Among the news flashes you hope you never hear from a hospital are “fire,” “tornado,” “hostage situation,” “power failure” and “active shooter.”
But you can be sure that Wise Regional Health System has a plan in place for all those situations, and a few more.
As part of an annual facilities review presented to the hospital’s board Monday evening, David Wright, vice president for facilities, reviewed those kinds of plans as part of the array of possibilities Wise Regional may have to deal with.
“The emergency operations plan is about 30 pages,” he said. “It covers just about every contingency we can think of outside of the typical, routine things we respond to. This could be anything – internal or external, a major equipment malfunction or service outage, or it could be a mass casualty event or a terrorism-related event.”
Part of Wright’s job is to anticipate virtually every scenario and plan for it. The hospital has personnel who are trained to deal with those types of events, but they also involve local law enforcement agencies in the planning and practice drills for each location.
“We have an organizational structure in the hospital by area of expertise and names assigned to those, and we exercise that plan twice a year,” Wright said. “It’s pretty involved, and there’s a lot of activity that goes along with doing that. That plan is under perpetual inspection and update.”
Wright’s report covered things like hazardous materials, fire safety, weather-related emergencies, hostage situations – even what would happen if someone attempted to abduct a baby from the nursery.
And with the imminent opening of the new Parkway Surgical and Cardiovascular Hospital on Interstate 35 at North Tarrant Parkway in Fort Worth, all those plans have to be in place at four campuses: Parkway, the east and west campuses in Decatur and the Bridgeport campus.
“There’s a lot of activity, as you can imagine,” he said. “Security threats are everywhere.”
In addition to disaster planning, Wright’s report on the overall “environment of care” also include tracking maintenance on the medical equipment at each campus and a host of other items.
“Most of these are perpetual plans,” he said. “They live and breathe every day. We make changes to these as conditions may change.”
One of the more routine items he’s looking at is “alarm fatigue” among nurses.
“That’s one of the hottest topics in health care equipment this year,” he told the board. “It’s when nurses have fatigue from all the different types of equipment you find up and down the floor – whether it be an IV pump, a patient monitor, a respirator or something like that – all these different alarms going off throughout the day.”
He said there’s a nationwide effort going on to review the various alarms and get rid of the ones that aren’t critical to patient care.
VOLUMES DOWN EARLY IN YEAR
A financial report showed the hospital posted a decrease in net assets of $466,000 for the month of February on gross patient charges and other revenues of $40 million. CFO Jim Eaton said both inpatient and outpatient volumes were down from the previous month.
The Parkway surgical center showed a net loss of $172,000 for the month. It is expected to open for patients sometime in April.
The Bridgeport campus had higher surgery volumes, but showed a loss of $93,208 for the month of January. That deepened to $207,000 in February after a decline of 33 percent in ER volume. Eaton said personnel there could not pinpoint any one cause for the drop, but he speculated that perhaps flu cases, which were high in January, tapered off in February.
“It looks about the same this month [March] as it did in February – lower than it has been,” he said. “Cash decreased about $1.5 million – down to 108 days – mostly due to improvements and capital equipment purchases for Parkway and Decatur.”
Chief Operations Officer Leon Fuqua noted Wise Regional has approximately 600 surgeries scheduled and completed for the month of March, which puts it a little ahead year-to-date over last year.
Eaton also noted a donation of $245,000 from Wise Regional Health Foundation in February to offset the cost of the new digital mammography machine that was purchased for the Woman’s Center.
Wise Regional CEO Steve Summers reported on several ongoing issues to the board. Among them:
- He noted Wise Regional’s Intensive Outpatient Behavioral Services did very well in its final review by the Joint Commission on Hospital Accreditation.
- He said a study by the Hospital Authority’s bond adviser concluded that the Authority could achieve approximately $3 million in savings by refinancing the current bonds. He said he has contacted the law firm of Fullbright and Jaworski, and “we’re going in that direction.”
- He pointed out that several policy changes have to be reviewed and updated to be sure their language includes the new Parkway surgical center.
- He suggested moving the board’s April meeting to the 21st rather than April 28, due to a conflict with a meeting. The board agreed.
Board president Andrew Sandford nominated board member Ray Cook to the Wise Health Services board to fill the unexpired portion of Lesa Warren’s three-year term.
The board also:
- tabled a proposal to construct an underground drainage system on the Decatur West Campus that would be cost shared on an equal basis with Aamir Zuberi, MD, who owns the building. WRHS is likely to put their part of the property, which is used for outpatient dialysis service, up for sale and would like to coordinate the sale and the drainage improvement.
- approved both a sublease and management agreement with MVP Alliance, LP for the imaging center, equipment and operation of the center nearby the Parkway hospital facility.
- approved the purchase of six Fukuda Denshi monitors, at a cost of $165,185, for patient rooms in the Emergency Department to better monitor higher acuity patients as the need has grown.