BY MARY WICOFF firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — DANVILLE — Directors at medical centers in the area anticipate offering more services, technology and partnerships to help patients in 2014.
Mike Brown, regional president and CEO of Presence United Samaritans Medical Center in Danville and Presence Covenant in Urbana, looks forward to several changes this year.
Computerization remains a big focus, including the introduction of a patient portal in the spring. Patients will be able to see their medical records online.
For physicians and staff, the proliferation of electronic medical records will continue to grow. The Computerized Physician Order Entry system is already in use, and will expand.
Another area of focus involves collaborating with community partners, such as CRIS Healthy-Aging and United Way, for example.
“How do you collaborate with the community partners? How do you strengthen and create those partnerships?” he said. Other agencies help by offering programs to keep people out of the hospital or to introduce families to programs.
In the past, the emphasis was on volume — how many patients could the hospital hold? Now, Brown said, the emphasis is on value — how to keep people healthy and out of the hospital. About 60 percent of procedures are done on an outpatient basis, he said.
In 2014, the focus will be on providing care in a new environment of health care, while meeting the needs of the community, he said.
Patients will find more services at the Carle sites on Fairchild and Vermilion streets in 2014.
The Vermilion site will offer nuclear medical stress tests, starting Jan. 6, and more cardiology services, said Harry Brockus, chief executive officer at the Carle Hoopeston Regional Health Center. Hours for vascular and ultrasound services also will be expanded at Vermilion.
At the Fairchild site, the radiology and lab space will be expanded, hopefully by the middle of the year, he said.
In 2013, the Fairchild site became part of Carle Hoopeston as a critical access hospital rural health clinic. The benefits from that change — additional staff, federal resources, and more insurance options — will carry over into the new year.
Other medical advances and changes are coming this year, as well, he said.
“We at Carle are committed to bring the best health care possible to the county and that’s our plan for 2014,” Brockus said.
Several initiatives are moving forward at the Veterans Affairs Illiana Health Care System, Acting Director Russell E. Lloyd said.
Phase 2 of the Green House project has begun, which includes construction of two more homes and a road. Completion of this project will make four homes, with 10 veterans in each home. Design for Phase 3 of the project will include a community center and two more homes.
The homes, for older veterans, offer a family-like atmosphere.
Also, construction of an apartment building for homeless veterans is expected to begin in the spring. Illiana was one of 34 VA’s identified to develop housing opportunities for homeless and at-risk veterans. The project has 15 acres of land on the Danville VA campus to build 65 apartments for homeless veterans and their families. A community center also will be built adjacent to the apartment.
Another change this year is that the VA will have a director to replace Emma Metcalf, who transferred to the VA Medical Center in Lexington, Ky., in August 2013. She became the director at Illiana on March 11, 2012.
A selection for her replacement has been made and is going through the approval process at the VA central office in Washington, D.C.
Lloyd said, “We should hopefully be getting an announcement on the selection soon.”
Lloyd also said emphasis will be placed on: improving and creating more efficient clinical space to meet current and future use (demand) while providing high quality and accessible health care for veterans, timely access to care for veterans, remodeling and rightsizing Community Living Center (nursing home) long-term care setting to improve veteran care, and continuous planning for employee education, development, recruitment and retention.
Illiana also will strive to enhance business practices in 2014 to optimize patient flow and non-VA care in order to serve more veterans efficiently and by providing care closer to the veteran. Continued expansion of 2013 initiatives include: eradication of homelessness, expansion of Rural Health, and Tele-Health, and expand the facility Human Resource strategic plan, which emphasizes equal opportunity and diversity among the work force.
In addition, Illiana continues to improve its long-term strategic plan, called “20-20 Vision.” This plan includes projects to upgrade several of the facility buildings due to aging infrastructure and safety concerns. Planned projects include expansion of additional Green Houses, energy reduction projects, infrastructure upgrades in emergency power, dental clinic expansion and endoscopy suite expansion.