Thanks to constantly changing insurance andreimbursement programs, the economic
environment at hospitals seems always to be in flux. According to Jane Hanson, the new chief operating officer at both Chandler Regional and Mercy Gilbert Medical Centers, there are definitely some challenges to dealing with these ongoing changes. “In my role as chief operating officer, I want to support the people who work in the hospital during this time of unprecedented change,” said Hanson, who started her role as COO of both hospitals in December.
“I am trying to create a culture where change is expected.” Part of this, Hanson said, is keeping the hospitals’ workforces engaged and involved as much as possible, and staying on top of their performance and commitment to providing quality care. “One of the challenges is that we used to do healthcare forecasting based on historical trends maybe yearly or biyearly,” she said.
“Now we are constantly doing this, looking at our current performance and our future performance and
adjusting everything as needed. Instead of once or twice a year, we are now doing it quarterly or even monthly.” Revisiting strategies more often and looking at how the staff can pursue the hospitals’ operational excellence goals will become even more important as value-based reimbursement and pay-per-performance comes into play, Hanson noted. “In addition, we are also looking at ways to take out economic waste as much as we can. Our job is to focus on operational care and reduce waste while improving the process of care,” she said.
“We are also rethinking how we use our capital. While in the past, the focus has always been on brick and mortar buildings, we will be investing in more technology.”
Hanson said the hospitals have been “future focused” for some time, and have been working on strategies since well before last November, when President Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term. One example that took place over the course of 2012, Hanson said, is the consolidation of the executive roles of the two hospitals. “We now have just one chief executive officer and one chief operating officer,” she said. “We are also enhancing the collaboration between the two hospitals, helping us to achieve top deciles levels in terms of service and quality.”
At Chandler Regional Medical Center, Hanson said a key emphasis is on growing key service lines that will help to bring in new types of patients to the hospital. One way this will take place, she said, is to pursue a Level I trauma designation at CRMC. “We are driven by an unmet community need, and expanding our services to meet these needs,” Hanson said. Another example of changes at CRMC includes the ongoing construction of a new patient tower, which Hanson said has moved from planning mode to the building stages. “We hope to have the new tower completed in 2014; it will provide 96 additional beds and should help create around 200 new jobs.”