The Transylvania Times -

Guest Column: Decisions Made In Patients' Best Interests


August 14, 2017

I would like to respond to a recent letter to the editor of The Transylvania Times, and to clarify the factors that led to the decision by Transylvania Regional Hospital and Mission Health to consolidate its associated doctors’ practices. First and foremost, this decision was made to ensure that the hospital can continue to offer excellent care, sustainably over the long run. This is the top priority of the hospital’s and health system’s leadership and board; it also should be, in my opinion, the top priority for our community members, the hospital’s patients.

Since patient safety, privacy and comfort are essential for excellent patient care, the new Emergency Department (ED) provides them. Improvements include larger rooms, a centrally oriented nursing station, and space specifically dedicated to our behavioral health patients’ unique needs. Important relationships are born and develop in the hospital – between patients and caregivers – and the new ED will support them through the addition of private rooms where physicians can meet with patients and families, and a new waiting area where loved ones will be accommodated more comfortably.

There are so many health care unknowns swirling around all of us, most notably what will become of the “Obamacare repeal and replace” dialogue. Many questions remain due to Congress’ inability to write a replacement that a majority of legislators – even just Republican legislators - can support; but one thing is clear: Transylvania Regional Hospital and Mission Health made the decision to expand and enhance the ED based on our community’s needs. In doing so, we paid special attention to how our community will evolve demographically over 10, 20 and even 30 years.

Transylvania Regional Hospital President and CNO Michele Pilon is a thoughtful steward of the hospital’s patients and staff. She wants to make certain that we are positioned for the many changes in health care that while unknown now, are inevitable. Her experience is diverse – starting as a bedside nurse and later earning her board certification as a nurse executive demonstrates that she is the caliber of leader that Transylvania Regional Hospital both needs and deserves.

I also know that the financial viability of Transylvania Regional Hospital is absolutely critical to Pilon. Critical Access Hospitals are in very serious peril nationwide, and the management of the hospital’s financial resources will make or break any hospital. A painful result of this decision – which was not made lightly – was indeed the loss of four positions, but Pilon is ensuring that each impacted person will receive help from Mission Health’s dedicated Career Center to secure a new position that honors their unique experience and talents.

There are very few decisions in life that don’t require some sacrifice or compromise. This practice consolidation is just one such an example. But I know that our community will reap important benefits of the consolidation, the most important of which is the contribution to our hospital’s own health. Only with a robust fiscal footing can we ensure that the superb, accessible care our community has come to expect will not be compromised – now or in the future.

(Christianson is Transylvania Regional Hospital Board Chair.)


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