Pharos-Tribune

March 4, 2013

Logansport hospital looks to increase annual number of patients

Logansport Memorial also hopes to improve patient scores

by Caitlin Huston
Pharos-Tribune

— Logansport Memorial Hospital will work to increase the number of patients seen by 200 a year and improve low patient satisfaction scores, according to Dave Ameen, hospital CEO.

Speaking at the State of the Hospital address Friday, Ameen outlined how the hospital received low scores in patient satisfaction. While the hospital received high quality and financial reports, Ameen said he would like to ensure that the hospital is prepared for federal health care reform.

In 2013, Ameen said he would like to increase the volume of patients so that the hospital can keep their costs down in the future as they invest in equipment and resources.

“Our volume has got to increase,” Ameen said.

Ameen said the areas to expand would be in orthopedics and general surgery.

The majority of patients booked into the hospital come for pulmonary issues, obstetrics, gynecology and normal newborn care, according to hospital data.

“What we do, we do well,” Ameen said.

However, Ameen said the hospital does transfer a lot of patients to other hospitals when they’re not able to best meet their needs. For example, the hospital currently transfers most children and people who need to undergo heart surgery, according to Ameen.

Ameen said he also wanted to reach out to the 11 percent of Cass County residents who went directly to St. Vincents Hospital and 9 percent who went to St. Joseph Hospital for inpatient services instead of Logansport in 2011.

In an interview after the event, Ameen said the hospital could readily handle more patients, because the numbers only add up to four more admissions a week.

“It’s really doable,” Ameen said.

One of the other large areas to tackle is patient satisfaction, Ameen said.

According to hospital data, Ameen said 57.5 percent of patients said they would recommend the hospital and the hospital was rated at 64.4 percent for 2012.

“Patient satisfaction, we’re nowhere near where we want to be at,” Ameen said.

The hospital also received 88.3 percent for pain management, 86 percent for discharge information and 82.5 percent for quietness of environment.

Ameen said they were working to improve the scores by having an outside company come in and help streamline their process – like the wait time in the emergency room – and by making staff members have a faster response time to call lights at a patients bed.

Part of the reason for the low scores, Ameen said, is because the staff is working to get back up to full speed after the implementation of electronic records.

“Now we’re making sure we can get some of the productivity back,” Ameen said.

The hospital has also started a patient advisory council to get feedback from former patients, and is partnering with neighboring rural hospitals to see what methods work best, Ameen said.

The hospital did receive high quality scores, however, for its care of pneumonia, heart failure, surgical care and heart attack patients.

In an interview after the event, Chief Executive Nurse Jeanette Huntoon said they’re also hoping to decrease readmissions and increase patient satisfaction by following up more with patients shortly after they leave the hospital.

“We’re just finding more and more that we’ve got to be case managers,” Huntoon said.

She added she believe part of the reason for the low scores in the “would recommend” data came because the hospital wasn’t able to provide the services and so the person was transferred to another hospital.

The hospital will also be recruiting more physicians to fill positions at the hospital as the staff experiences retirements and other departures. Ameen said that can be a challenge, as there are a shortage of physicians.

“There’s a shortage and there’s a lot of competition out there,” Ameen said.

He said the hospital will also be preparing for federally mandated health care reform in the future.

Caitlin Huston is a staff reporter of the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5148 or caitlin.huston@pharostribune.com.

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