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Schneider Hospital Foundation Announces Fundraising Campaign

The Schneider Regional Medical Center Foundation announced Sunday that it has launched a capital campaign with a goal of raising $2.5 million to fund four major projects, including renovations and expansions of the hospital’s emergency and delivery departments.

The SRMC Foundation was reorganized in January 2016 with the goal of funding capital projects by partnering with individuals and corporations. The foundation’s fundraising campaign launch was hosted by SRMC Board Chairman Cornel Williams at the headquarters of International Capital and Management Co.

The $2.5 million, which the foundation hopes to raise by December 2017, will be used to add additional rooms and new equipment to SRMC’s emergency department, to redesign nursing stations and patient rooms in its surgery unit, to upgrade its delivery rooms for added privacy and comfort, and to fund additional services and renovations at St. John’s Myrah Keating Smith Community Health Center, according to a press release issued by SRMC on Sunday.

“We are excited about what the completion of these projects will mean for the Virgin Islands,” SRMC Chief Executive Officer Bernard Wheatley said in the release. “However, to achieve these goals we are counting on our community to generously support this capital campaign.”

Shanique Woods Boschulte, SRMC Foundation coordinator, said, “We know the improvement of these four areas will greatly enhance the patient experience at SRMC. To achieve these goals, an immediate investment of capital funds is required.”

She said, “Every donation, regardless of the amount, is an investment in SRMC’s ability to provide high quality, comprehensive health care to the Virgin Islands community and the greater Caribbean.”

Woods Boschulte said she encourages the community to contact her to set up tours of the departments slated for enhancements.  During these one-on-one tours, staff will share the hospital’s plans for improvement and demonstrate how any gifts received will be used.

The hospital also recently released its quarterly District Governing Board report, a 34-page document in which the SRMC senior leadership team laid out recent accomplishments, as well as challenges and plans for improvement of the medical center.

The following are highlights from the report, according to a hospital press release:

Cost Savings

The hospital’s leadership team said it is implementing cost savings and revenue generating measures that will result in estimated annual financial savings of $4,393,503; estimated annual revenue of $4,095,000; and capital improvements investments of $3,110,495.

Grant Funding

The U.S. Department of the Interior recently awarded SRMC a grant in the amount of $380,752 to modernize its chiller plant by replacing three existing chillers with high efficiency models. Installation of these units will result in annual saving of more than $100,000. Two of the units will be used at SRMC and one will be used at the Charlotte Kimelman Cancer Institute.

New Telemetry Unit

The construction of a new telemetry suite, which will allow hospital personnel to monitor a patient’s heart rate, heart rhythm and breathing, both at the patient’s bedside and at remote locations such as nursing stations, is in progress at SRMC. Four telemetry/patient care technicians have been hired to staff the new unit. All critical care technicians will be crossed-trained to the telemetry, ER and ICU areas.

Nurse Externship Program

Twelve student nurses are currently registered for a 2016 Nurse Externship Program, sponsored by the Martha and Benjamin Foundation. The externship is a summer employment program that provides training to nursing students at the University of the Virgin Islands. The program prepares students to easily transition from the classroom to the hospital setting in advance of getting their registered nurse licenses, the report states.

Surgical Tech Program

In 2015, SRMC developed its own surgical tech program to educate and retain adequate support staff in its operating room. All nine program enrollees have successfully completed the 12-week program and are now scheduled to graduate on Tuesday.

Rehab Program

The SRMC’s outpatient rehabilitation services have resumed for physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy.  SRMC is also in the processing of developing Cardio/Pulmonary Rehab Services.

Efforts to Improve SRMC Medicare Reimbursement

Wheatley met with Delegate Stacey Plaskett to propose the adjustment or elimination of the hospital’s target cost cap. Based on the past five cost-reporting years, SRMC’s allowable costs have exceeded its Medicare payment by $16.8 million.

Wheatley appealed for a Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act rebasing of SRMC from 1996 and a change in the hospital’s status designation to Essential Access Community Hospital (EACH), Critical Access Hospital or Rural Designation. He also proposed “high cost carve outs” for Medicare cases with high cost components such as hip and knee implants. A current Medicare patient with a hip implant and a three-day inpatient stay costs SRMC an estimated $10,000 more than its reimbursement, the hospital’s press release said.

Aramark Transition

Last quarter SRMC received official notice from food provider Aramark of their intent to withdraw their food and bio-med engineering services effective May 21. The SRMC leadership team reported that it took immediate action to secure dietary services management, bio-med staff and dieticians, and retained more than 75 percent of staff. Although there has been a reduction in service hours at SRMC’s Island Breeze café, there has been no change to inpatient or outpatient food services, the hospital reported.

Recruitment and Retention

There will be greater focus on recruiting permanent registered nurses according to the report, which will reduce reliance on “traveling nurses.” Several permanent registered nurses have been hired since the hospital’s previous board meeting, the report states.  

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