My Health System is weathering the pandemic storm to bring new services to communities | State Newspaper News
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WV News) — After a year of tremendous challenges in the healthcare industry, My Health System has succeeded in increasing both patient visits and revenue, with a focus on patient experience, according to the president of the system. and CEO.
The Mon Health System operates at approximately 50 sites, primarily in West Virginia, but also includes a cardiac clinic in Garrett County, Maryland, and a gynecology practice in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. With $200 million in payroll and 3,700 employees, the healthcare system is the state’s ninth-largest employer, President and CEO David Goldberg said.
“We continue to be the leading patient experience hospital system in the state, and our hospitals are all in the patient experience decile quartile, based on our patient rankings,” Goldberg said.
Patient visits increased in 2021 at system facilities.
“Part of that is the COVID effect, that people are delaying their healthcare from early 2021 to late 2020 in the year, but we’re also really focused on bringing our services closer to the community,” said Goldberg.
As a three-year plan draws to a close and another is set to begin on July 1 covering technology, access to primary care and emergency services and quality of service, Goldberg said growth within of the system will continue to be focused and strategic.
“We don’t want to develop just anywhere and lead ourselves to bankruptcy. We need to be strategic with our resources, with our expertise and go where the communities want us, where there is a gap in care or where we think we can improve health care outcomes for that community,” said he declared.
Over the past year, this growth has included the opening of Mon Health Marion Neighborhood Hospital on Middletown Commons in White Hall.
Since the opening of the Mon Marion district hospital on December 14, 2021, nearly 2,500 patients have been seen in the establishment. The facility is a 10-bed full-service hospital with an emergency room, point-of-care testing laboratory, full-service radiology, and wiring for cardiac monitoring. Patients requiring heart surgery or other procedures would travel to another hospital to receive this care.
Ongoing partnerships with Grafton City Hospital and Minnie Hamilton Health System have helped ensure that people in the communities served by these facilities can continue to receive quality care locally, he said.
My Health System’s Intermed Labs, a Morgantown-based innovation lab and startup studio focused on researching advances in health technology led by plastic surgeon Dr. Tom McClellan, also had a successful year, launching two products last year.
One product, the Fingy3D, is a web-based application that allows users with a distal finger amputee to take a photo of their missing fingertip and then receive a functional 3D printed prosthesis in the color and materials of the user’s choice. buyer by mail within a week.
ECRI awarded Intermed Labs the 2021 Innovator of the Year award for this breakthrough. “We’re the only studio in Appalachia to be recognized,” Goldberg said.
A snap-on silicone eye shield developed by Intermed Labs to improve care after eye surgery is in production and will be sold in Morgantown, Goldberg said.
To reduce the cost of care, the health system has partnered with The Health Plan and Charleston Area Medical Center to create a successful network to offer members what they say are the lowest premiums and costs. in some of the biggest and best health care facilities. in the state.
And two recent announcements will continue to expand Mon Health’s impact by announcing its intention to join with CAMC to form Vandalia Health (see story, A23) as well as to partner with Highland-Clarksburg, a healthcare facility behavioral.
Mon Health Medical Center’s emergency department recently received accreditation as a geriatric emergency department, an effort that Goldberg said was part of Mon Health’s commitment to matching programs to community needs.
“A lot of our patients tend to be over 65, so we’re (adjusting) the environment, the programs, the offerings to match the needs of that demographic, and we’re the first in our area of the state to have that bronze level certification,” he said.
The aging population has specific needs when seeking care, including visual and mobility needs, according to Mark Gilliam, senior vice president of Mon Health System and chief administrative officer of Mon Health Medical Center.
“To meet this need, we have taken care of all these activities to ensure that the environment is safe and supports the population. Thanks to that, we were recommended by the College of Emergency Physicians as a level three geriatric emergency department, which means we did things to help them get treatment,” Gilliam told the time.
The health system is also expanding its TeleMon telemedicine services in the wake of the pandemic.
“What we have learned over the past couple of years is that broadband is low, telemedicine is a tool we need to scale more appropriately so that people in rural areas have access to a doctor “, said Goldberg.
So far, the efforts have been met with “rave reviews”, he said.
Among the services provided, after-hours telemedicine is also offered so that patients can access care without going to a hospital emergency room.
The health system also seeks to ensure that all patients who come to the emergency department are linked to a primary care provider if they have not already done so in order to “get patients back to primary care and take ownership of their health care,” he said.
Despite these accomplishments, Mon Health System faced the same staffing and supply chain challenges as others, both in the healthcare industry and in the general workforce, across the country. To help manage these challenges, new programs are being put in place.
The shortage of nurses and doctors predates COVID-19, and the impacts were felt during the pandemic, Goldberg said.
“It stressed us out to be able to get labour. We rely on contract nurses and doctors to fill in the gaps when we don’t have enough or when the census increases,” he said.
These contractors have a cost, and this cost has tripled since the start of the pandemic. The Mon Health System currently has about 50 contract nurses, but as many as “a few hundred” were working in the system’s five hospitals at the height of the pandemic, Goldberg said.
Those costs, plus overtime and incentives for existing employees, pushed system labor expenses over budget by $12 million to $13 million, he said.
To address this issue in the future, Mon Health has partnered with colleges and universities to train more nurses, including the Mon Scholars program with Fairmont State University and deals with Glenville State University, West Virginia Junior College and Laurel Business College to hire nurses. Loan forgiveness programs with two-year work commitments have been successful in recruiting, he said.
Over the next year, Goldberg said, exciting strategic growth efforts are on the horizon.
A $600,000 federal grant will allow the health system to expand medical oncology and chemotherapy infusion at Preston Memorial Hospital so patients don’t have to travel all the way to Morgantown for these services.
“Soon you will be able to do it at home rather than driving on those windy roads. We are delighted,” he said.
The system also extends orthopedics to Fairmont and Grafton, and urology services to Grafton.
“We hired a huge number of providers,” Goldberg said, including a neurologist, rheumatologist, cardiologists, electrophysiologists and gastrointestinal doctors.
In the coming months, the health system awaits a decision from the West Virginia Health Care Authority on whether to allow a new Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital to be located on land owned by Mon Health off Interstate 79. in Weston. If approved, construction of the facility would take approximately two years.
“We are a community system,” Goldberg said. “Our aim and purpose is to bring the care that matters close to you and to complement what is in place or fill a gap of what is not there.”