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Wednesday, 29 April 2015 02:22

Creating a healthier future

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op hospitalsHarris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital have embarked on exciting futures for our hospitals and communities.  

Early this month, we unveiled new names and logos for our hospitals that highlight our connection to Duke LifePoint Healthcare. While this was the first visual representation of our relationship with Duke LifePoint, the benefits of our becoming part of its system began several months ago.

When our agreement with Duke LifePoint was finalized last fall, we embarked on an extensive process to strengthen and enhance our hospital and its services. This began with the development of a strategic plan that has manifested itself in several ways already.

We brought additional resources to important initiatives, including our efforts to educate the community and assist families in exploring their health coverage options through the Health Insurance Marketplace. We helped dozens of families gain vital healthcare coverage.  

We are expanding and enhancing the services we provide. The clinical and quality experts at Duke LifePoint are providing best practices and new ideas to continue improving our quality of care. In partnership with Duke LifePoint, we are in the process of recruiting new physicians and medical professionals to our hospitals and clinics in important areas including primary care, pediatrics, general surgery, neurology, urology and other subspecialties. And we continue to grow and establish the medical services that will allow people in our communities to receive the care they need close to home.  

In addition, we’ve weighed feedback from our patients about issues such as our billing procedures and patient registration process and are making changes to improve how we operate.  

As part of ongoing initiatives to make our communities healthier, we continue to expand our local partnerships. These include our relationships with organizations like Western Carolina University and Southwestern Community College to train the next generation of healthcare workers. We’re also partnering with local employers to seek proactive ways to improve their employees’ health, and working with area school districts to focus on student and employee wellness. 

There are many, many exciting new developments on the horizon. Duke LifePoint has committed to investing $43 million in capital improvements at Harris Regional and Swain Community hospitals over the next eight years. We have already been able to make early strategic investments in new ultrasound machines, new computers, new flooring in our operating rooms, and new arthroscopic equipment for our sports medicine and orthopedic practices.

In the months to come, we have plans in place to expand our women’s services, completing the New Generations Family Birthing Center at Harris Regional. We also will build a new emergency room at Harris Regional and add new surgical services at Swain Community Hospital. 

We are thrilled to share these developments with our community and are excited about the opportunities we have as part of Duke LifePoint to transform healthcare in our communities and provide the services that families need right here at home.  

We thank each of you for your continued support of our hospitals including your feedback on how we are doing. We look forward to celebrating a bright future for our facilities, our employees, our physicians, and our relationships with you in the years to come.  

Bunny Johns is board chair of Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital.

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