Southwest Regional Medical Center Announces Changes to Services, Facility and StaffingSeptember 18, 2013
For Immediate Release Contact: Joy Eggleston
September 17, 2013 (724) 627-2656
Southwest Regional Medical Center to Modify Services, Add Private Rooms and New Observation Area
Facility also adjusts staffing due to reimbursement changes
(Waynesburg, Pa. – September 17, 2013) – Officials at Southwest Regional Medical Center announced today that they are modifying the service lines at the hospital to better reflect the needs of the community and the changing national healthcare trends.
According to Cindy Cowie, Southwest Regional Medical Center’s CEO, “We are making changes which will allow us to provide the level of care that’s right for our community. In today’s healthcare environment community hospitals, like ours, are revising their service offerings to focus on outpatient testing, emergency care services, wound care, home health care and scheduled surgical procedures. Community hospitals are also modifying the levels of inpatient care they offer allowing the urban tertiary facilities to provide care in more complex situations.”
As part of the service adjustment the hospital is also making staffing changes. On Monday, September 16, a total of twenty-nine (29) employees, from different areas in the hospital were laid off. The SEIU contract allows prioritization of employees who may wish to take a voluntary reduction, and fourteen (14) employees took advantage of this provision through retirement or resignation, reducing the impact of non-voluntary layoffs to fifteen (15).
Cowie added, “The key change to services available locally is that we will only be performing scheduled surgical procedures and we will not be offering the highest intensity level of services as in the past. We have developed agreements with other regional providers to accept patients that need this level of care where onsite physician monitoring is provided around the clock. We believe the right thing to do is to ensure that the people of Greene County receive the appropriate level of care for all their healthcare needs.”
Southwest Regional Medical Center is also in the process of updating the rooms on the third floor and the emergency department with fresh paint, flooring, and new wireless internet access. The current intensive care unit will transition to an Intermediate Care Unit (IMCU), to allow for specialized treatment and monitoring of hospital patients.
“We have consistently heard our patients’ request for single rooms,” said Cowie. “Making these changes will allow us the space to make this a reality and provide a more private and restful environment for healing.”
Southwest Regional Medical Center is also following a national trend by opening an outpatient observation area. This observation area will serve patients who now (due to insurance standards) do not meet traditional admission criteria, but still need additional monitoring or testing within the hospital setting. While some outpatient observation patients still stay overnight in the hospital, the level of care provided is now different than a traditional admission.
“Because of changes in reimbursement, hospitals across the country are adding observation areas,” continued Cowie. “The medical and nursing staffs have created standardized processes for outpatient observation patients, which are based on their conditions. We expect this new process to create efficiencies and help us to survive the massive reimbursement cuts by insurance companies which have been made, while also providing greater consistency and outcomes for patients. This outpatient observation area will allow us to provide faster feedback and address patient needs more effectively.”
Conditions such as congestive heart failure, pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are sometimes classified as outpatient observation patients. All insurance companies require the use of observation status for patients who do not meet inpatient criteria.
Jay Hammers, Southwest Regional Medical Center Board Chair said, “As someone who has supported the hospital through many good and also some challenging times, I want to provide assurance to the community that these changes are being made in an effort to be proactive to the rapidly changing world of healthcare. While these choices are never easy, I feel a sense of optimism for the future in knowing we are supported by RegionalCare Hospital Partners and their commitment in helping us weather these unprecedented challenges and I feel confident that our hospital will continue to thrive and do well for many years to come.”
Southwest Regional Medical Center’s emergency department, staffed by board certified physicians, will continue to operate in the same manner as before. The emergency department has grown from serving approximately 12,000 patients in 2005 to approximately 24,000 today.
Mrs. Cowie said, “In today’s changing world of healthcare we are glad we can continue to be part of providing care close to home for our community. We want everyone to feel secure in knowing we will be here when they need us; offering the appropriate level of care for today’s community health needs.
The changes are all expected to take place before the end of 2013.