May 1, 2018
At the March 29 meeting of the Eastern Plumas Health Care (EPHC) District Board of Directors, discussion centered on the updates made to the 2017-18 Operating Plan (OP), along with talks regarding improving customer service and gaining employees.
In regards to employees at EPHC, much loved Portola dentist, Mario Garibotti, who joined the EPHC team last year, will be leaving at the end of June. Garibotti plans to move back to Southern California.
EPHC recently hired Katherine Pairish, who will replace outgoing CFO, Jeri Nelson, this summer. Nelson has seen EPHC through good financial times and bad, and is adept at finding what she calls “pots of money” to make up for underfunding of Medicare and MediCal payments. Currently, Pairish is working alongside Nelson to learn “all that she will need to know as our new CFO,” said Hayes.
Recruitment of new primary care providers is a challenge nationwide, said Hayes, and it proves especially difficult in small, rural out of the way places like Eastern Plumas County. The hospital has put a lot of time and effort into getting several doctors who, Hayes believes, have the qualifications and caring personalities that will make them a good fit in EPHC’s clinics.
Dr. Dan Stoll, MD, has been recruited and plans to begin work part time in July 2018. Stoll graduated from the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Prior to that, he completed his pre-med coursework at UNR. Stoll is currently finishing his residency at Mercy Redding Family Practice Residency Program, a UC Davis affiliated program in Redding, CA. His goal is to serve in a rural mountain community, and he and his family have planned all along to return to this area, which makes it more likely that he will want to stay in this area long term.
A second family practice physician is set to join the staff in January of 2019. She also is committed to serving rural patients and is currently in the Redding area.
Changes and Upgrades
The clinic expansion, which will house the new Behavioral Health Program, will be completed by May. At that time, said Hayes, a remodel of the existing clinic will begin. Hayes said they are also “planning to make retrofits to the hospital in the future, which will allow EPHC to stay up to code without replacing the building, which is prohibitively expensive.”
Hayes addressed the issues that EPHC has faced regarding the quality of customer service, touching on important topics such as returning calls and voicemails, greetings and interactions with patients, and dealing with patient complaints.
While putting a strong focus on the areas that need strengthening within EPHC, Hayes continues to hold great optimism for the future, and said, “I want us [EPHC] to have the best customer service, and continue to work towards getting people engaged with EPHC. We are also focusing on greater visibility within the community- there are some in the Graeagle area, for example, that don’t even know that we are here!”
Hayes pointed out that there are four key areas that he sees as priorities for EPHC staff to improve and ultimately excel in; customer service, accountability, engagement in community service, and increasing community outreach and awareness.
“The work is ongoing to create a better culture of excellent customer service, and for all of us at EPHC to be much more open and accommodating,” Hayes concluded with a smile. “We are committed, always, to doing better–it is important to us to remember that we are here to serve our patients.”
Lauren Westmoreland, Staff Writer: firstname.lastname@example.org