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Burdette to Transfer 3 Clinics to Health Center 4.12.2006

By Rick Racela

COURT HOUSE – Burdette Tomlin Memorial Hospital will transfer its OB, medical and dental clinics to the Cape Community Health Center here “probably by fall,” according to Thomas Piratzky, hospital vice president of Marketing and Public Relations.
The clinics serve the “indigent and uninsured,” according to the hospital, a clientele similar to the center.
OB and medical are located in the hospital; dental in Wildwood.
Piratzky said the changes should not cause any layoffs.
“Some (personnel) will stay in the hospital,” he said, “and some will go with the program.”
He said he did not know how many patients the clinics handled nor what would occupy the available spaces.
The transfer is believed to be a cost-saving measure.
The Burdette Bulletin, a publication distributed to employes, physicians and board members, according to Piratzky, said the OB space “probably will be used to expand revenue producing services; possibly infusion therapy and/or rehab medicine.”
The Bulletin said the moves would take place in April and June, but Piratzky said they were delayed by the need for some renovations at the center and for state approvals.
The “special edition” of the Bulletin was prepared to answer questions from employes who had attended “town meetings” on hospital plans in February.
Among other points the Bulletin made:
Its MRI will be moved from Village Drive into the hospital as a convenience, according to Piratzky.  He said he did not know what would be located in that building.
Patient satisfaction surveys conducted at random by the firm Press Ganey put the hospital in the low 24th percentile for the last quarter of 2005.
“Scored low,” according to the Bulletin: “staff sensitivity to inconvenience, staff address patient’s emotional needs, staff include patients in decisions about treatment, privacy, cleanliness, wait time for tests and treatments, pain control, special restricted diets explained, and noise levels.”
“This month we scored in the 70th percentile,” said Piratzky.  “Every quarter is very different. We score as high as 75 and as low as 24. We get them monthly and look at them quarterly.”
In answer to a question about refurbishing nursing units and other departments, the Bulletin noted patient care areas “are extremely old and outdated” and “a hospital-wide evaluation will be conducted to determine…areas that need to be upgraded.”
Piratzky said the upgrading is starting on the fourth floor and includes such “cosmetics” as “paint, wallpaper and tiles.”
The hospital board has been discussing changing the hospital’s name, but, according to the Bulletin, that would not be considered until Spring 2007, after goals of a three-year strategic plan are compete.
Piratzky said consideration of a name change was “nothing new,” and came up partially because market research in 2004 found “little recognition” of the name, especially among newcomers.
 Tomlin was a county businessman who in 1941 pledged the first $25,000 to build a local hospital if area citizens would match it.  Contributions rolled in, but construction was delayed by World War II and the hospital did not open until 1950.
There did not appear to be any mention of who Tomlin was on the hospital Web site.
“We are growing and doing many more services than before,” said Piratzky.  “Maybe it’s a medical center.  But this is preliminary; it is not even on the table.”
In answer to a question about “hiring hospitalists to shorten length of stay,” the hospital responded, “We need to build medical staff support for a hospitalist program. Physician attitude has been changing in favor of this, but it must be a medical staff driven process.”
Piratzky said a hospitalist was “a doctor hired by the hospital to do rounds to help alleviate other doctors’ rounds; it’s used to help with length of stay.”
Contact Zelnik at (609) 886-8600 Ext. 27 or: jzelnik@cmcherald.com

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