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Anderson reflects on year

After a year as the Ennis Regional Medical Center’s CEO, Dave Anderson has started to get a sense of routine now, but with the constant improvements the hospital is making, new physicians added and changes to procedures there is no time for him to relax as the focus remains on gaining the trust and loyalty of the community and providing the highest quality of service possible.
“It’s been great getting here to town and getting to know everyone,” Anderson said of the Ennis community and its citizens. “The people have been so gracious and wonderful. It is amazing how warm this community is. It really makes you feel so welcome.”
Anderson’s continual look into the future improvement of the hospital has not only been to increase the quality of service the hospital provides, but also at being a responsible member of the community and a great place to want to work for its employees. Anderson said through that effort he feels he has done a nice job at stabilizing relationships with the medical community, including nursing homes.
“We want to be the best in service and quality,” Anderson said. “We must treat patients with dignity and respect. The better (our employees) do at those services, the more patients we will see.”
Anderson isn’t the only one who feels the hospital’s level of service has been enhanced in the past year. ERMC was recognized as one of the top 100 most improved facilities in the nation.
“We feel real good about that,” Anderson said. “The community wants us to get better.”
One of the improvements made to the hospital’s care to help make it nationally recognized was the increased care quality for what Anderson calls the majors, which include pneumonia, congestive heart failure and heart attack. Anderson said the facility’s staff has been diligent in treating the majors to help make substantial improvements.
Some new additions the hospital has made in the past few months regarding physicians include general surgeon Mario Salazar, hospitalist Keith Rigsby and OB/GYN George Kinglsey, Robert Megna for family practice, who has an office in Ferris but is on active staff at ERMC, Davey Perrin for family practice, who will be moving into an office with Megna and joining the ERMC staff and is awaiting his Texas Medical License, Cardiologist Imad Alwan, who is currently in Tyler but is covering Ennis Regional’s cardiac patients and has a part-time office in the ERMC Medical Office Building adjacent to the hospital, and Yogi Chimata of nephrology, who has his office in Lancaster but is covering local patients. Chimata will have a part-time office in the ERMC Medical Office Building starting Dec. 1.
“I have a heck of a team around me doing so much to raise the confidence level of the community in the hospital,” Anderson said.
According to Anderson, medical offices are being constructed with turnkey suites in mind designed to be workable for physicians, who would only need to pick out finishes to complete the office. The hospital plans to add a pediatrics doctor, cardiology suite and dermatologist, who will be at the hospital one or two days a week. “Because I get the requests I often want to address that,” Anderson said.
Adding new physicians in areas where there are already staff to handle the patients isn’t a sign that the hospital doesn’t believe in its current staff, according to Anderson. Instead, it is about giving patients a choice.
Because Ennis Regional Medical Center is a smaller hospital, it sees fewer patients than facilities in larger areas. This results in physicians and nurses having to get as many diagnoses correct the first time, otherwise the hospital’s statistics will show lower numbers of correctly treated patients than a hospital with higher volume.
“It causes us to set the bar really high,” Anderson said. “You have to get it right every time. Falling short of that means you might not fall to an acceptable level.”
Ennis Regional Medical Center’s inpatient volume went up from 12 patients a day to 22, and continues to increase. On any given day they can run as high as 35 inpatients a day. Anderson said he hopes this is a sign that the hospital is being seen as a place to go for medical attention. Also, in that same period of time the number of births a month increased from 30 to 50.
“We are a busier hospital today from an inpatient perspective,” Anderson said.
From a financial standpoint, Anderson said the move to the new facility was rough. Moves need to be made that will net a positive year to have money for replacing equipment, staying up on the latest technology and investing in new services.
Anderson did point out that ERMC gave $8.5 million in uncompensated charitable services.
A major technological advance made at the hospital is the addition of a 64-slice CT scanner that gives doctors the ability to have a perfect look at all four coronary arteries of the heart to check for blockages in as few as five breaths. According to Anderson, this is a wonderful piece of machinery for patients who are potentially at risk.
Other technologies added include cardiac stress test, inpatient dialysis and a level 4 trauma designation.
“This is a tremendous accomplishment for the hospital and the community,” Anderson said.
Employee Opinion Surveys were conducted to pinpoint areas within the hospital that needed to be looked at. Anderson said departments met to fix what needed to be resolved.
“We want to be the best place to work,” Anderson said. “We have to have happy employees to treat our patients.”
Rewriting the hospital’s policies and procedures was one of the most daunting tasks of the past year.
“What I lose sleep over is that it’s not 100 percent fixed,” Anderson said. “I hope the community is patient with us. We have had to introduce behavioral standards. If there is ever a concern about care at this hospital we need to hear about that. We must gain and maintain the trust of the community. We know what needs to be done. It’s just taking some time.”
Projecting for coming year, Anderson said recruitment would be an important issue, including an orthopedic surgeon, pediatrician and pulmonologist.
The physicians being added to the hospital’s team are due to Anderson identifying areas where he believes Ellis County is being underserved. Anderson said he believes Ennis could become the place to go for patients who live between Dallas and Waco.
Now that he has been here a year, Anderson believes the infrastructure is in place for the hospital to continue improving, but the foundation can be built on at a quicker pace. The hospital staff is going to focus on “wowing” patients from a service perspective. Anderson believes the hospital will have a whole lot to show at the end of next year.
“One hundred years from now there will be a successful hospital in Ennis, Texas,” Anderson said. “What is done is for the betterment of the hospital. This hospital must have a life of its own. The community owns this hospital. It’s my job to take care of it.”

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Posted by on Nov 25 2008. Filed under Editorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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