Some run from change, but in 2013 Mason General Hospital & Family of Clinics embraced change on almost every level of the organization.
Most noticeably the hospital completed its two-year, $33 million Campus Renewal and Construction Project.
“What we identified several years ago was that there were several key areas in the facility that we wanted to improve and expand in order to serve our patients best. So ultimately that was the driver of this,” said Eric Moll, MGH&FC CEO.
“From the community perspective, we’ve really been able to create a facility that from look and feel is very patient centered all the way from the parking lot, throughout the building, to the amount of light that is brought into the facility to create a healing environment.”
From a staff perspective, Moll said the new facility, along with implementation of an electronic medical records (EMR) system, has increased productivity significantly. Moll said it was quite a task to take on both a building project and the implementation of EMR, with the two initiatives overlapping by about a year. However, he said both of these projects put “the tools in the hands of the staff that will allow them to deliver exceptional patient care.”
Moll said one of the reasons everyone seems to be so positive about the construction projects is that there were actually no surprises.
Moll said normally when you go through a massive construction project, especially one that involves working in an operational building, issues arise from the complexity of the logistics.
“Even though I had a lot of confidence in the people involved, I’m still really blown away with how well everything turned out,” he said.
The project was originally divided into three phases and the hospital hired OAC to oversee the design and construction aspects of the project. Moll said there was quite a debate over how the hospital should handle doing all of the necessary improvements.
“Ultimately, we decided to go with a fully-integrated approach because we recognize there aren’t these seamless stops between each phase,” he said. “There is a lot of coordination in construction.”
The first phase included the creation of a new surgery wing that opened in 2012. Areas included in the Surgery Wing are, Outpatient Services, a Post Anesthesia Care unit, three operating rooms, two endoscopy rooms, a central sterilization area for the Surgery Department, a lab draw station, and surgery support space. In addition, upgrades were made to the nurses’ stations and inpatient rooms in the Medical/Surgical/Pediatrics unit and The Birth Center.
Phase II included the addition of a new MRI suite, the expansion/remodel of the emergency department, a new patient concourse and a lab remodel/expansion.
Moll believes the MRI suite is an example of how the Campus Renewal and Construction Project was patient-centered. The new Open MRI scanner has an almost 360-degree open design, meaning it is ideal for patients who would otherwise experience claustrophobia when undergoing an exam, and it can accommodate patients of all sizes.
Phase III involved renovation and remodel throughout the rest of the facility, which included patient rooms, public corridors, the pharmacy and food services.
Since Mason General is one of the largest employers in the area and its actions have a far-reaching impact on the local community, the local business community took an immediate interest in the hospital’s plans.
“The bottom line is we are immensely proud of what our hospital has done,” said Heidi McCutcheon, executive director of the Shelton Mason County Chamber of Commerce. “Any time you can make this kind of investment into what the medical community has to offer, it’s increasing a number of things. It’s increasing employee health. Instead of reacting to them being sick, it creates the capacity to increase their preventative health (offerings). So now, we can focus on employee wellness and taking care of problems before they happen, so there will be less sick time and down time for employees.”
And if an employee does get sick, McCutcheon said the new offerings at the hospital would still reduce sick leave since people won’t have to travel as far to see specialists.
“Again, it’s that time,” she said. “(If) it’s one thing none of us have enough of, it’s time.”
Moll said the hospital views the business community as an “essential partner” and is open to new ways of working together.
The physical changes at MGH&FC are the most evident and the EMR switch has caused a lot of streamlining, but another significant change happened earlier this year. After 21 years as CEO Bob Appel retired and Moll stepped into the position on April 1.
“I don’t think that’s really had a significant impact and I think that’s partly or largely due to how close I worked with Appel,” Moll said, adding the board and administration team worked hard at making sure there was a continuation plan in place.
So after so many changes, can Moll and the rest of the staff at MGH&FC sit back and relax?
Moll’s thinking the answer is No: “The one absolutely fun and intoxicating thing is this board’s embrace and willingness for positive change for our patients and quality care.”