CEO Update 2-24-20

I want to start out this week with a very positive story. Earlier this week, SHS received an award from the Colorado Rural Health Center iCare program. Another example of just how far this organization has come and demonstrates our continued focus on Quality. Below is a summary Karen and Lisa put together to explain what this award represents:
Dear Tony,
The Quality Department is proud to provide an update on a Colorado Rural Health Center program, iCare that Southwest Health has been participating with since 2011. Almost the complete 10 years of the program.
The iCare program has been a part of our process with the goals to 1. Improve communications in transitions in care. 2. Improve the clinical process and systems to reduce readmissions, particularly for heart failure, pneumonia, and diabetes patients, and 3. To Maintain low readmission rates.
Southwest Health set individual goals related to these three goals relevant to our hospital and clinic and has been committed to these measures with process improvement and data submission.
During the recent conference with iCare, Southwest Health was presented with achievement of being the “Most Improved Organization” with a special plaque indicating going “Above and Beyond”. The Primary Care clinic had the most improved HbA1c Testing with a 12.2 percentage point improvement! Mancos Valley Clinic had the most improved controlling HBP, a 21 point difference putting the clinic at 77.6%!
Average readmission rate since February of 2018 is 2.67%. 100% data submission for the hospital and 97% in all 3 of your clinics.
I was proud to present to this conference our sustainability plan which will be the Patient Family Advisory Council.
Southwest Health has demonstrated great lengths in the commitment for quality!

Thanks very much to Karen and Lisa for their leadership in promoting quality healthcare at SHS. It’s always great for people outside the organization to recognize what we already know, that Southwest Health System is a very high-quality provider of healthcare services.

In January Southwest Health System was approached by Southwest Health Alliance and Peak Health about the establishment of and participation in a local Health purchasing alliance. At that time, we were told they needed to have a decision by the end of January as to whether or not we would participate. At that time, we were not able to develop a proposal and where informed by Southwest Health Alliance on February 2nd, that they assumed we did not want to participate and we would not be a preferred provider in that network and as such local residents would be incentivized to receive care out of the area.
Subsequent to that communication SHS received a call from Mayor Sheek about a proposed meeting with community members, Southwest Health Alliance and Peak Health to further discuss the issue. At that point we agreed to participate in that meeting and it was held on February 10th. During the meeting it became clear that the members of community had an expectation that in order for this network to move forward, participation by Southwest Health System had to be a priority.
As such we were given until February 18th to develop a proposal for participation in the Peak Network and on the 18th Rick Shrader and myself met with Claire Brockbank, representing Peak Health and Monique DiGiorgio of Southwest Health Alliance in Durango. At that meeting we presented a proposal that offered a fair level of reimbursement and required that local providers be the Tier 1 providers for residents of Montezuma County and providers outside Montezuma County to be Tier 2 for services that can be provided by local providers. This would mean that there would be a significant incentive for patients to receive services locally versus traveling outside the area.
Southwest Health feels strongly that this approach not only serves to put this network in a better position to assure that the community receives high quality services at the lowest cost, thus contributing to the goal of the Network to lower the overall cost of insurance for residents of this area, but also serves to continue to build a strong local provider network that is so critical to the ongoing growth of this region.
At this point nothing has been finalized and discussions continue. Peak was receptive to our proposal but questioned the ability to be able to manage such an arrangement. Our position remains the same, in that our participation is contingent on preferred status for Montezuma County providers. Regardless of the outcome of the Peak discussions, we will continue to work with our partners at Western Healthcare Alliance and Community Care Alliance to develop a local network to address the need to reduce the cost of healthcare for the residents of Montezuma County.

As part of my on-going discussion on the “Leading for Change, A HUMANISTIC APPROACH FOR PATIENT, FAMILY AND STAFF ENGAGEMENT”, I am going to discuss Employee Engagement.
As you know results from our Employee Engagement survey last year indicated we had a major opportunity in the area. A subsequent Pulse Survey conducted last fall indicated improvement but still much opportunity. So why is this so important and how does it affect the overall success of SHS.
Research shows that for every 10% increase in RN engagement there is a decrease in MRSA by .057 cases per 10,000 bed days. A 1 standard deviation improvement in engagement results in a reduction in Mortality rate by 2.4%. Also, not surprising, there is a strong correlation with turnover and absenteeism.
From an organization standpoint, improved employee engagement has significant advantages. A 2017 Gallup Study found that when the Employee Engagement of the top 25% organizations are compared to the bottom 25% organizations the Top 25% had:
• 22% increased profitability
• 50% fewer accidents
• 41% fewer quality issues
• Less Call-offs
• Less Turnover
• Increased Productivity
So how do we get there? Engagement happens with good Leadership. Gallup recommends the following:
• Hold Leaders Accountable
• Connect employee engagement with performance management
• Coach and mentor Managers
• Hire for Talent
There is really nothing to these suggestions I can argue with. I will be the first to admit we have a way to go to get us to the “TOP 25%” but is will continue to be our goal and we are and continuing to work toward that goal. Next week I will get into more of the specifics of how we get there.
On a related topic, we will be conducting another Employee Engagement Survey this Spring to see if we are continuing to make progress in this area. I look forward to seeing your comments and suggestions on how we continue to move this forward.

Thanks to everyone for your efforts in contributing to the growth and success this organization continues to experience. Our results over the past two years continue to be beyond anyone’s expectation.


Maya Angelou – “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Albert Einstien’s Definition of Insanity: Continuing to do the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.