Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital has more than 2,000 operating systems and procedures, and CEO Jeff Nelson says each one will be evaluated and tested to make sure it is performing at its best—all part his goal of making the hospital "the most trusted family-centered health care system in the Caribbean."
Every system will be assessed, departments audited, and the results shared with the public, Nelson reported to the hospital’s board Wednesday evening, saying he welcomes, even embraces, the probing—not for what it says about the past, but for pointing the way to the hospital’s future.
"We need to learn where we are; we find defects so we can fix them," he said.
Nelson took over the hospital’s reins just three months ago and has already held a series of public hearings to explore community perceptions of the medical center. He has started putting the JFL operating budget online, giving the public a chance to look over financial information that used to be hard to come by. Nelson’s doing it, he said, "not to scare people off, but to inform them."
"Our objective is to make sure everyone understands this is the people’s hospital," he said.
It’s not always pretty reading, he admitted. The hospital owes $24 million in accounts receivable and has only $3 million cash on hand. He said every single vendor who is owed money has received a letter from him explaining the situation and the plan, and encouraging the vendors to contact him if they need further information.
One such vendor, who is owed $1,400, called Nelson and asked, "What can I do to help?" The vendor ended up with half payment now, with the other half delayed until things turn around, and offered an additional discount as well, Nelson said.
The recent problems with the hospital’s dialysis center showed how strongly residents feel about the hospital. Under orders from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to reduce the number of patients treated at its dialysis center, JFL had to stop treating 20 patients.
The patients were understandably upset, which Nelson said shows "extraordinary loyalty." He said the hospital is aiming to have all CMS’s concerns addressed by May 15 so that it can again serve 90 patients, and then hopes to go beyond that.
"In the last 90 days we have accomplished quite a bit," said Nelson.