RUMC Transforms Patient Experience through Community Commitment

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After a series of losses, Richmond University Medical Center in Staten Island, N.Y., has made great strides in turning around its finances, patient-satisfaction scores, and community involvement.

Many organizations discover that, along with improvements in efficiency, efforts to boost patient satisfaction and community outreach also improve finances.

Daniel Messina, PhD, FACHE, LNHA, has been president and chief executive officer of the medical center for nearly two years. When he came on board in early 2014, the organization was budgeting for a loss.

With focused leadership and employee engagement, Dr. Messina began to implement cost-management initiatives and promote efforts to maximize supply chain in order to reduce the deficit. These changes led to seven-figure improvements.

RUMC also began leveraging technology to improve workflow and has received $1.5 million in Meaningful Use incentives so far.

Redesigning the strategic plan

By engaging the board and the leadership, Dr. Messina developed a new strategic plan for RUMC and began expanding its outreach to the community.

“We needed to refresh our priorities, our true performance indicators, and better understand the competitive landscape,” he said. “I listened to the workforce, the medical staff, our patients, and our community to learn more about the frontline challenges and opportunities.”

Through listening and learning, Dr. Messina, his leadership team, and the board have changed the direction of the medical center and have begun numerous initiatives for aligning the hospital with current developments within the healthcare industry.

The 470-bed facility has been providing medical services to Staten Island residents for 100 years. RUMC renewed its focus on population health through a number of initiatives.

The organization has begun discussions with several schools to offer wellness programs and is working with Babies “R” Us to offer a mother/child health education program. In collaboration with the North and South YMCA, RUMC also offers diabetes education classes.

Taking advantage of federal initiatives

Richmond University Medical Center has embarked on new approaches to care that are inspired by healthcare reform. First, RUMC developed an accountable care organization under the Medicare Shared Savings Program. The ACO brought together primary-care physicians on Staten Island and within the hospital.

“The ACO has been a terrific opportunity for us to enter into the risk-based contracting world, which will help us compete in a new environment,” Dr. Messina said.

RUMC also participated in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) Delivery System Reform Incentive Payments (DSRIP) program. The program offers incentives to hospitals that implement specific programs that improve efficiency, quality, population health, and access to care for patients with Medicaid.

New York is a unique and exciting place to be part of this program because of the state’s support. New York has been working to transform the healthcare system and has put up state funds in addition to federal Medicaid funds to support DSRIP programs.

Dr. Messina said the program has encouraged RUMC to collaborate with the community on wellness, chronic-disease management, post-acute care, and substance abuse.

RUMC partnered with its neighboring hospital on Staten Island to improve the health and clinical performance of residents over the course of five years. Dr. Messina said Staten Island has a population of about 500,000 people, with about 130,000 Medicaid recipients.

“Medicaid recipients comprise a significant part of care for both hospitals,” Dr. Messina said. “This project creates an environment where community collaboration is the foundation and expectation of delivery of care.”

Enhancing clinical services and patient satisfaction

In addition to gains in community collaboration and financial success, RUMC is looking at ways to continue improving the patient experience.

The hospital recently began planning an expansion of the emergency department and a new observation program within the ED. RUMC added a robotics program and bolstered the cardiology services with the addition of angioplasty.

RUMC is also expanding ambulatory care centers within the community. The RUMC Ambulatory Care Center received Level 3 designation as a Patient Centered Medical Home Program.

“In an age of population health, we need partnerships to move forward,” Dr. Messina said. “RUMC continues to create efficient, high-performance, yet fiscally accountable care.”

-by Patricia Chaney

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