Suzanne Richards, the CEO of Victor Valley Global Medical Center,
located in Victorville is excited to report on progress made by VVGMC since it was purchased in October 2012.
VVGMC is a 101 bed hospital that provides high quality, cost effective healthcare services to residents of the High Desert communities.
Before the purchase, the hospital contended with several challenges including a conditional accreditation, and citations that suspended lab and ICU services.
Within the first six months of new ownership, the lab was reopened and VVGMC is now fully accredited by the Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program and The Joint Commission, and is on a solid foundation with the California Department of Public Health, Title 22.
Several things set VVGMC apart from other local hospitals, including:
Cardiology – The hospital is making room for an expanded cardio wing for acute cardio, something that is lacking in the High Desert. The cath lab now has all brand new equipment, including a cath system that does radial artery access (through the wrist) and has less potential for infection and problems. It offers easier performance of diagnostic tests and procedures for treating coronary artery disease, including use of the PTCA balloon (an angioplasty procedure).
Expanded Surgery Center – VVGMC does a tremendous amount of surgeries. To make room for an expanded post-anesthesia care unit, a separate lab and radiology department will be located in a separate building. The two-year plan involves completing a structure that is already located behind the hospital.
Family Culture – Employees at the hospital live in the High Desert whenever possible, and if not, they are encouraged move here and become a part of the community. Current staff can move up the ladder within, and continuing education is recognized and rewarded. Workers have the freedom to speak up about issues that they feel are important. Community spirit is promoted through team participation at events, like the March of Dimes walkathon, mud runs, corporate challenges, and Mavericks games.
Urgent Care vs. Emergency – VVGMC believes in adding services where most needed, and has opened an urgent care near Adelanto, in a great area with great people. Also being considered are facilities in Phelan and Barstow, areas that have been chronically underserved. This will enable the surrounding community residents faster access to urgent care types of ailments without the unpredictable wait in emergency rooms.
Patient Feedback – VVGMC uses a required accredited CMS methodology survey company track patient care and satisfaction. The hospital takes results seriously, and strives to correct any perceived problems immediately. Only about 12 percent of patients respond to surveys. Entering the hospital is not anyone’s first choice – either they’ve had an injury, accident, or are having surgery. Most who respond have had incredibly wonderful experiences but there are a few that have had a visit where VVGMC has fallen short of the patient’s expectation. Usually they don’t answer the survey if they are in the “middle” somewhere. The surveys are long, so patients don’t always want to take the time to fill out. FaceBook and Yelp have been incredibly useful in real time responses on patient experience and expectations. VVGMC enjoys the great good reviews they receive on FaceBook and share these regularly. If a staff member is mentioned in a review, they are recognized ASAP. If the experience falls short of expectations, then staffing is notified and work together to change the patient experience. One-hundred percent (100%) of letters received receive a response.
Community Outreach – Other medical facilities offer nutrition, exercise, and seniors programs and programs by local medical groups are doing a great job at promoting preventive care so that less people end up in urgent care or the hospital. VVGMC’s unique philosophy is to help the community develop healthy habits, so they plan again this year to have a weekly presence at the local farmer’s market, to encourage healthy eating, avoid diabetes, and other chronic illness. They cater to all ages from “0 to 100,” according to Suzanne. The Family Health and Wellness Expo has become the Family Care fair, offering school and sports physicals, and seasonal immunizations, wound care awareness and evaluations, and a multitude of preventative testing free every year. In addition, the annual Delivery Land 5K run was kicked off in 2015 and the event received over fifty runners in its inaugural year. With 26-33% of children in the High Desert living at the poverty level, the hospital strives to help keep kids healthy, and attending school.
Accountable Care Organizations – VVGMC wants to see more coverage benefits for more people, and also to have them taken care of early, with preventative outpatient procedures before they have to enter a hospital. Getting the mammograms, Pap smear, and other tests done, so they can catch health issues early on and enable patients and their families to get back to focusing on what matters most. In that way, accountable care is a good thing, that helps get hospitals back to providing acute care. All hospitals are experiencing the problem of full emergency rooms, when many things can be handled at an urgent care. A child has a fever or an earache should be treated at the urgent care.
Patient Centered Medical Homes – This is another way to reduce hospital admissions and emergency care. It’s in-home care, like a house with seniors or a group home for people with psychiatric disorders. A “house” can be a medical office, where a doctor comes to visit and take care of the person at home, bringing the equipment to them. Is the patient too weak to travel to the doctor? They can send a home health agency out to check on them. It is less expensive than visiting a hospital, with highly-skilled nurses and physicians, and need to keep extensive records. This type of care is happening more and more, even before Obama-Care. They offer care that is a little more defined. Also, in a hospital it’s hard to sleep, with lots of noise, it doesn’t feel like home.
Delivery Land – VVGMC has reinvented the obstetrics and delivery experience for High Desert residents. “People don’t want a sterile environment. They want a fun experience,” states Suzanne. “It’s cute to watch the touring moms and dads.” Many very nice comments have been received from new parents, and grandparents, who remember not being allowed in the delivery room in the past. Now they can be present during a birth. Patients and doctors all agree it’s nice for everyone.
About Suzanne Richards – When asked what she does for fun, Suzanne said she is an avid Star Wars fan. She has been married for 22 years and has two sons. Her husband invented the Kiss Wound guide that is being used in over 250 hospitals is the U.S. and Canada. One of her son plays basketball at Chino High, the #1 ranked basketball team in the nation, and wants to be a robotics engineer. The other is a published author who attends L.A. Film School.
For more information, visit Victor Valley Global Medical Center’s website at www.vvgmc.com