee that will have visibility of our cases and all the outside providers that are involved in the care of joint replacement procedures - their total cost and quality outcome.  We expect to do very well in this demonstration project and look forward to working with others to make better care possible for our orthopedic patients.  

·         I’m happy to announce that Shane Winters has accepted the position of IT Director.  Shane has a great background with applicable experience, most recently working as an IT manager at St. Louis University.  Since he lives locally in Jerseyville, it was a natural fit.  I look forward to his start date in July.  

·         Amy Haefeli, NP will begin working in Jacksonville with Dr. Schilsky in August.  Kaci Havlin, NP have been hired to work in the Roodhouse clinic and should start February 1st.  I am excited to have such great applicants for these positions and look forward to the contributions they will make in their communities.  
·         The JCH Wound Clinic is open for business this week!  Dr. Jon Anderson and Jackie Baalman, NP, will see patients in this clinic weekly on Tuesday’s.  Both of them have an extensive background in managing chronic wound patients and surgical intervention when needed.  The clinic will be located in the General Surgery Clinic within Jersey Community Hospital.  Many of our patients with chronic illnesses are affected by difficult wounds, and we have seen this as a rising community need.  As a mid-sized, independent community hospital, we are able to respond quickly to community needs as we become aware of them.

Department leaders received
active shooter training from the Jerseyville Police Department this week.  We will be formulating policies specific to our organization in the next few weeks.   

As always, please contact me with any questions or concerns.  Have a great week!

Jon Wade, FACHE

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

JCH Scores Well

Being recognized by patients as one of the cleanest hospitals in the state is a great honor in itself. Cleaner hospitals also mean better care.  JCH achieved a 1.5 on our Hospital Acquired Conditions (HAC) scores, which is one of the top scores in the state and far better than any other scored hospital in our region.   Congratulations to our surgery and medical teams for the great work you do. 

I had an opportunity to use the remodeled Demuzio conference room.  It is just the right size for many of our smaller meetings and equipped with audio-visual support as well as a white board.  What a great resource!  Thank you to Facilities and IT for putting it together.

As many of you noticed, Dr. Roger Schroeder was recently in the news.  He is not associated with JCH and has not been on staff for several years.  That said, other members of the Schroeder family have been and continue to be an important part of our JCH history and future.  I know several members of the Schroeder family for which I personally have a great deal of respect and concern, and I ask you to remain sensitive to the difficulties this family is enduring.

The laboratory received an unannounced JCAHO survey this week.  Thank you to everyone that made that survey go as smoothly as it did. 

The Illinois Compensation Trust recently completed a focused evaluation of our risk program.  JCH received a perfect score for our risk management plan, and as a result our contribution to the workers compensation trust was reduced by 6%.  Thank you to Lisa Pistorius, Steve LeBlanc and all those involved in our risk and safety programs. 

According to publicly available 990 forms and third party marketing reports, JCH is the only hospital in the region with a positive financial margin.  We have maintained that positive position for well over a year, even during the acquisition of IMA last year and multi-million dollar equipment purchases. Maintaining this isn't easy.  It is the result of the discipline and steady tension that our leaders manage through careful staffing and expense management.  It is a remarkable feat in our current environment that I am very proud of and you should be as well.   I say all this to mention that in November we slipped below expectations.  I am confident we will recover our position in the next few months, but I emphasize that we can never take our eye off the ball. 

Being part of a community means recognizing and responding to community needs, even if it means doing something different than you are used to.   I want to thank Survival Flight for using their helicopter to assist the authorities in the search for the missing Grafton woman recently. 

My son's funeral was this past weekend.  I have seen and felt your support and prayers, and I thank you for that.  While I am back at work now, Jonny is often on my mind.  I love him and think about him as much or more than I ever did.  That hasn't changed. I have changed a great deal, however, in my faith and my priorities.  It's only this change that lets me function as a relatively normal person.  I'm proud of him for the way he lived and for the way he died.  When I see you next; it's ok to talk about it...or not. Either way it won't be awkward with me and I don't want you to feel awkward around me.

This coming week Kimberly and I will be in DC to attend the state of the union address.  We received an invitation from Congressman Rodney Davis to help us forward our goal to increase funding for pediatric cancer research. 

I pray we all have a great week!

