(SAN DIEGO, CA) - In a report in Healthcare Global, Phil Ennen explains why Community Hospitals & Wellness Centers provides top quality care to local residents.
Residents of rural communities in Northwest Ohio know it isn’t always easy to get around. Public transportation is nonexistent; winters can make traveling difficult and long distances separate people from emergency healthcare facilities.
For a heart attack sufferer or an oncology patient trying to make their weekly radiation appointment, these harsh realities can be frustrating and in the most dire of circumstances, meaning the difference between life and death. Community Hospitals & Wellness Centers (CHWC) addresses these deficits by offering a full interventional catheterization lab, the only emergency lab of its kind in the Tri-State area, and free transportation to and from the radiology therapy center. Offering these services is just a small part of the way that CHWC reaches out to local residents and their families.
Care Close to Home
Originally founded in 1936, CHWC includes three hospitals in Bryan, Montpelier and Archbold and provides its patients with consistent quality care close to home. In a community dependent on the automotive supplier industry and ravaged by the economic recession, the organization knows their services are invaluable to surrounding residents in their time of need.
President and CEO Phil Ennen felt the ripple effect throughout the healthcare sector firsthand. He succeeded the previous CEO in January of 2008 and in a haltingly short amount of time the hospitals’ stable commercial payer base, comprised of employees with steady income and insurance companies footing the bill, dropped from 38 percent to 31 percent.
The region’s unemployment rate rose to 18 percent, prompting the government to consider offering financial assistance to the “distressed county.” Jobs in healthcare, once viewed as untouchable, were not immune to the startling shift.
CHWC was forced to let go 5 percent of their workforce over two reduction periods. Beginning in the fall of 2008, Ennen sent weekly memos to the entire staff, over 500 employees, openly discussing the hospitals’ financial situation and asking for feedback on decisions affecting necessary budget cuts.
The weekly memos are still distributed and an online forum encourages employees to anonymously voice concerns, suggest changes, and participate in open discussions. “Although we may not always agree on the final action,” Ennen says, “everyone knows we give their opinion due consideration and work together to reach a decision.”
Maintaining a Unique Edge
The forum and memos have not only promoted transparency, but helped bring new ideas to fruition. The first edition of a quarterly news magazine advertising the organization’s services was released in January and has already brought elderly patients into the oncology center. While this marketing technique has helped bring in older patients unfamiliar with finding local resources online, CHWC will also be furthering their visibility through the use of social media.
Though the recession’s stronghold seems to be lessening as CHWC’s financial situation stabilizes, another uncertainty is posed by healthcare experts’ insistence that independent hospitals will become irrelevant in upcoming years.
“I think a lot of average U.S. hospitals won’t stay independent but if you’re unique, if you’ve built a niche – we don’t necessarily offer things that nobody else does, but we do those things really, really well – then people choose us,” says Ennen. “Those additional volumes help us stay financially strong and independent.”
Expansion and Focus on Patients
The threat against independent hospitals means CHWC is meeting the challenge head on. An in-patient rehabilitation center is available, a new state-of-the-art facility was recently built and a new linear accelerator was installed last year in the catheterization lab. Communication with doctors’ offices is becoming more efficient with electronic sharing of clinical information and patients can access an online database tracking lab results, making it easier to proactively manage chronic conditions.
“If you want a loyal relationship you have to combine competence with a really great customer experience,” says Ennen. “We’re focusing on building customer loyalty.”
These developments are effectively streamlining operations, involving patients in their own care, and ultimately indicate that resources can be better allocated where they need to be: towards developing and maintaining genuine, quality relationships with patients.
A Brighter Future
The most recent budget cycle’s financial report showed finances have stabilized to the point that the organization will be able to fill 19 new positions. “We like what we see going forward,” says Ennen, “but we just don’t ever want to forget what we went through. It would be wrong to forget.”
Preserving strong, communicative relationships with hospital staff and reaching out to old and new patients alike, CHWC is looking to the future while learning from the past.
“What I’ve learned and what I’m trying to share with my hospital family is we just can’t feel entitled. Now we cherish our customers,” says Ennen. “We cherish that they picked us. We’re grateful that they picked us and we try to communicate that to them because we know they have choices.”
Read the full article here: http://www.healthcareglobal.com/
About Community Hospitals & Wellness Centers
Community Hospitals & Wellness Centers provide quality services to residents of Northwest Ohio. A medical center is based out of Archbold, as well as hospitals in Bryan and Montpelier. Services include the area’s only emergency cardiac catheterization lab.
About Healthcare Global
Healthcare Global is a pioneering digital media site for Healthcare professionals and executives responsible for all aspects of managing this environment. Healthcare Global covers solutions that enable global healthcare executives to improve the way they manage their operations. Healthcare Global is the industry-dedicated arm of the WDM Group. Founded in 2007 by entrepreneur Glen White, WDM Group retains a diversified portfolio of websites, magazines, mobile apps, daily news feeds and weekly e-newsletters that leverage technology to innovatively deliver high-quality content, analytical data, and industry news.
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