In order to request loans and grants for Biggs-Gridley Memorial Hospital in the future, a strategic plan is necessary to help define "The Next 60 Years."

In order to request loans and grants for Biggs-Gridley Memorial Hospital in the future, a strategic plan is necessary to help define "The Next 60 Years."

Under a grant through the California State Office of Rural Health, the strategic plan is being facilitated by MJ Philps and Associates LLC from Upland, Ca.

Michael and Kathy Philps conducted 70 interviews of physicians, department managers, board and foundation members recently to learn what they perceived as the most important aspects of a strategic plan.

BGMH Board Chair John Harris opened the all-day retreat held at the Moose Lodge welcoming the group of 40 by stating, "What a difference a year makes," referring to the Save Our Hospital campaign held last September when a half million dollars was raised by the community in just 50 days, to show support and be able to return to local control.

Many questions were posed for the participants throughout the day, the first being, "How do residents of Gridley, Biggs, Live Oak and Richvale view BGMH's importance as a provider of healthcare (hospital and surgical services, skilled nursing, emergency room, clinic and other outpatient programs)?   

Sis Hogeboom stated as an Auxiliary member, she hears that the hospital is a very personal hospital with people getting the feeling of personal care. "The people appreciate not having to wait long, the convenient location, the x-ray and ER departments and the ability to get care quickly," she stated.

Hospital CEO David Yarbrough explained the Remote Presence Robotic System RP-7 to the group stating that "In Touch Health" will be on site to give demonstrations next month to medical staff, board and foundation members. At a cost of $5,500 per month on lease, the robot connect with a virtual specialist which would not replace the primary physician but will be an advantage so that patients will not have to be moved to another hospital.

With specialists available to give medical opinions who can speak to the patient and their family members, the ability to keep patients local will be a big savings easily covering the cost of the monthly lease.

Another change coming for BGMH by November will be the wireless capability house-wide, which means instead of traditional silver plates, all files will be done digitally on a PACs and CR system.

Employee Lauren Tuft, RN, reported that the OR department now calls all patients for a follow-up to inquire how the patient is doing since surgery and they have had very positive responses with people very happy they called.

The need for replacement equipment over the past eight years under previous ownership was discussed at length with it becoming clear that nearly every department has needs and requests. Although many improvements have been made in the past four months, it will take some time to make up for the eight years when computers and software had not been updated for an example.

The surgery department is normally very busy with Dr. George Hayes and Dr. Tanya Brown but with the addition of Dr. C.J. Shieh coming back to BGMH, this will make the department that much busier, something the staff is excited about. Dr. Shieh will perform surgeries one day a month to begin with.

Yarbrough is a stickler for transparency and stated financials are available to the board and staff members each Friday with managers having daily access.

It was stated by Yarbrough that the hospital has not borrowed any money to stay in business, which is better than most. The hospital is also currently debt free.

With the accounts receivable at 54 days on the average, a total of $5.1 million is currently owed to the hospital.

Insurance benefits to employees is of course very high with an average yearly payroll of $7.2 to $7.4 million, averaging $960,000 the past year. The year before, the health benefits added up to $722,960 for 2007.

A chart of "Circle of Success" included in the binders provided began with "Positive impressions, high level of quality and patient satisfaction," followed by, "Greater willingness of local residents to utilize BGMH," and "Increased utilization and market share, Increased revenue and capital reserves, ability to undertake capital facility construction" and finally, "new state of the art facilities, strong community loyalty and utilization."

Defining strategic goals and objectives included: Where we are now, Where we want to be and What actions will ensure we get there.

Participants were asked to note their own positives of "Where we are now and Where we want to be" when answers such as, "consistent excess operational revenue over expenses,"  that included as an action, recruitment and retention physician plan.

The need for a neurologist, a psychiatrist and a hospitalist were discussed.

The relocation of certain departments such as the lab, the clinic and business office were discussed for patient convenience. The Family are Care Clinic is currently situated in the back of the Health Services Building with many first-time patients trying to enter through either the physical therapy department or the business office. With the business office located closer to the hospital itself in the future, this would enable the clinic to have the front of the Health Services for entry.

Participants were enthused with the day's findings and are excited to hear the results compiled in the near future in the strategic plan scheduled to be released later this year.