Chicago Hospital Experiences Extraordinary Turnaround in Less Than a Year

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Tim-Egan-thumbTim Egan, President

Tim Egan, president of Roseland Community Hospital, began his tenure on July 8, 2013. The organization was in financial upheaval. In fact, it was difficult for Roseland to meet payroll during the first half of 2013.

As a result, much of Roseland’s staff had been let go, and what Egan inherited was a skeleton team. On top of that, his first task was preparing for redesignation as a perinatal level 2 unit.

Presented with these challenges, Egan resisted the urge to panic and instead, focused on organizing a working group “to make sure that we were paying attention to all of the details needed to have a successful recertification.”

This included recruitment of new staff. For example, the hospital was in need of a department manager to serve as director of perinatal services. Roseland was lucky, he said, to find Rachel Jones.

Egan also secured an interim chief nursing officer in Somi Nagaraj and a brand-new OB medical director in Dr. Joy West.

With this team in place, Egan began to prepare for the Jan. 31, 2014, full-day survey to determine the hospital’s perinatal status.

“We had weekly meetings, we did our mock surveys, and everything right up to the last minute worked out well,” he said.

Then, two days before the survey, bad weather struck Chicago and one of the pipes burst over the OB unit.

Once again, instead of panicking, Egan said his team came together and cleaned up the unit, fixed the broken pipe, and repaired the tiles in the roof.

“It was just one of the best team efforts I’ve ever seen in a 20-year healthcare administrative position,” he said.

And the effort was rewarded when the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) surveyor team redesignated them as a level 2.

“It was one of the greatest feelings in the world at the end of a very long day to have the survey team give us unanimous approval for redesignation,” Egan said. “Some of our peers have struggled with this perinatal redesignation in the last year, but we really put the effort in.”

Focusing on 2014

Topping Egan’s list of projects is the revised 2014 Strategic Plan. He and his team established five pillars for 2014 that would help Roseland focus on the basics: Patients, Physicians, Employees, Community, and Collaboration.

“For our physicians, we want to be able to provide them with the support and the facilities that they need so they can provide that quality of care,” Egan said. “I’ve always said the greatest assets you can have in a hospital are your employees. You can spend millions in marketing, but a smile from your environmental services team to your security to your nurses to your CNAs, that can do wonders.”

He summed up his vision for the organization simply: “We work in healthcare because we want to help people. So when you come here every day, we want you to pick up that vision of saying, ‘I’m here because someone is injured, sick, or ill, and we want to make their lives better.’”

Beyond the strategic plan, Egan is also developing marketing strategies for Roseland’s Mammography Unit. Featuring the Philips MicroDose Mammography system, the unit is the most sophisticated in the city of Chicago and was made possible by a Philips grant. The program has been bolstered by a $200,000 grant from the Chicago Department of Public Health.

By contracting local radio host Consuella Williams of V103 as spokeswoman for the unit, Egan said the hospital has seen an uptick in its mammography services.

Roseland is also in the process of participating in all aspects of healthcare reform. The organization wants to move away from the current standard where a majority of inpatients are direct admits from the emergency department.

As Egan explained, this means they’re seeing people on the last leg of their healthcare journey. He wants to catch them on their first leg.

Therefore, wherever the hospital can, it is providing more preventive medicine through its network of outpatient clinics. Currently, Roseland has a wound clinic and is in the process of reinstituting hyperbaric chambers that had previously been shut down during the financial crisis.

Egan said Roseland also has great plans for a bricks-and-mortar asthma clinic, since 22 percent of inpatient stays at Roseland are due to chronic asthma conditions.

Overall, Egan said, he thinks “that this is a challenged community that deserves high-quality healthcare and that’s our mission.”

A passion for people and community

In spite of the many challenges that Egan has confronted in his first year at Roseland, he is passionate about the organization and the people of the community.

The IDPH not only redesignated Roseland as a level 2 perinatal, but also commended it for its exceptional commitment to excellence and for its revitalized focus on HCAHPS scores.

“One of the things that I think the surveyors really appreciated was the fact that myself or one of the senior administrators goes up and greets every mom upon delivery and gives them a gift on behalf of the hospital, and they thought that was great,” he said.

When he first arrived, there were many members of his staff who were unsure as to what HCAHPS scores were. Through intense education, they are now masters of HCAHPS, Egan said, which is why he advises his executive colleagues, especially those at troubled organizations, to not panic when confronted with institutional crises.

“The best advice I can give in a time of great crisis is to be patient and not make knee-jerk reactions. Outside of all these problems, there seems to be two sides to each issue, and I’ve found the truth is always somewhere in the middle, so you need to be able to weigh both sides and use that information to make an educated decision. In a time of great crisis, you have to be calm. You’ve got to avoid that temptation of reacting with emotion.”

by Pete Fernbaugh

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