Archive for January, 2009

You’re a good sport Tom!
—Posted Thursday, January 22nd, 2009 at 11:04 pm— « »

Our Hospital Board Chairman, Tom Birdsell is a good sport. Unfortunately for him, his beloved Nittany Lions lost in this year’s Rose Bowl game to my alma mater, the USC Trojans. True to his word, due to the loss, Tom wore a USC baseball cap for the entire Board meeting and even threw out a few “USC Rocks” shout outs.

As Tom’s fellow Board member, Sean Hogan, said at the end of the Board meeting, “I better hope USC never loses in the Rose Bowl game.” Sean’s right. It could get ugly. Thank you Tom, for being a man of your word. Go Trojans! And Go Lions, too!

Happy Inauguration Day!
—Posted Wednesday, January 21st, 2009 at 7:57 pm— « »

Yesterday was a great day in the United States. For the first time in our history, a man of color was sworn in as the President of the United States. This has been a day of celebration for our country. But, now 1 day later, the real work of moving our Nation forward in a postive direction begins. President Obama has youth and enthusiasm on his side, but he cannot do the job alone. It is going to take all of us, working together as a Nation, to fix some of the monumental problems that are facing us. We worry about the economy and how we are ever going to be able to dig ourselves out of this very deep hole.

For those of us in healthcare, we are facing a crisis of monumental proportions. As the economy worsens and more people are faced with a lack of health insurance, we are finding that the need for our medical services is as great as ever, but there are fewer payors. There is also less money available to upgrade and improve our equipment and our facilities. Many hundreds of hospitals are reporting that they are delaying or abandoning much needed building and equipment replacement projects.

The answers will come. But they will take time. It will take hospitals, and consumers, and doctors, and insurance companies, and private industry, and our elected officials, and others all working together. I am very optimistic that at the end of this process, we will have made a difference and our Country and our citizens will have access to better health care and more importantly, better health.

Robots in Health Care
—Posted Thursday, January 8th, 2009 at 8:16 pm— « »

We may have gotten a glimpse of the future last night at our monthly medical staff meeting at MCDH. Dr. Jim Gude informed our medical staff that he now has “robots” at 4 other hospitals in our area, and he is looking to add more hospitals in the future.

The new robots appear to be a boon to people and providers living in small, remote areas such as the Mendocino coast. With the availability of this technology, Dr. Gude or one of his associates can visit patients in hospital beds hundreds of miles (even thousands of miles) away from his location. He can converse with the patient and the doctors and nurses at the bedside. And he can evaluate medical data such as x-rays and bedside monitors. The robot even has a stethoscope attachment so that Dr. Gude can listen to the patient’s heart (even though he is miles and miles away).

The benefit to the patient and to the local providers is that Dr. Gude is a specialist in Intensive Care Medicine. Most small hospitals, such as ours, do not have access to an “Intensivist” locally. But, by having access to such a specialist (and other specialists as well) locally via the robot, I believe that lives can be saved and that dollars can be saved as well. The dollars are saved, as patients can receive care in their own home community and not need to be transported using expensive ambulance trips or even more expensive helicopter trips to the closest hospital with such a specialist. I think that we saw a glimpse of the future last night. I believe that if we are ever going to get control of medical costs in this country, telemedicine “robots” are very likely to be part of the solution.

Imaging Center Project Update
—Posted Wednesday, January 7th, 2009 at 4:53 pm— « »

Yesterday, Mendocino Coast District Hospital hosted a pre-bid walk through for contractors interested in bidding on the construction of a $6.0 million (including both building and equipment), 8,000 square foot, Diagnostic Imaging Center, which is hoped to be completed by mid-2010. It was very encouraging to see over 40 contractors and subcontractors come to Fort Bragg on Tuesday to attend this meeting. I am really looking forward to bid opening day on January 20.

This is a major step for our facility, which needs to upgrade our radiology equipment. The new center will include a new MRI, CT Scanner, Flouroscopy Suite and will also house the hospital’s mammography and ultrasound equipment. Since Diagnostic Imaging is one of the most highly utilized and most profitable areas of our hospital, it is crucially important that we keep this department current with technology and community medical standards. Our new Diagnostic Imaging Center will allow us to do that.

Happy New Year 2009
—Posted Friday, January 2nd, 2009 at 5:51 pm— « »

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that has made a contribution to the success of Mendocino Coast District Hospital in 2008. We want to thank our community for your wonderful support of our hospital and our services. I especially want to thank all the members of our “Hospital Family.” Our family includes hospital staff, medical staff, volunteers and our Foundation. Thank you all for a great 2008. I am looking forward to an even better 2009.