February 18, 2018
42nd Annual Hospital Volunteer Banquet Celebrated
To kick off the annual Delta County Memorial Hospital Volunteer Banquet, there was a new ceremony this year to honor those Volunteers or spouses had passed away - Carlene Dougan, longtime Volunteer who had lost her husband Bert (also was a volunteer), lit the memory candle.
Over 75 Volunteers attended the Mardi Gras themed banquet and enjoyed a meal by C & J Café. Founding members of the Volunteer group were acknowledged including Dorothy Loyer, 98 years old, Peg Lucy and Sondra Webb.
Jason Cleckler, CEO of the Delta hospital, shared his keynote address with the hospital volunteers. He mentioned a recent ski accident that required surgery, telling jokes which delighted his audience. Cleckler thanked the Volunteers profusely for donating over 16,000 hours in 2017 to DCMH. He spoke of the hospital being proactive, rather than reactive with the challenges in 2017 including reforms of Medicaid and Medicare, economic development in Delta County and political issues affecting healthcare both at the state and federal levels. Cleckler talked about the community needs assessments which identified behavioral/mental health, affordability and access as key healthcare concerns both locally from community members and regionally in a joint community needs assessment with the hospitals in Gunnison and Montrose.
A summary of top accomplishments for DCMH in 2017 was presented by the hospital CEO and included:
1) Behavioral health was integrated into the hospital's primary care clinics, and starting a regional coalition to work jointly on behavioral health issues
2) Building and opening the new West Elk Clinic - Hotchkiss, a 10,000 square foot clinic now seeing between 80-120 new patients each month. Opening a new West Elk Walk-in Clinic in Paonia.
3) Addressing transparency issues about price and affordability. In compliance with new legislation from the state, prices were posted on the hospital website.
4) Emphasis on collaboration over competition, working closely with other entities, hospitals and healthcare facilities. Cleckler said the future of healthcare is collaboration - perhaps the next step is to collaborate with insurance companies to benefit patients in the future.
5) DCMH was named in the Top 100 rural community hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row by The Chartis Center for Rural Health.
6) The Surgery Department managed to again lower the surgical site infection rate to 0.15 percent when the national average for surgical site infection rates is between three to five percent.
7) "We are facing even more challenges in 2018, but a new strategic plan created by every single hospital employee within each department strategic plan, which was then that was melded into the overall strategic plan for the hospital was orchestrated by the hard work of Jody Roeber, Chief Clinical Officer. Areas of emphasis in 2018 include financial viability, continuing to provide quality care with 'all hands on deck contributing', and exploring new types of services to offer to the families of our community," explained Cleckler.
Cleckler said the priorities for this new year of 2018 are - behavioral health, addressing the "emergency" of the opioid epidemic, citing a statistic that the number one cause of death for people aged 50 and under is now overdose from opioid drugs. There will be an increased focus on transparency issues for health care including pricing and access.
The hospital CEO informed the audience that with changes in health care from past years, now the patient/consumer is the number one payer for health care, as patients pay increasingly more out of pocket for their own health care. "Clearly those of us in the healthcare business want to make sure we are listening to what our patient/consumers want and what is important to them including access, affordability and convenience," added Cleckler. He also stated that virtual visits with physicians will begin at the end of February at the West Elk Clinic in Hotchkiss, following a national trend to make health care more convenient.
"We are moving away from the traditional illness model of health care and now are concentrating on wellness, and preventative health in a healthier environment, explained Cleckler. "Our success as a health care facility is how many people are living healthier lives with prevention and early intervention of health issues, and integrating treating the entire person including behavioral health with the goal of helping them to stay out of the hospital," added the hospital CEO. DCMH is now offering Tai Chi, smoking cessation, massage, acupuncture, diabetes counseling, weight loss classes, yoga and even a naturopathic doctor.
The Volunteers were then presented with pins for the number of hours donated and years of service.
2017 Awards for 2018 Annual Volunteer Awards Banquet
Sandy Cross - 500 hr pin
William Pomgrantz - 500 hour pin
Dorinda Capodice - 500 hour pin
Barbara Hall - 1000 hour pin
Susan Spinden - 1000 hour pin
Betty Trembly - 1000 hour pin
Michel Adams - 1000 hour pin
Dora Allen - 2000 hour pin
Betty Tremby - 2000 hour pin
Cherrie Gilliam - 2000 hour pin
Diana Neil - 2000 hour pin
Susan Flores - 3000 hour pin
Evelyn Frazier - 3000 hour pin
Mary Claxton - 3000 hour pin
Rose Dittmer - 3000 hour pin
Sondra Webb - 4000 hour pin
Joyce Polfer - 5000 hour pin
Clarine Johnston - 5000 hour pin
Peg Lucy - 7000 hour pin
Janamarie Dugle - 7000 hour pin
5 Years - Lynn Williams
25 year - Rose Marie Prince
30 Year - Ruth Marvel - Honorary