Jon Wade, FACHE


Monday, June 29, 2015

New JCH CEO Blog

In January we announced the exciting integration of Illini Medical Associates with Jersey Community Hospital.  Six months ago we anticipated the great things that will come from this new collaboration.  I'm proud to say that the first of these "great things" is the development of a new Walk-in Clinic in the McDow Building.  Together we are able to respond to our community's need for better access to primary care and more convenient hours.  The Clinic will open July 1st and be open daily from noon to 8pm.  It will be closed on major holidays.  

A strong local economy is important to all of us.  We all want our friends and neighbors to have jobs, but that only works when you support local businesses by using their services.  JCH stays focused on our local economy and is a major engine for it.  First, we are one of the largest employers in the region.  Growth like that happens because our philosophy is to do things here with our own employees whenever possible instead of hiring an outside vendor to do it (outsourcing the work).  Second, when we can't do it ourselves, we make sure the companies we hire use local workers or supplies for the jobs on our campus.  An example is our renovations for the new imaging equipment.  The company we brought in to manage that renovation has the specialized knowledge, but we require them to use our local contractors for the work.  In-sourcing as much as possible and demanding local contractors are just two ways JCH supports our local economy.    

We have a strong culture of caring at JCH.  Caring seems to happen naturally for you and it’s what you do best.  I’ll close out with just a few stories about our culture of caring. 

I've already mentioned this what a great job Danette Schroeder did as team captain of our relay for life team in Jerseyville.  Thank you for that and to all our team members.  I'm reminded of that when I heard about Jen Bell and Michelle Lyons traveling to Jacksonville to help Dr. Schilsky with her role in Jacksonville’s relay for life event.  What a great representation of JCH!

Kathy Scandrett relayed a story about Dr. Jon Blake.  She was talking with a patient in room 205 prior to his surgery.  As she was managing-up Dr. Blake and what a good doctor he was, the family one-upped her.  The patient's wife said she was one of his first patients here.  She had fallen on the ice and needed surgery.  We didn't have the parts that we needed here.  It was bad weather and no one would deliver them here, so Dr. Blake drove to St. Louis to pick them up himself, then performed her surgery.   All this happened on a weekend no less.
Toni passed on a great compliment to Paula Cox, Lisa Critchfield and Kelli Wittman in the imaging department.  They have taken the initiative to prepare themselves for the upcoming opening of the heart center by taking a Basic Arrhythmia class.  They completed a 1 hour class each week for 6 weeks to prepare.  Toni was impressed with how engaged they were and what a pleasure they are to work with.  I second that.  Competence and being good at our jobs is foundational to our caring culture.
Patty relayed an emotional story that a daughter told about her mother.  The mother had multiple myeloma and needed transfer from Elsah to Alton Memorial Hospital ER for the Oncologist.  Nathan Bishop and Shaun Clark were her EMS team.  The daughter described her mother’s last ride as very professional, they gave clear instructions to family and handled her very gently.  Her mother passed on just 48 hours later and she was crying as she expressed how wonderful our EMS staff were to her mother/family and she will be forever appreciative. Great job to Nathan and Shaun for being what this family needed them to be during a tough time.    

Thanks for the great job you do every day.
Jon Wade

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Communication is Key

Communication is our organizations lifeblood, and it’s flowing better than ever before.   Our leaders are rounding within their departments, using communication boards, holding regular staff meetings and 1-1 meetings with individuals.  All of these communications follow specific formats to bring about important conversations.  We have completed two new surveys, the employee engagement survey and the inter-departmental survey.  The results of those surveys will be analyzed for improvement opportunities and incorporated into organizational goals for next year.  I’ll talk a little about those surveys here.

I have seen the results of our employee engagement survey, where employees were asked a series of questions about our organization.  Sixty-five percent of coworkers completed that survey.  Overall the results were very positive, and I’m happy to see most of us enjoy working here, enjoy what we do, and like the people we work with.  There were some trends and a few comments that we will be following up with.  One of those I can follow up with right now is related to pay.
You probably don’t know this, but JCH does a review of our pay scales every year.  Prior to completion of the annual budgets, JCH participates in regional market surveys of healthcare compensation in both the Illinois and St. Louis region.  We compare those results with our own pay scales to see if there are differences.  Those differences are reviewed along with other information we have.  We also consider how hard it is to fill positions (length of time a position is vacant), departmental turnover rates (how many coworkers leave a particular department), and exit interviews when employees leave (sometimes they tell us they are leaving for more money).  We are in the middle of our budgeting process now and our pay scales have been reviewed.  For the large majority, our pay scales remain accurate to the market.  There are some, however, that need adjustment.  JCH will be adding nearly $200,000 annually to select job codes that need to be adjusted to fit the market.  When adjustments are combined with our expected annual merit increases, JCH is investing over $350,000 in increased salaries to staff in FY16.     

