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Sharon's State of Hospital focuses on advancing healthcare

Posted: 6/6/2019

Sharon Hospital continues to advance the level of healthcare in the community by enhancing the region's specialized services while investing in technology and infrastructure — and strengthening quality care, patient experience and employee engagement.

 

That was the message to more than 60 attendees of the State of the Hospital community forum on Tuesday, June 4, at the Town Hall in Sharon, Conn.

"What I can tell you in my four months here is I'm so pleased to be part of the wonderful team and community," Sharon Hospital President Denise George said. "It is a very engaged, involved and supportive community." George, a 20-year Health Quest executive and president of Northern Dutchess Hospital in Rhinebeck, NY, is interim president while a search for a permanent one is underway.

George said Sharon Hospital received two quality awards in the past several months: four stars from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid in February and the Leapfrog Safety Grade "A" in June. These are related to patient safety, reducing readmissions, patient experience and improving mortality risk, to name a few.

"This doesn't happen by accident. This type of work happens because we implemented best practices," she said.

As for volume, the hospital's discharges and observations were up slightly from 1,833 in 2017 to 1,870 in 2018, while orthopedic, pain management and cardiology were key outpatient services. Maternity volume is projected to be lower than the five-year average, but births were up 13 percent the first quarter 2019 compared to first quarter 2018. George said the unit is fully staffed with 24/7 anesthesia services, on-call pediatricians and two newly hired nurses. There are three OB-GYNs on the medical staff.

"We look forward to strengthening maternity services," she said.

While a challenge, recruitment remains a strategic priority for Sharon. Two bright spots include a new primary care physician, Dr. Catalina Niculae, with Sharon Hospital Medical Practice in Kent, Conn., and a hospitalist, Dr. Jean-Carlos Jimenez. They start in August.

Recent capital improvements include $3.2 million to expand the senior behavioral health unit, which draws patients from a wide geographic area and is an in-demand service, George said. The unit will go from 12 to 17 beds in August. In addition, patient-care investments were made in diagnostic and urological and orthopedic surgical equipment.

Sharon also strives to have high employee engagement, George said, and the hospital committed $1 million as part of a salary adjustment in March to make wages more nationally competitive. It's a recruitment tool that, coupled with professional development opportunities, could help attract top talent, she said.

"I'm 100 percent committed to hitting our goals for strategic initiatives and working with the staff and community," she said.

For more Sharon Hospital news, visit www.healthquest.org/sharon or follow us on social media at My Health Quest.

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