In just six short months, the partnership between Twin County Regional Healthcare (TCRH) and Duke LifePoint is already paying huge dividends for the Galax hospital and associated healthcare facilities.
TCRH CEO Jon Applebaum explained the many ways the partnership has helped on Oct. 4 during a community advisory group meeting at the hospital marking the six-month anniversary of the partnership. Between April 1 and Sept. 30, Duke LifePoint has made approximately a $3.1 million investment in new equipment, information technology and facility upgrades at TCRH.
Those upgrades include over $1.1 million for routine capital improvements, highlighted by a new video endoscopy system, $642,250 for a new wireless communication system, $895,000 for facility upgrades, including a nurse call system expansion, and the new digital mammography equipment highlighted in an Oct. 10 feature in The Carroll News.
“That $3 million investment equals what Twin County had invested as an independent hospital over the prior 36 months,” Applebaum said. “So in one quarter of the time we are seeing the equivalent investment in the hospital, which shows the level of commitment from Duke LifePoint to invest in our hospital.”
The routine capital investments have allowed TCRH to purchase a new video endoscopy system that would replace all of the hospital’s endoscopy scopes and the actual video system, Applebaum said. Much like the new digital mammography equipment, he said the new video endoscopy system is such an improvement it’s like looking at a High Definition television as opposed to a standard model.
The $642,000 investment in information technology continues TCRH’s progress toward a full electronic medical record, Applebaum said. The investment also includes installing wireless phone communications throughout the hospital. Additionally, the hospital is replacing the roof of the facility.
“And of course the special project was the new digital mammography system. So over a nine-month period, Duke LifePoint is making over a $3 million investment, which surpasses the investment we made as an independent hospital over the previous 36 months,” Applebaum said. “We’re very happy.”
The focus of the community advisory group meeting was to talk about the transition and planning that has occurred over the first six months of the partnership. TCRH is currently in the process of developing final approval of its strategic plan, operating budget and capital budget for 2013.
“We’ve been really impressed and pleased with the level of resource support that we’ve received from both Duke University Health System and LifePoint Hospital,” Applebaum said. “They have provided us with subject matter expertise in the areas of strategic planning, operational planning, operational efficiency, financial reporting, and service delivery.”
Service times to patients also continue to improve, Applebaum said. At the beginning of the month, he said an expert on patient flow in the emergency department spent two days with the hospital to look at ways to continue to improve the flow of patients from the time they arrive in the emergency department until the time they are discharged.
“And we are now monitoring those times on a daily basis. That would be one example of that operational expertise Duke LifePoint is providing us,” Applebaum said. “We’re also interested in knowing the community’s opinion of Twin County Region Healthcare, so in November we will be conducting a community insights survey.”
The telephone survey will address 11 aspects – hospital awareness, overall preference, hospital image and preference, unaided advertising recall, aided image/reputation ratings, outmigration issues, inpatient hospital use, outpatient facility use, emergency department use, aided client ratings, and physician demand.
“It is designed to get additional feedback from the community in terms of how well we are doing and where we need to improve,” Applebaum said.