We have also completed inter-departmental surveys, where each department can rate all the other departments in the organization.  Our goal was for overall results to be above 70%, which is a 3.5 on our scale.  Those results have been reviewed and distributed back to the department leaders.  Most scores were very good, and you have many things to be proud of that you do well and your coworkers have noticed.  Those results will be shared with you in your departmental staff meetings.  Each department will be working through action plans to maintain their high scores or if needed, to get them higher than a 3.5.   

As I near my page limit, I’ll close it with another life lesson I was reminded of last night.  Jonny wanted to play in the baseball game, like he does every game.  I have not wanted to let him play for fear of disappointment.  He sees out of only one eye and has nerve damage making him wobbly, uncoordinated and very weak.  The last thing we need is another emotional let-down because he can’t do what other kids do; or worse for him to get beaned in the head.  So last night I finally gave in and braced for the worst while he got his bat and went to the plate.  The kids get 5 pitches, and I wasn’t sure he could even swing the bat 5 times.  To my surprise and great relief, Jonny actually hit the ball and ran to first – eventually scoring all the way home.  By the end of the night he had done that twice!  Jonny, as usual, never doubted.  It was his best night of the summer – and mine too.  It probably wouldn’t happened if I had let my fear continue to influence my decisions.  The lesson I was given again is one taught me by an old mentor Sr. Cornelia Blasko.  Don’t make decisions based on fear….make decisions based on faith.  God takes care of us.   

A special thank you to Nathan and Amy Bishop (coach of the opposing baseball team).  Even though it took an extra half inning to get him up again and maybe an extra pitch or two; thank you for bending the rules to make space for Jonny to have a great moment.

Thanks for the great job you do every day.

Jon Wade, CEO

Monday, June 8, 2015

Relay For Life hosted at JCH

I want to take the first minute of this update to give credit to Sharon and respect to her husband Dave Sanford.  Sharon has had more than her share of tragedy in her life, and she handles it with grace and wisdom that we should all envy.  Dave will be missed by this community and by Sharon the most.  My prayers are for her peace and comfort.   

The Relay for Life event was hosted on the hospital grounds last week.  At the time I agreed to host it, I didn’t know how meaningful it would be to me.  Thank you to Danette and all the “Wade Warriors” that planned and organized before the event; then worked and walked the event all day on that Saturday.  You made me very proud to be part of this organization, and I was humbled that my son was such a focus for the team.  Thank you. 

I’m happy to announce that Medical Associates of Jerseyville has agreed to join JCH Medical Group.  The Medical Group leaders are working with them to plan the integration and expect to make it official sometime in September.  In the meantime, there is lots of work to do around payer contracting, licensing and EMR changes.   

The planning for the “JCH Heart Center” continues.  JCH Heart Center was the original name of the project when it was first discussed in 2009.  We are targeting early fall for a start date but there are still many moving parts to nail down before we can fully commit to a date.

There are multiple simultaneous renovation project going on right now.  Steve is doing a top notch job jugging the projects and deadlines and keeping all on track. 

  • We are renovating space for our walk-in clinic to open July 1st in the McDow building.
  • The radiology records room is being renovated to house our new CT.
  • Heart Center renovations are happening in the old OB unit.  More exam rooms are being created, and we will be moving cardiopulmonary rehab into the space by July 10.  ECP’s will be moved to the old OB doctor’s dressing room.  ECG/PFT will move to a divided exam room close to med/surg; and the Stress lab in a room across the hallway.  Nuclear imaging will also move over to the Heart Center space, but that project needs more research before we have answers.
  • After cardio-pulmonary moves in July, we will start preparing that space for our new MRI.

    A note about the MRI and CT moves:  The locations for those machines were picked because they were the best available when the contracts for the space and equipment came due.  I never guessed we would have a strong negotiating position with the leasing company or have the financial ability to get out from under that contract and purchase our machines.  This move saves us multi-million dollars over the next 10 years; so we took the opportunity when it presented itself.  A master facility planning project will be initiated this year, where input from all our leaders will be gathered and a long term facility plan can be created from that.
  • Administration will be vacating to make room for the Heart Center offices.  Renovation in the board room and EMT classroom will be renovated into administration offices for me, Beth and Margie.
Thanks again for the important work you do every day, and as always please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.  

Thanks for the great job you do every day.
Jon Wade, CEO