From the Board
From the Board: Leadership, Success, Growth and the Future
- We are on track with our long-term vision and hold close our commitment to put patients first. With strong leadership from administration and our entire team, we are taking on the challenges and complexities of an American health care system which is not only complicated, but undergoing rapid change. We strive to make decisions to ensure that high quality; compassionate health care is available close to home.
- In 2004, our community voted to support a new, state-of-the-art hospital by way of a general obligation bond for construction. We sincerely appreciate this support. While we asked for help to provide construction capital, it is important for you to know that ours is the only Public Hospital District in the state which does not collect maintenance and operations levy funding, and has not done so since 1962. The organization is financially strong.
- Recruiting and retaining leaders, staff and physicians is critical to our ability to navigate the increasingly complex world of health care. Our organization is no longer a small, rural hospital; it is a fully integrated healthcare system with more than 1,800 employees with annual operating revenue of $250 million and an estimated 2012 payroll of $101 million. We are proud of the health care we provide to our patients and do not want to lose members of our team; they are our greatest asset. There has been some concern over the Board giving salary increases to the Chief Executive Officer and administrative team at Skagit Regional Health, especially in light of the current economy. Our management team is facing the economic challenges head on because they have the skills and experience for the job. Our year-long market review shows executive salaries had fallen behind when compared against their peer group. Based upon the comparison and in light of achieving excellent results, we believe the pay increases are well deserved. We took a similar approach with staff and our providers, taking a market-based approach to setting salaries for all employees.
- In June, we will celebrate the fifth anniversary of the new hospital, which is the centerpiece of a state-of-the-art health campus that includes Skagit Regional Clinics, the comprehensive Regional Cancer Care Center, the Skagit Valley Kidney Center and the Wound Healing Center.
- Our 2010 integration with Skagit Regional Clinics (formerly Skagit Valley Medical Center), includes more than 100 physicians, 350 nurses and staff and brings seamless health care to communities in three counties.
- This spring, we will open a newly remodeled Mental Health Center at Skagit Valley Hospital, which illustrates the organization’s commitment to essential services. This project has benefited from hospital funds, as well as state and federal money and the Skagit Valley Hospital Foundation, which successfully raised $1 million to help pay for the project.
- Skagit Regional Health recently entered an interlocal agreement with two fellow public hospital districts, Island and Cascade Valley hospitals. The vision of this unique, collaborative effort is to seek mutually beneficial solutions to help drive down the cost of health care in our communities while retaining respective independence and enhancing services.
- In March, we celebrated the opening of Cascade Skagit Health Alliance in Smokey Point, a joint project of Skagit Regional Health and Cascade Valley Hospital in Arlington. This multi-specialty clinic provides access to primary and specialty care for residents of north Snohomish and south Skagit counties. In addition, Skagit Regional Health recently partnered with Island Hospital to purchase a urology practice with offices in Anacortes and Mount Vernon, in a move to retain these important health care services.
- Skagit Valley Hospital is a teaching hospital, supporting third- and fourth-year medical students from Pacific Northwest University in Yakima. In July, we launch residency programs in internal medicine and family medicine. Our goal is to recruit and retain these new doctors to serve our community.
- Hospitals across the country are in serious discussions about the future. Our business environment is changing, and old practices will not be able to respond effectively. We must consider this new paradigm with thoughts of integration with others, new organization structures and changes to our delivery system. The Board, with the management team, is engaged in this thought process. We pledge open and frequent communication with our community as our thoughts translate to proposals.
Health care is a complex, essential foundation to the well being of our community. Skagit Regional Health is in a strong position to continue to meet the health care needs now and into the future. As commissioners, we are honored to represent you and proud to serve our community.
James Hobbs, Sr.