Many of us read the cover story New York Magazine (10/25/10) “Something is Killing Our Hospitals.” And we nodded our heads in recognition as the paragraphs unfolded.
It is a stark depiction of the multiple (and often competing) forces at work that are changing the industry of patient care, and in some cases threatening the viability of the hospitals and health care systems that serve both as part of our region’s lifeblood and as a public safety net.
For New York Hospital Queens, remaining on the plus side of the balance sheet means continual investment in our three time-tested priorities: high quality care, patient satisfaction, and safety. And our fourth priority- literally managing each dollar- allows us to have a future even as reimbursement rates continue to be constricted in ways that can strangle a medical practice or full service institution. Fiscal scrutiny is not in conflict with our growth plans; it is the reality of trying to sustain a high-achieving health care institution in this time of upheaval and uncertainty.
Here’s how we invest our dollars:
In high quality care: The people of Queens must be able to find the high level medical services they need where they live, work and play. Today, there is no need to leave this borough for great medical results…and this is by our design. We offer the right medical talent and technology and results right here. We have a medical staff of more than 1,600 physicians, dentists and podiatrists, and continue to invest in additional talent.
In satisfaction: We must focus on our patient’s experience. We devote time and resources to accommodate the needs of our diverse community, and to understand how those needs are heightened when an individual becomes a patient, or becomes the loved one of a patient. We have an advantage in terms of ‘cultural competency’ as many of our employees hail from this borough and they represent the many cultures we serve. We work hard to give our patients the service that they deserve.
In safety Even as operating margins get slimmer, we invest in technology that increases safety and quality within our facility, for our patients, and for our own employees and medical staff. This goes well beyond our progress in implementing electronic medical record capability. For example, last month in our recently opened West Building we unveiled 10 state-of-the-art operating rooms, mostly for same-day surgery.
All of this is not to say that this is easy, or that we hold a ‘magic bullet.’ We don’t. The risk is palpable.
For NYHQ, it is our focus on these three (and now four) priorities that will ensure we remain strong as the economic reforms and market forces deliver pushes and shoves to the industry that are difficult to predict or plan for, and certainly daunting to manage through.
Stephen S. Mills, F.A.C.H.E.
President & Chief Executive Officer
New York Hospital Queens