Quality Of Care Will Be Continued Focus At Owensboro Health
Owensboro Health President and CEO Philip Patterson says he almost has to look back to last year to look forward to this one.
"2015 was a very dynamic year for us," he said. "A lot of strategic growth initiatives were started."
Most of those, especially those that focus on quality of care, will continue this year.
With the health system recognized for its quality of care, Patterson said OH needs to "stay on that forefront and always drive quality where decisions are focused."
In the past year, Owensboro Health Regional Hospital increased its neonatal intensive care unit capabilities to Level III, the highest in the region, and was certified as a trauma center as it "continue(s) to expand on the most urgent of needed care close to home."
Also last year, Patterson said the health system increased the number of bachelor-trained nurses by 12 percent, with another 183 on staff pursuing a bachelor's degree in nursing and 22 pursing master's degrees.
"As we continue to invest in our employees, we will see them grow as caretakers and continue to see quality scores go up," he said.
In the last few months, the healthcare system has started an employer outreach program, One Health @ Work.
"When you think of the economy and the strength of our community, it starts with our workforce," Patterson said. "We have to make sure our workforce is strong and healthy ... to do that, you have to partner with employers to make sure their employees are maintaining their health and safety."
Officials must face the current healthcare climate in Kentucky, with Gov. Matt Bevin having announced intentions to dismantle the state's healthcare exchange, kynect, and reform the Medicaid expansion enacted by former Gov. Steve Beshear. Patterson said with how "constantly changing healthcare is," OH needs to be resilient and adapt to national and statewide changes directed by regulatory agencies, while staying true to its mission.
"If we stay focused on why we are here ... if that directs our decision-making, we will be able to adapt to changes."
Patterson said he's looking forward to putting together a group of leaders in the business community to discuss "how we can better the care for our communities and our workforce and their families.
"I look forward to that dialogue," he said. "It's about listening and partnering, being able to create the dialogue necessary that the care that is needed is accessed locally (and) continuing to be the provider of choice for our community, in that we make sure we're listening and working toward the needs of our community.
"2016, to me, is we build a solid foundation and (were) recognized as a leader in quality, but we can't rest on those laurels. "(We have) got to continue to improve. We need to create a sustainable model, (one that's) not just nationally ranked, but is exceptional every time."
*This article was originally published on January 11, 2016 in the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer.