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2015 Banner Year for BMH & UNHS - Medically Speaking, Volume Three, Number Six, 12/17/16

To paraphrase an old Frank Sinatra song, 2015 was a very good year.

Blue Mountain Hospital and Utah Navajo Health System, Inc. had their best years ever in 2015 and all indications point to another happy new year in 2016. BMH CEO Jeremy Lyman and UNHS CEO Michael Jensen are both extremely optimistic about the future of their organizations in every aspect of operation.

Lyman said BMH has reached its yearly goals in several areas, including patient satisfaction, financial performance, employee engagement and community engagement. He also noted the improvement in overall quality of healthcare and growth in the number of services provided at BMH.

He pointed to the success of the 2015 Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) surveys, explaining that BMH in-patients rated their experience while in the hospital as excellent. The HCAHPS survey is a nationwide program that measures patient satisfaction with their experience, in various categories, in hospitals across the nation. Lyman explained that the goal for BMH in 2015 was to have at least six composite scores on the survey with at least 80% of the responses as a 10 on a scale of 1-10.

"Scores of 1 to 9 didn't count. Only 10 counted and we met our goal," Lyman said

Lyman also stressed that the hospital reached its financial performance goal with a positive gross total margin, and operated in the black for 2015. BMH employees also expressed satisfaction with their jobs, during employee engagement surveys. These surveys measure how engaged employees are with their jobs, how happy they are with their jobs, how challenging and rewarding their jobs are and how well they are rewarded for doing their jobs. The overall result of these surveys was excellent, Lyman noted.

Another area of success for 2015 was the affiliation with University of Utah Health Care. BMH staff and providers participated in a number of valuable trainings with UUHC at different levels. The hospital's tele-medical services were also expanded during 2015 with a goal of becoming more value driven as an organization. BMH was one of five UUHC regional affiliates to participate in a special training this year. The other five affiliates were Portneuf Medical Center of Pocatel-lo, Idaho, Community Hospital of Grand Junction, Colorado, Memorial Hospital of Rock Springs, Wyo-ming and St. Johns Medical Center of Jackson, Wyo-ming. Lyman said he was very pleased with depth and breadth of the resources shared by the participants in this training.

He also praised the early success of the Southeast Utah Addiction Medicine Coalition that was formed last February. The group, which includes Blue Mountain Hospital, UNHS, San Juan Health Care Services District, Moab Regional Medical Center, and San Juan Counseling, has met several times this year. The group is also supported by the University Neuropsychiatric Institute (UNI) from University of Utah Health Care. According to Lyman, in 2016 a Fellow from UNI will be in southeast Utah on a regular rotation to see patients, educate providers and develop programs at all levels. He said the hope is to have more physicians involved in addiction management at some point.

Lyman said he is absolutely pleased with the success of 2015 and he looks forward to 2016. He said the hospital staff and providers have matured over the first several years, during a period in which BMH was starting up and catching up to its potential. Now, after six years the hospital is a stable and established health care facility with an excellent employee and patient base. Now the goal is to build on its success and grow the number of medical services for patients, he added.

In 2016 Lyman hopes to develop a program of tele-critical care, which would bring even more, convenient medical services to patients and their families. BMH will also offer Orthopedic Surgery in 2016 with Dr. Victoria Matt, M.D. She began seeing patients in November, and even performed a surgical proced- dure during her first visit.

Dr. Matt was at BMH earlier this week, seeing patients on Monday and Tuesday. She will return after the new year, seeing patients on January 11, 12, 18 and 19 and again on February 1, 2, 15, 16, 22 & 23. BMH officials hope to make Orthopedic Surgery a permanent part of its medical care.

In addition, Lyman said he hopes BMH will continue to improve in all areas, including patient experience, employee engagement, quality of healthcare, financial performance, growth and patient engagement.

UNHS has best year yet

UNHS CEO Michael Jensen said 2015 was the most productive, profitable year in the organization's fifteen-year history.

Jensen said he was pleased to see the success of UNHS over the past year with more patients seen than in any other year, and the implementation of several new tele-medicine programs that brought expanded healthcare opportunities to UNHS patients. He said all this helped lead to a record-breaking financial year.

In addition, UNHS saw the opening of its EMS Garage and expanded EMS services to serve the people on the Utah portion of the Navajo Reservation. UNHS also added five new providers and several new employees, bringing the total number of UNHS family members to 270 at the end of 2015. According to Jensen and UNHS Human Resources Director, Byron Clarke, UNHS had an overall employee turnover rate of just 8%. That compares to the national Community Health Center turnover rate of 15% and the nationwide turnover rate of 22%. Jensen said he hopes these numbers indicate UNHS employees and staff enjoy their jobs.

UNHS also began a walk-in provider program at the Blanding Family Practice and Montezuma Creek Community Health Centers. This provider is available to see patients who need to be seen, without an appointment, the same day they come to the clinic. This could include patients with everything from coughs and colds to minor injuries and well-child visits.

UNHS also celebrated its Fifteen-Year Anniversary with an elaborate, fun, carnival-type festival, complete with games, crafts and lots of good food for over 1,000 people who attended. Jensen said UNHS has come a long way in the first fifteen years and he looks forward to what lies ahead.

He said UNHS is doing very well as an organization as 2015 comes to an end, and he anticipates another great year in 2016. He points to the construction of two new medical facilities in Montezuma Creek and Blanding that will begin as soon as weather permits in 2016. The Montezuma Creek facility is a two-story, 34,000 square-foot clinical facility, located across from the UNHS EMS Garage and just north of the Montezuma Creek Elementary School. The Blanding facility will be a one-story, 17,000 square-foot facility whose location has yet to be determined. Jensen said he expects both facilities to be open by late summer of 2017.

UNHS is now preparing for its visit from the Joint Commission inspectors, who are expected some time between January and April of next year. He said the entire organization has been preparing for the Joint Commission visit and he expects UNHS to pass without any difficulties.

Along with the new buildings and the Joint Commission visit, UNHS expects to add more family planning services, as well as additional medical programs and services for patients in 2016. This could include more tele-medical services through its affiliation with University of Utah Health Care. UNHS Dental has recently obtained new equipment for its Montezuma Creek facility. This new equipment allows dentists to fit patients for crowns, and make those crowns in one day with 3-D imaging and a 3-D printer that makes great crowns for patients in a fraction of the time currently required.

"Obviously, our goal for the next year is to do better," Jensen said. "We have a great staff and great employees and we have the support of our Board of Directors, including our new Board President, Jamie Harvey."

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