Good Samaritan Approves Strategic Plan

During Tuesday night’s board meeting, Good Samaritan’s three-year strategic plan, outlining specific priorities and strategies of the organization, was approved by the Hospital Board of Governors.

The plans include multiple strategies, all of which fall under one of five beacons of excellence, which are: Patient Safety and Quality, Team, Experience, Community, and Stewardship and Growth. Each objective is focused on bettering the health of the community.

“The manner by which we conduct our annual strategic planning process was initiated several years ago via our Baldrige Journey to Performance Excellence,” said Fred England, Chief Administrative Officer. “Each year, that process becomes stronger and includes the contributions of more and more individuals in the Good Samaritan family, including patients, employees, volunteers, board members and community leaders.”

A huge focus of the hospital’s strategic plan centers around the stewardship and community beacons. Throughout 2016, Good Samaritan leadership has participated in Serve 365, a community engagement initiative that promotes citizenship and volunteerism. This year to-date, 32 Directors and Senior Leadership volunteered their time and donated a total of 184 hours. This effort will continue to increase in the next three years and will allow the opportunity for all employees to participate if they wish.

The hospital will also strive to increase community partnerships in Knox and surrounding counties. A large part of what influences the health of a group of patients is found in the patients’ behaviors, socioeconomic conditions and other factors that are challenging to address in clinical visits. These influences have led to an increase in obesity and smoking throughout the community. As Good Samaritan continuously works to keep patients healthy, reaching patients outside of the typical care setting of a hospital or doctor’s office will have a positive impact on health outcomes.

Increasing the community partnerships and presence throughout the communities will also allow the hospital to address the lack of health resources many patients have. The results of the latest Community Needs Assessment found that residents in Good Samaritan’s service area have three major factors that contribute to unhealthy behaviors: 1.) Lack of primary care, 2.) Decrease in physical activity, and 3.) Lack of health education.

To assist in the patient’s access to care, Good Samaritan’s strategic plan explains that individuals will not have to wait any longer than a specific number of days for care. Those who are looking to see a primary care provider will be seen within two days. Appointments with specialists will be within fourteen days and patients can be seen for behavioral health appointments in five days. Emergency wait times will also be limited and patients will not have to wait more than 30 minutes to be seen.

In collaboration with three local hospitals, Good Samaritan will enter a consortium to receive post-graduate residency students beginning in 2018. Good Samaritan will receive five residency students every year for three years in either Family Practice or Internal Medicine. In addition, the hospital has the opportunity to receive up to five residency students in Psychiatry, resulting in up to 30 residency students training at Good Samaritan. This collaboration will assist in the growing shortage of primary care physicians in the area, thus increasing patients’ access to care. “Having residents at Good Samaritan will help with our physician recruitment, and will allow us to provide care to more people. Our physicians will work closely with the students and together they can create a learning environment where both parties can improve their knowledge and patient care,” said Rob McLin, President and CEO.

Also a part of the approved strategic plan is to increase employee wellness. Every year, employees participate in biometric testing. This screening checks the employees’ height, weight, blood pressure, BMI, tobacco usage, and cholesterol, kidney function and A1C (sugar) in a blood test. The prostate specific antigen (PSA) is also screened in men.

Employees who are on the Good Samaritan Medical Plan and meet certain criteria are eligible to receive $12 a pay that equals out to $312 a year as an incentive. Those who do not meet the requirements can earn the same reward by completing a reasonable alternative. The reasonable alternatives range from coaching sessions with a Wellness Coach, completion of smoking cessation class or speaking with a pharmacist about medication management. The strategic plan wants to increase the number of qualifying individuals each year and will strive to have 60% of the workforce meet the criteria in 2019. “Providing these incentives for healthy numbers not only decreases Good Samaritan’s and our employees’ insurance costs, but it also promotes a healthy lifestyle throughout the organization,” said McLin.

Each of the Beacons of Excellence has achievable measures that were developed to ensure Good Samaritan will provide the “Triple Aim” in health care: top quality, cost effective and highly-satisfying health care. “Our strategic planning process begins every January with an environmental scan of what will impact Good Samaritan from a national and local health care perspective, e.g., the Accountability Care Act, added England. “After that is completed, we conduct our SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) Analysis, followed by the development of our specific measures we wish to attain over the subsequent three-year period.”

The strategic plan outlines Good Samaritan’s goals for the next three years. The plan sets the organization’s path toward its vision – to be the regional center of excellence in health and wellness. Outlined with its implementation in 2017, Good Samaritan will be better positioned to manage and promote the ever-changing health care environment and provide improved care to its patients.

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