Over the past few years, Mercy’s hospital and clinics in Ada have made significant changes to make your community hospital stronger.
These efforts have not gone unnoticed.
In May, Ada resident Carisa Roberson gave birth to her fourth daughter, Jessie, by cesarean section. Even though she has had three children previously, she still appreciated the special attention she and her daughter received from doctors and nurses at Mercy Hospital Ada.
“Each birth experience is its own,” she said. “The doctors and nurses were excellent. Everyone was really attentive to me and to the baby. They made sure I was okay and that I had everything I needed.”
Unlike her previous stays in the Mercy Family Center at Mercy Hospital Ada, Roberson benefited from two new processes that Mercy implemented earlier this year — visits by a nursing leader and visits by the doctor and nurse at the same time.
“You have the same nurses, but you only see the doctor once a day so it is good to know that they are communicating about you,” she said.
In addition to these two new processes, here’s a look at Mercy’s other successes over the last year to stay financially strong; recruit physicians and providers; improve care and communication; and prevent infections.
Strong Financial Outlook
Over the last year, Mercy Hospital Ada reported a net operating income of $5 million, compared to a loss of $2.4 million over the same period the year before. One of the ways the hospital has achieved this financial success is through a nearly 22 percent increase in surgical cases, in part, due to the recruitment of an orthopedic surgeon and a pain management specialist. Surgical cases in the ophthalmology, urology, and ear, nose and throat specialties have also increased.
Due to the net operating income, Mercy purchased several important pieces of equipment over the last year, including a new ambulance, lab analyzer, nurse call system, eICU monitoring equipment, anesthesia units, MRI machine, and orthopedic tables and instrument sets.
The hospital also provided nearly $4.8 million in charity care over the last year, which is free or reduced-cost care to low-income patients.
“A healthy operating margin allows the hospital to reinvest in the state-of-the-art equipment it takes to provide quality health care services,” said Mary Garber, vice president of finance for Mercy Hospital Ada. “It also ensures we can offer new services, expand access to health care in our community and invest in physician recruitment.”
Physician and Provider Recruitment
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the United States may see a shortage of about 124,000 physicians by 2025. The report shows that Oklahoma has the eighth lowest number of physicians providing patient care by population in the United States, with lowest rates in rural parts of the state.
At Mercy, we are planning now for the future by recruiting more physicians and providers to meet the growing needs of our community.
Last summer, Mercy welcomed Dr. Michael Padilla, a fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist, and Brian Freeland, a physician assistant with orthopedic experience. The pair sees patients at Mercy Clinic Orthopedic Surgery in Ada and also provides free medical care for acute injuries for Ada High School football players on the sidelines of every home and away game.
“We’ve been working a long time to recruit high-caliber orthopedic physicians to Ada and Dr. Padilla and Brian Freeland joining our medical staff last year was a big step in providing better health in our community,” said Marc McComas, director of operations for Mercy Clinic of Ada. “Orthopedics is one of those things that is an absolute must in a community like Ada since we see so many broken bones and joint injuries.”
This summer, an additional orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Cody Curry, will join Padilla and Freeland to round out Ada’s orthopedic and sports medicine services so patients do not have to travel far for care.
Also last summer, Dr. Brian Parks, an interventional pain management specialist, joined the brand new Mercy Clinic Pain Management in Ada. McComas said the recruitment of Parks was another big win for the community.
“There is medication management involved in what he does, but as an interventional pain management physician, he is able to examine what is causing a patient’s pain and what can be done to manage that pain,” said McComas. “Dr. Parks’ goal is to get patients off medication and actually treat the source of the pain.”
Recently, Mercy filled vacancies at Mercy Hyperbarics and Wound Care in Ada by recruiting Dr. Henry Boren and Stephanie Mowdy, a nurse practitioner. Mowdy began seeing patients in March and Boren will join Mercy in July.
In addition to Boren, Curry and Mowdy, the following physicians and providers will join Mercy over the next few months:
Mercy is actively searching for one hospitalist, one oncologist, one internal medicine physician and one family medicine physician to support Ada.
Improved Care and Communication
Not only is Mercy trying to recruit the best and brightest, the hospital’s highly skilled team of physicians, nurses, and other clinical and support staff is continually investigating new ways to improve the patient experience.
Last August, all departments at the hospital adopted a new evidence-based bedside reporting process between the outgoing nurse and the nurse coming on duty at shift change. Nurses meet in the patient’s room and discuss their treatment and any concerns with the patient.
During the reporting process, the outgoing nurse introduces the patient to the nurse coming on duty; discusses the patient’s pain levels and medication administration; discusses any tests needed or recent test results; and reviews their treatment goals. Throughout this process, patients can ask questions and provide any feedback or reflections on the care they hope to receive that day.
Patient feedback gathered through the bedside nurse reporting process led to additional communication improvement projects earlier this year that Roberson experienced firsthand in May — visits by a nursing leader and rounding by the doctor and nurse at the same time.
At least once during a patient’s stay in an inpatient unit, a nursing leader at Mercy Hospital Ada visits a patient at their bedside to discuss their care, look for ways to improve their experience at Mercy and ask if there is anyone they would like to recognize for providing excellent care.
“We don’t want to overwhelm patients at a time when they are sick, in pain or don’t feel well, but it is important that they have an opportunity to tell us if there’s something they need or what we are doing well,” said Liz Klingensmith, vice president of nursing at Mercy Hospital Ada.
Prior to implementing the new process changes, a nurse was not always in the room when a physician would visit the patient. Beginning in January, nurses now accompany physicians on patient visits in inpatient units.
“We were communicating a lot but not in a way in which patients could be part of the conversation between nurses and physicians regarding their care,” said Klingensmith. “This process keeps everyone more informed. We know patients who are involved in their plan of care are more likely to have better outcomes.”
Since implementing these three initiatives over the last year, patient satisfaction scores have improved in the areas of nurse communication, pain control, medication management and overall rating of care. Additionally, the average nursing handoff time for each nurse was reduced from 51 minutes before starting the bedside nurse handoff process to about 15 minutes each day, giving nurses more time at the patient’s bedside.
A Focus on Quality
Patient safety is Mercy’s top priority. That’s why the hospital monitors hand hygiene compliance among caregivers and infection rates to ensure patients receive the best and safest care possible.
Over the last year, Mercy Hospital Ada has had no central line-associated bloodstream infections in the intensive care unit; no catheter-associated urinary tract infections; no surgical site infections for colon surgeries and hysterectomies; and no methicilin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections, which is a type of staph infection that does not respond to most antibiotics.
The main ways Mercy co-workers have prevented these infections are good care coordination between nurses and physicians, and a focus on proper hand hygiene — washing their hands or using hand sanitizer before entering and after leaving a patient room, and before putting on and after taking off gloves.
“The number one way to prevent infection is hand hygiene,” said Klingensmith. “Our hospital has done extremely well at preventing hospital-acquired infections. It is something our community can celebrate because many other hospitals don’t achieve this.”