Cherokee Nation W.W. Hastings Hospital celebrates its first anniversary

By Jami Custer Staff Writer TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Oct. 1 marks one year since the Cherokee Nation took over the management of W.W. Hastings Hospital. While under the leadership of CN, Hastings has made several improvements to the facility and its services. Services that have been added vary from bariatric surgery (gastrointestinal surgery for obesity) that began in March to offering mammography services in June. As of Aug. 27, Hastings had served 159 women by with the new mammography services. In addition to the new services, Hastings also added equipment to the facility, including sterilizing equipment for the operating room, operating room lights as well as bariatric equipment. “The Cherokee Nation successfully compacted one of the largest health care facilities in the Indian Health Service. During this transition the Nation was able to simultaneously increase both employee and patient satisfaction through additional resources and services,” said Dr. Charles Grim, CN Health Services senior director. “Cherokee Nation is now poised to leverage its integrated health system to greatly enhance the services and health outcomes provided to its citizens and communities.” Another big change within the facility involved switching employees over to the CN e-mail system without losing any information. According to CN officials, when the switch occurred Hastings’ Information Technology department and the tribe’s IT group worked hand-in-hand and were able to move the systems without loss or corruption of any data. Items that were moved included more than 750 user accounts, e-mail mailboxes, more than 350 computers and laptops, more than 40 servers and more than 45 different systems. Grim said his group always looks for areas that in need of improvement. He said one of the highest priorities was the renovation of the inpatient obstetrical services “to provide a more comfortable and family oriented environment” since the hospital delivers approximately 1,000 babies each year. “A new theme our patients will hear about is ‘delivering the nation’s future’, a phrase to emphasize the role that the hospital and our staff play in the community and Cherokee Nation as a whole,” he said. One major problem he said the hospital is facing is the lack of space “due to the vast growth of the patient population.” He said it is a problem his staff plans to remedy through building a supply warehouse adjacent to the hospital. “That will allow us to renovate approximately 8,000 square feet within the hospital to expand our current emergency department and urgent care capacity,” he said. He added that Hastings has a large list of facility renovation projects for the 2010 in order to improve satisfaction, comfort and safety among the patients. “Some of these projects include covered drop-off and pick-up entry, parking lot improvements, security and surveillance enhancements and restroom renovations throughout the facility,” Grim said.

Additional added services

  • The Expansion of the Healthy Eating for Life Program to include a support group that meets monthly.
  • Hiring of seven new physicians.
  • Change of inpatient internal medicine service to a modified hospitalist system to allow better continuity of inpatient care.
  • Increase medication formulary.
  • Expansion of electronic health record for inpatient service.
  • Transforming care at the bedside to improve registered nurse time at the patient’s bedside.
  • Cafeteria is open to the staff and public.
  • 24/7 respiratory therapy services to began in April.
  • The implementation of a surgical technologist training program.
  • The implementation of a new documentation system in the emergency department.
  • Adding a five-level triage system in the emergency department to help staff balance resource and anticipate needs.
  • Expansion of ultrasound services, which eliminated a six-week backlog for non-emergency ultrasound.
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