When I became President/CEO earlier this year, The Board and I developed a 100-day plan for improvements. Since the hundred days passed in June, I wanted to provide you an update. The plan has three components: 1, Increasing leadership visibility and engagement. 2, Improving our patients’ experience. 3, Improving our financial performance.
Increasing Visibility and Engagement
Over the last 100 days, the Directors of the Board and I have met with our teammates and numerous tribal leaders in 15 villages with more planned. We have been to Hooper Bay, Scammon Bay, Kasigluk, Akiak, Kwethluk, Napakiak, Napaskiak, Atmautluak, Mekoryuk, Tuluksak, Aniak, Toksook Bay, Kwigillingok, Emmonak, and Lower Kalskag. I have also met with many of the tribal and non-tribal leaders here in Bethel, Anchorage and our region’s Senators and Representatives in Juneau.
Improving Our Patient’s Experience
Cleanliness of our facilities and improving access to our outpatient, emergency department and dental clinics is essential. Recently, we completed training our environmental service workers in the most current hospital cleaning techniques. Other hospital improvements are underway, including painting worn areas, purchase of new cleaning equipment and systems, and replacement of badly worn and damaged furniture in public areas.
We recently expanded our recruitment efforts to aggressively hire additional physicians. The dental department has improved access by assigning three chairs per dentist as opposed to one chair, which has significantly increased the number of patients our dental department can see.
We are also proud of changes in the emergency department with real time patient satisfaction surveys that show 85 percent of our patients feel that the care they received was excellent.
Improving Our Financial Performance
With only a month into my new position, we immediately formed two plans: a plan to decrease our expenses and a plan to improve our revenue collections.
A Plan to Decrease Our Expenses
The first week of June was difficult for all of us as we were forced to reduce our workforce due to very large past operating losses and a large projected budget shortfall.
We have offered severance to all affected teammates and are assisting with job placement. Although it does not make the situation any better for affected teammates, my thoughts are with them and their families as I hope they are able to transition to new employment as soon as possible.
The lay-off of approximately 101 positions included 51 positions in our Health Services Division, 43 in Support Services and 7 in Information Technology and Finance Divisions. Approximately 50 additional vacancies company-wide were closed and will not be filled.
A Plan to Improve Our Revenue Collections
I formed and chair a team that has one goal—to ethically and lawfully improve our revenue collections. This includes addressing a big coding backlog to bring our billing up to date.
These past four months have been extremely busy. Trust that YKHC is working as fast as humanly possible to improve our revenue collections while we simultaneously take necessary actions to reasonably contain our expenses. Meanwhile, we must continue to provide high quality health care for the people of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta and keep that as our primary focus and commitment.