Valley Health leaders present successes, offer glimpse of future

Mark H. Merrill

WINCHESTER – Leaders at Valley Health System discussed accomplishments over the last year and offered a glimpse of what’s in store for the future during their semi-annual corporation meeting Tuesday afternoon.

Mark Merrill, president of Valley Health System, also touched on the proposed replacement for the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.”  The House last week voted to replace and repeal parts of that act.  The Senate is preparing ot take it up next.

“Obviously we’re in a period of great uncertainty,” Merrill said. “When Washington, sneezes the health care industry catches pneumonia.”

Looking ahead, Merrill said they are working on a Valley Health surgery center, an urgent care center at Winchester Medical Center, a quick care center in Front Royal, a Winchester Medical Center medical office building expansion, a cardiac catheterization lab at Winchester Medical Center, and a potential new campus for Warren Memorial Hospital.

“We continue to focus on growing our primary care network,” he noted. “We are experiencing a shortage of primary care physicians in all of our markets.”

He said in regard to industry trends, health care spending is on the rise, but hospital price growth has gone down. He added that Valley Health has seen positive growth for the last four consecutive years.

He also outlined the accomplishments and new facilities that have kept Valley Health current with the trends in the health care industry.

Those include: the launching of the community advisory council; the “A” that Warren Memorial Hospital received from the Leapfrog Group in 2016 for patient safety; a favorable recruitment and retention rate of 89 percent; new leadership and promotions; and progress toward a goal of having 80 percent bedside registered nursing staff obtain a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing.

Merrill said that Valley Health saw many facilities open over the past year, including: the $10 million cancer center; the $2 million expanded emergency department and medical building at Shenandoah Memorial Hospital; the Front Royal urgent care facility; a quick care facility in Strasburg; outpatient labs; a geriatric psychiatric unit and hybrid room at Winchester Medical Center; the move of the chronic disease resource center to Cork Street in Winchester.

Sherif Kaiser, a family physician and member of the Valley Health System Board of Trustees and chairman of the Quality & Medical Affairs Committee, listed more accomplishments over the last year in regard to safety, including: a decline in serious safety events; an increase in safety calls and rounds; lean process improvement; daily harm mitigation case reviews; and Winchester Medical Center mortality reviews.

He also mentioned many new initiatives launched in 2016, including: Emergency Department medication history; improved rapid response team; reduced hospital acquired infections; expanded southern region transition team; expanded telehealth services; and reduced employee injuries.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or ktoy@nvdaily.com