Crittenton Hospital Medical Center: Gregory Partamian, Chief Operating Officer

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Healthcare around the country is moving toward a more integrated approach with entities operating less in silos and forming more strategic partnerships with other facilities, organizations, or businesses. As many hospitals merge with larger healthcare systems, independent, not-for-profit community hospitals are examining their viability and their need to add partners in a range of areas.

Crittenton Hospital Medical Center is a 290-bed, not-for-profit, acute-care community hospital serving Oakland, Macomb, and Lapeer counties in Michigan. Crittenton has broken out of the siloed-hospital mentality to form a range of strategic partnerships that expand the level of care it can provide to the community. The hospital provides a continuum of clinical programs with primary, secondary and tertiary-level care. Through partnerships, the hospital is able to offer programs that are not always found in a community-hospital setting.

Mission-driven partnerships with the patient at the center

Even Crittenton’s mission statement reflects this commitment to developing partners, focusing on the goal of doing what is best and what is needed for patients–“Crittenton Hospital Medical Center is dedicated to enhancing the health status of the individuals and communities we serve in partnership with our physicians, employees, and community members.”

Chief operating officer Gregory Partamian said the hospital has been on the Baldrige Journey, a process to attain the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. This journey involves meeting requirements in seven categories that are essential to a management system.

“On the Baldrige Journey, we have had to identify core competencies, and strategic partnerships was one of ours,” he said. “We have many strong relationships with organizations that allow us to provide a range of services.”

These relationships include RehabCare, which manages outpatient therapies and the hospital’s CARF-accredited rehabilitation unit; Horizon Health Corporation, providing services for the hospital’s 20-bed mental-health unit; and the University of Michigan, which provides two full-time cardiac surgeons for the heart-surgery program.

“We have a great reputation in our community for services, including our cardiology program,” Partamian said. “We wouldn’t have a service like that or the confidence of our community without the relationship with the University of Michigan.”

In addition to partnerships for clinical services, Crittenton is staying on the cutting edge of information technology and medical equipment. The hospital is working with CareTech Solutions for IT solutions, including the implementation of an electronic medical record.

“Our hospital is forward thinking in terms of IT development,” Partamian said. “We have invested a lot of money into IT, and we are prepared to meet meaningful-use requirements.”

Another part of the hospital’s vision is to become an educator of choice, which has led to relationships with multiple schools in the area. The hospital is a fully-accredited teaching facility with residents from Wayne State University specializing in family medicine, internal medicine, and ear, nose, and throat. It is also a teaching campus for nurses from Oakland University’s School of Nursing and Rochester College’s nursing program.

Keeping the patient at the center of care

Throughout all its service lines, Crittenton keeps the patient first. Partamian said the hospital has embraced the Relationship-Based Care Model, which is a vision for care with the patient and family at the center. It includes six areas of focus–leadership, teamwork, professional nursing practice, patient-care delivery system, resource-driven practice, and outcomes measurement.

“Nurses are the initial participants in implementing the Relationship-Based Care Model, but our entire organization will adopt the model,” he said. “Together we will create the environment our community deserves. Our staff already embodies the Rotary motto of ‘service above self’ in the way they act and care for each other and patients.”

To better provide patient-centered care, Crittenton is in the midst of an expansion project to add a six-story tower that will have three floors of private rooms, allowing the hospital to be predominately all-private rooms.

“We are excited about the expansion project,” Partamian said. “It brings together the whole organization and the community. Our employees have already donated $350,000 to the fundraising campaign. This is a special place. Our physicians, staff, board members, auxiliary, and the community-at-large really look at the hospital as their own. When you have that kind of pride of ownership, you have a much better chance of succeeding.”

Preparing for the future of healthcare

Crittenton is in a strong position for the future, and as with all facilities, it is preparing for the future of healthcare. The hospital has already seen a drop in reimbursement for Medicare, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan announced it would not raise rates for two years. Partamian said the two payers account for about 80 percent of patients, and the hospital will need to figure out how to elevate quality and reduce costs.

“We will have to become more knowledgeable about reform, and we are making an educational effort to bring our physicians along with us,” he said. “We need to understand what’s being asked of us and how we respond together with our physicians.”

Therefore, Crittenton continues to build relationships and grow strategic partnerships with other businesses, organizations, and its physicians to navigate the coming changes. No matter what, the hospital recognizes that it is part of a larger healthcare system that operates together, from education to the bedside, to provide the highest quality care for patients.

-by Patricia Chaney

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