SMH Enters Management Contract with NHS

SMH Enters Management Contract with NHS

Northeastern Health System (NHS), Tahlequah, recently partnered with Sequoyah Memorial Hospital (SMH), Sallisaw, soon to be re-branded as Northeastern Health System Sequoyah. This agreement will maintain the small-town values and community model that patients have come to love and respect. The agreement will have many benefits for both facilities, including the knowledge and experience of Julie Ward, who will serve as NHS Sequoyah’s CEO. Ward brings more than 20 years of rural healthcare experience, having worked at Northeastern Health System since 1995, in which time she earned her CPA and worked her way up to Vice President of Finance. Her ties to Sallisaw and the surrounding communities run deep. She lived right across the street from the hospital, graduated from Northeastern State University, and currently lives in Vian. “I am very excited for this opportunity,” said Ward. “Continuing to remain profitable in today’s environment is the biggest challenge all hospitals face. My heart is in this community and I am excited to bring the knowledge I have gained at NHS to NHS Sequoyah.” With the change in payment plans from Medicare and Medicaid, as well as higher insurance deductibles, many smaller healthcare facilities are finding it difficult to maintain a positive bottom line. Partnering with larger health systems is often a way to continue offering services in rural settings. “We want patients in our surrounding communities to have the best care possible,” said Brian Woodliff, NHS President and CEO. “We can help bring new services and specialties to SMH, while maintaining small–town values that are unique to our management style. This is a win for everyone.” The agreement will...
Stout Named NHS Director of the Year

Stout Named NHS Director of the Year

Northeastern Health System recently named Director of Patient and Public Relations, Erielle Stout, as the 2017 Department Director of the Year. Stout was chosen from among more than 50 qualified directors for her strong work ethic and commitment to the health system, as well as for the results of her work. “Erielle always exemplifies leadership and commitment,” said Executive Vice President and Hospital Administrator, Jim Berry. “She doesn’t look to the left or right to see who is with her. She decides that she is all in and welcomes those who want to work on that task with her. If she’s the only one then she is ok doing it on her own.” One of Stout’s job responsibilities is improving the patient satisfaction, or HCAHPS, scores. Through her work with patients, their family members, and the staff, HCAHPS overall scores at NHS improved by almost 20 percent in the past year and a half. “We believe this increase is a direct result of the changes we made by creating a Public Relations and Patient Satisfaction position, filled by Erielle,” said Berry. “She works closely with all departments throughout the hospital to make sure we are exceeding patient expectations at all times. She makes daily customer service rounds to speak with patients, their family members and staff, in an effort to manage the expectation of care for patients and talking up the various departments reflected on the survey.” Stout began her career with NHS, then known as Tahlequah City Hospital, in 2012. She served as a nurse aide on the Medical/Surgical Unit before moving to the clerk position on the...
Experts Advise Adding Nurses to Hospital Boards

Experts Advise Adding Nurses to Hospital Boards

A recent article in “Trustee Magazine,” suggests adding a nurse to a hospital board of trustees is an often overlooked position. With 3.6 million nurses in the United States, only 5 percent of hospital trustees are nurses. Northeastern Health System falls within that five percent with the addition of Nurse Carol Choate, who has served on the hospital board of trustees for 15 years. “Nurses have a comprehensive understanding of patient care that helps drive decision making, whether it be about quality, finance or outcomes,” said VP of System Clinical Operations at NHS, Amy Williams. “As healthcare continues to evolve, it is important to have a collaborative approach, and nurses must have a seat at the table.” The contributions nurses make as board members in hospitals are quantifiable. “A University Health System Consortium analysis found a correlation between the number of nurse trustees at hospitals and better performance in both quality and safety. Having a nurse on the board also creates a work environment that leads to higher retention rates for staff nurses. “Staff level clinical representation is valuable,” said NHS VP of Patient Care, Donna Dallis. “Carol is able to look at it from the board, the hospital, the community and the staff’s perspective.” The traditional board makeup has leaned heavily on trustees with financial backgrounds, such as bankers and business executives. But that focus on the balance sheet and developing new lines of business has needed adjustment over the past decade as payers such as Medicare and many large insurers have begun demanding quality-of-care information and improvement. Nurses, who spearhead many quality improvement initiatives, are also tied...
NHS Rehab Helps Army Vet Walk Again

NHS Rehab Helps Army Vet Walk Again

Army Veteran, Dan Lewis, hurt his knee in Vietnam. Since that time he has undergone three knee replacement surgeries and has been to four different hospitals. It wasn’t until he entered the Inpatient Rehabilitation Center at Northeastern Health System, that he was able to get out of the bed and learn to walk again. “Out of my three knee replacements,” said Lewis, “this is the first to be successful. I can walk now, thanks to this inpatient facility.” Lewis had maintained an active lifestyle working for the post office, serving as undersheriff, working for the FBI for close to 10 years and serving his country in the Army. When he entered the NHS Inpatient Rehab Center he had not walked in many months. “I was feeling sorry for myself and got really down,” Lewis said. “When I met the staff they made me believe in myself again. It reminded me of the bond I had with my brothers in the service. The staff truly become like family.” Lewis’ therapists were hard on him and pushed him daily to progress. “I pushed Dan hard because I knew he could do it, and he did,” said Physical Therapist Mark Rogers. Sharon Cox, director of the Inpatient Rehab Unit, and one of Lewis’ physical therapists knew Dan had struggled in the past and was determined to help him regain mobility. “I showed him tough love, gave him the motivation he needed, even when he didn’t want it, because I knew his end result could be amazing, and it is,” said Cox. “He was able to walk out of our facility with the...
Biggest Loser Competition Winners Announced

Biggest Loser Competition Winners Announced

Congratulations to Nicole Little (left) for winning the NHS 2016/2017 Biggest Loser competition. Hollie Carrol (not pictured) placed second, and Brandi Blossom (center) placed thrid. More than 50 employees participated in the weight loss challenge, losing more than 250 lbs as a group. Awards were presented by NHS Executive VP and Hospital Administrator Jim Berry (right).   Share...