BY MARY WICOFF
It was a good year for local medical centers, which implemented some positive changes in 2012.
Among the highlights were: Provena United Samaritans Medical Center began the move to a new name; Carle and Hoopeston Regional Health Center finalized their merger; and the Veterans Affairs Illiana Health Care System welcomed a new director.
“I think we’ve had a really good year,” said Mike Brown, regional president and CEO of the Provena hospitals in Danville and Urbana.
One change that stands out, Brown said, is a new name — Presence United Samaritans Medical Center — and a new logo, a set of four circular shapes that interlock to form a cross.
In February, the name Presence Health was chosen for the new health-care system formed by the November 2011 merger of Provena Health of Mokena and Resurrection Health Care of Chicago. The new name is being phased in gradually, and is being used internally.
Late in the first quarter of 2013, a marketing campaign will introduce the changes to the public.
“I’m excited,” Brown said. “I think it speaks to the commitment of the Catholic Health System to Danville and the community. It’s a big deal as we go forward.”
Also this year, Provena received approval from the Illinois Health and Facilities Planning Board to transfer ownership of the outpatient surgery center known as Danville HealthCare to Provena. The venture will provide better access for patients and has the potential to help attract new physicians, Brown had said earlier.
The center got a facelift and a new name, ACCESS, which stands for Ambulatory Care Center for Excellence in Surgical Services.
Otherwise, Provena continued its focus on the recruitment and retention of physicians, and added 24-hour hospitalists, a rapidly growing form of medical practice. A hospitalist is a physician who has chosen not to have a private practice, and is trained in hospital-based medicine.
Provena also stayed technologically ahead of the curve this year, and was the first hospital in the Provena system to launch the Computerized Physician Order Entry in October. Physicians enter patient treatment orders directly into a computer, so nurses don’t have to do that, and can even do it from home.
Finally, Provena has been preparing for changes coming under the Affordable Health Care Act, Brown said.
The merger between Carle and Hoopeston Regional Health Center became official on Nov. 1. The center is now known as Carle Hoopeston Regional Health Center.
“Things are going great. The transition has been going smoothly,” said Harry Brockus, CEO of the Hoopeston center.
One benefit is that protocol for care is consistent between Carle and Hoopeston. For example, a patient going to the emergency room at Hoopeston will receive the same type of care as he would at Carle. “There’s a standard protocol,” Brockus said, “so they’re getting the same care across the system.”
Also, an electronic medical records system is in place so all charting is done online. Brockus used the example of a Cissna Park person who was unable to make her appointment with her Carle physician in Rantoul; the person came to Hoopeston and the staff was able to pull her medical information up on the computer.
“That’s making a huge difference in the way we care for patients,” he said.
Without the partnership, Hoopeston would not have as many resources, he said, adding, “It would have been a monumental task otherwise.”
Jim Snider, director of regional health care at Carle, is happy with the closer working relationship with Hoopeston. A number of physicians now travel from Danville to Hoopeston to provide specialty services.
In Danville, Carle continues to recruit physicians for the clinics at 2300 N. Vermilion St. (for specialty and surgical services) and 311 W. Fairchild St. (for primary care). Carle will add a pediatrician next year at the Fairchild clinic.
One new bonus for Carle patients is that they may visit http://www.MyCar
le.com for answers to frequently asked questions. A patient may check his blood-test results, for example, while sitting at home or log onto the website to find out when his next appointment is scheduled.
The online system will give patients of Carle Foundation Hospital and Physician Group greater access to their health information by making inpatient and outpatient records available in one place.
Also, at the Fairchild Street clinic, patients can bypass the check-in desk and use an automated system in the lobby. Once all the information is verified, the computer will tell the person he’s checked in. With a credit card, a person may take care of his co-pay, if desired.
Illiana Health Care
Emma Metcalf came on board in March as director, and immediately shared her goals with the staff.
“Our goal is to provide good quality care in a safe and clean environment,” she said, “and at the same time ensure we provide our employees with the resources needed to do their job to better serve our veterans.”
This past year was a good one, Metcalf said, as the Illiana system provided care to more than 35,000 veterans in central Illinois and west central Indiana.
One of those accomplishments was expansion of the tele-health clinics so veterans can receive easier and timely care without having to travel long distances to see their provider. Tele-health services are located in all five outpatient clinics and at Danville.
Illiana also implemented the Activated Psychosocial Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Program in mid-April. The program has 30 beds available for males and six for females. The program provides a residential level of care for veterans with addictive disorders, mental illness, homelessness and/or vocational rehabilitation needs.
That program has been needed at the Danville VA for some time, Metcalf said.
Illiana continues to receive kudos for its Green House initiative, which provides a home-like atmosphere to older veterans. Illiana was selected winner of the 2012 Under Secretary for Health’s Award for Innovation in VA Community Living Centers (nursing home) with the Green House initiative.
Illiana opened Freedom House at the end of 2011 and Liberty House in January. Illiana is the first VA in the country to adopt the Green House Project.
Another change was implementation of Patient Aligned Care Teams, and Illiana is a leader within the VA for implementing PACT. Under the program, care is provided in a team setting by the provider, nursing and administrative staff, dietician, pharmacy, social worker, etc. Each patient is assigned to one care team.
The Joint Commission triennial survey was conducted earlier in the year, and that went well with a three-year accreditation approval, Metcalf said. The Ambulatory Care Service (Danville VA campus and all five outpatient clinics) exceeded all national bench marks for performance in every category, she said.
Illiana also received national recognition for its library renovation, including an article in Planetree national magazine and presentation at Planetree national conference in September.
Other changes included modernization and renovation of its acute care area, and implementation of an in-house sleep study program.