Dear Friend,

Your family's good health is the most important thing to you and to us. This is our second community letter to keep you -- our patients and community -- informed of current healthcare events in our community and up to date on happenings at our hospital.

Ensuring Quality Care

We know that when you come to us you are often at your most vulnerable. You deserve safe, quality service, and your experience as a patient should be extraordinary in every way. Our 366 employees and more than 40 physicians and providers are committed to nothing less than this every day and in every way.

Patient safety and quality service are at the foundation of everything we do. In fact, our mission of "making communities healthier" feeds into our actions to continuously enhance quality care at our hospital. Did you know that when a patient comes in for surgery we validate their identity by using two patient identifiers, usually name and date of birth, throughout the entire process? In addition, we also double and triple check that we are operating on the right patient, at the right site, and that we are performing the right surgery before and during the surgery process. For instance, the physician marks the surgical site before the patient is taken back to the surgical suite, then the Nurse Anesthetist talks to the patient and reviews their information and surgery plans. Finally, once the patient is in the surgical suite, the entire Surgical Team takes a 'time out' to verify once more that the team has the right patient, the right procedure, and correct personal patient information. We take your safety seriously and it shows in our quality practices and outcomes!

Medical care isn't the only thing we focus on providing either. NNRH participates with other northern Nevada rural hospitals and our local emergency responders to plan what to do during a disaster situation. This partnership creates educational opportunities and prepares our hospitals and first responders to handle any emergency situation more efficiently and with better outcomes. In June, we participated in the community-wide disaster drill that was designed to test our community's collective preparedness for a disaster situation. We practice and drill for emergency situations in the hospital regularly because we know that if disaster strikes our first priority is ensuring that patients are given the medical care they need.

Obstetrical Services at a cross roads

A year ago, we had five OB/GYN physicians delivering babies. Today we currently have one local OB/GYN physician who provides prenatal care and delivers babies. In the last year, one physician left the community, one stopped doing obstetrics and two retired. This is not acceptable to us and we certainly want you to know that we are working hard to find several new physicians who can fulfill this significant need. A core service of this hospital is to provide a healthy, safe, and robust set of women's services. Having too few physicians for pregnant women in our community is of great concern to everyone at NNRH.

We have been diligently working to recruit OB/GYNs for some time and will continue these efforts until we are successful. In the last two months, we have had five candidates interview with us and we have a few more that are going through the initial screening process. We are confident that we will be able recruit highly qualified physicians who fit our community and will enhance our hospital's ability to provide quality care close to home. Until we do, we have brought in a team of locums (fill in, temporary) physicians to provide coverage at the hospital to ensure that our community's immediate labor and deliver needs are met.

Access to Care

Another area of need within the local community is for those who have insurance with Medicare or Medicaid. Many of our local physicians/ providers have chosen to limit or opt out of the two programs due to the difficulty in managing the claim process for each and the very low levels of reimbursement, which don't even cover a physician's cost of providing the care. We respect their choices that allow them to continue to operate as independent "business people" and be financially solvent. Retaining our independent physicians is good medicine for all of us. At the same time we are sensitive to the fact that all patients are in need of access to primary and specialty care. That is one of the reasons the hospital is employing many new physicians that come to practice and live here. We are able to have our employed physicians accept and participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs much easier than an independent physician/provider.

In fact, we recently welcomed two new Pediatricians: Dr. Alison McInturff, and Dr. Veronica Janhunen to Northeastern Nevada Pediatrics with Dr. Slothower. As all of our employed physicians, these three physicians see pediatric patients regardless of insurance plan. We will add additional Internal Medicine and Family Medicine physicians in the coming year who would like to join a practice much like this and do the same.

Great Basin Surgical Center

Recently, we announced the integration of Great Basin Surgical Center (GBSC) to our family. In the evolving healthcare environment, we are seeing greater collaboration among healthcare providers across the country. GBSC and NNRH physicians and leadership came together because we share a common commitment to provide quality healthcare close to home. By joining forces, we are now able to work together, as a team, to enhance healthcare throughout the region and to create a stronger continuum of care for all of our patients. Together we are stronger, rather than apart, in order to meet the continuing challenges of providing quality services in a financially challenging time.

Supporting Our Community

We are dedicated to being good partners to our community. So far this year, NNRH has contributed nearly a $50,000 to organizations and causes in our community. The organizations we have supported include the Elko County School District, Ruby Mountain Resource Center, American Cancer Society, Elko Boys & Girls Club, 4th of July Fireworks, The Terrace Senior Center, Elko Anacondas Swim Team, Elko Senior Games, Student Nurse Organization, Elko County Art Club, Horizon Hospice, Ruby Mountain Relay, Nevada Division of Child and Family Services, and many more. NNRH is committed to supporting programs that benefit our region as a whole.

In addition to the charitable donations we make, NNRH is committed to ensuring the delivery of needed healthcare to all members of the community, regardless of ability to pay. Annually, we spend between $6 and $8 million to provide services for those without the ability to pay for their care. Our commitment to provide quality healthcare to all residents of northeastern Nevada goes beyond our charitable contributions and it feeds into our daily operations. When you combine these numbers with our contributions to local taxes, it nears the $10 million mark annually,. We are proud of our employees--some of the best--and the services we provide. And we are excited for the future. What matters most is that you choose to place your trust and confidence in us when you need healthcare. If you feel we have let you down in some way or have feedback about how we can improve, my door is always open.

Thank you for your support of Northeastern Nevada Regional Hospital. You can reach me any time at 775-748-2001.

Wishing you the best health,

Rick Palagi, CEO