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CEO Update-2019: A Year for Change, Opportunity

CEO Update-2019: A Year for Change, Opportunity

As I write this column in early 2019, I cannot help but reflect on the changes in leadership Campbell County Health has recently experienced as an organization, as we said goodbye to some dear friends and colleagues.

Deb Tonn, Vice President of Patient Care services, retired after 40 years in nursing, the last 10 of which were spent at CCH. Moreover, Anne Raga retired after 27 years of nursing and nursing leadership at CCH.

We have hired a new Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) to fill this leadership void, Misty Robertson. Misty has assumed the direction of the nursing departments and a few of the ancillary areas. We are also adding a new Chief Operating Officer (COO) position in the near future. The COO will be focused, as the name would indicate, on CCH operations. This means that most of clinical areas will report to the COO indirectly through a Vice President, or directly, as departments. We expect this position to be filled as soon as February.

We have some great new changes to look forward to this year, and I want to touch on just some of them for you.

A brand new inpatient unit for Maternal Child, Medical/Surgical, and Intensive Care Units at Campbell County Memorial Hospital will open during 2019 in Gillette, Wyoming. The first phase will open in the summer of 2019 for Maternal Child, and the second phase will open either December of 2019 or January of 2020 for Med/Surg and ICU. These are the first new inpatient rooms since CCMH was opened in 1981, and they will be significantly larger—designed by our own employees to be the most efficient patient rooms possible. It is difficult to envision how significant this change will be now, when the work is going on above the main lobby, but these new rooms will really change both how patients experience their care, and how caregivers provide it.

Both the Board of Trustees and Medical Staff have new leadership this year. Our CCH Board has one new member and six returning members. Dr. Ian Swift is the new Board Chair, and Lisa Harry was elected in November. Dr. Nick Stamato is the new Chief of the Medical Staff, partnered with Dr. John Mansell as the incoming Chief of Staff. Dr. Stamato has many new ideas about peer review and credentialing that should invigorate several of the new, and a few of the seasoned, medical staff members to take a new look at their roles as medical staff leaders.

Our first year of having a succession planning group of young and upcoming leaders has gone extraordinarily well. We have nine leaders who are learning leadership principles, being partnered with senior leaders for professional growth, working on projects for the organization, and building a network of relationships that will help them in their CCH careers for years to come. I am excited how well this first year has gone, and even more excited that we are planning the second year already. (Staff who are interested in this opportunity should be watching for the upcoming application process.) We expect this second year selection process to kick off in March of this year.

Access to healthcare in rural areas will become even more critical in the future as the population ages in Gillette, Wyoming, and nationwide. Telemedicine is a viable way to provide care over great distances, and CCH just began its first telemedicine outreach effort with our Home Health department. We are currently monitoring the vital signs and medication compliance of a small group of test patients in their homes, and have actually been able to intervene with one of those patients in a proactive way to get them some additional care they needed.

CCH also entered into a telemonitoring agreement with Wyoming Medical Center (WMC) in Casper, Wyoming, for telestroke assistance in the CCMH Emergency Department. Through a remote connection, the neurologists at WMC will be able to monitor patients, and help our ED physicians determine the most appropriate and expeditious form of treatment for potential stroke patients. We are also looking at expanding telemedicine opportunities into primary care in Campbell County, Wyoming in an effort to make primary care medicine more accessible and affordable for our community.

I believe that 2019 will be a year filled with opportunities for improvement in patient and resident care, and also challenges as we continue to adapt to ever changing landscape in healthcare. I am always amazed at the resiliency of our patients, medical staff and volunteers.

I know we have a bright future as an organization and look forward to continuing to serve our community by providing a lifetime of care with dedication, skill, and compassion.

~ Andy Fitzgerald, CEO

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