Joy A. Strand: Count on Borgess-Lee to be there when you need us mostPublished 8:48am Tuesday, August 11, 2009
While there appears to be a few hopeful signs of recovery, the fact is, unemployment in the country and in Michigan continues to rise.
Resulting job loss and employment uncertainty have led to many other difficulties, including access to quality health care.
While Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital can’t solve all of these troublesome issues, we do want you to know that we are not only addressing our own challenges posed by the economic situation, but we also are striving to strengthen our services and improve access to the people who need them.
Like other businesses, hospitals across the country and throughout our state have been impacted by the economic downturn.
Job loss and cutbacks in employee health care benefits have led to a rising number of uninsured and underinsured patients.
This situation, coupled with further downward pressure on both government and private insurance reimbursements, has produced operating challenges for all hospitals, including Borgess-Lee.
Yet, even in these difficult times, we have been able to make significant progress in providing the residents of the communities we serve with access to high-quality health care whenever it’s needed most.
During the past 18 months, Borgess-Lee significantly enhanced its provider base.
Two new internal medicine doctors, and a long-time area internal medicine and geriatric medicine physician were added to the staff of Borgess Lee Medical Group.
Borgess Lee Cardiology was formed and a new orthopedic practice, Borgess Lee Bone and Joint, was added to the hospital clinical specialties.
We designed and introduced a swing-bed program to offer seriously ill Medicare patients more time for healing and recovery in our hospital setting.
Plus, we are in the process of adding a sleep clinic to the long and growing list of multi-specialty clinics offered at Borgess-Lee.
In May 2008, construction began on our new and greatly expanded emergency department (ED).
The completion of the first phase of this construction was celebrated on Saturday, May 16, 2009, by honoring those “community heroes” who made it possible – our Campaign About Life donors.
Following this celebration, the new ED began serving patients.
The project’s second phase, which will nearly triple the size of the emergency department, is scheduled to be completed in the fall.
A community celebration will be held to mark this milestone at that time.
With this expansion, Borgess-Lee will have the capacity to handle more than 20,000 ED patient visits annually.
Recognizing how important ED services can be to the families we serve, Borgess-Lee implemented a 30-minute service guarantee.
Thanks to the outstanding performance of the eight emergency medicine doctors and the many dedicated health care professionals who support them, 94 percent of the almost 9,000 patients who visited the ED this past year have been seen by an ER doctor in 30 minutes or less.
This new ED service, combined with the successful 15-minute service guarantee program offered by Borgess Lee Medical Group’s Adult and Pediatric Walk-in Clinics, provides area families with unsurpassed access to quality health care.
As we look to the future, we know that our hospital will face many challenges and changes.
As part of Borgess Health, we will be prepared for them.
And we know one thing for certain: Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital will do whatever it takes to provide excellent care for each and every person who walks through our doors – today, tomorrow and in the years ahead.
Joy A. Strand has been administrator and chief operating officer for Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital in Dowagiac since 2007.