Bluffton Regional: new faces, new technology
June 20, 2012
Hospital officials hope to put a physician in Ossian in the coming months, among other significant improvements
By JUSTIN PEEPER
When Brandon Haushalter was named CEO of Bluffton Regional Medical Center last year, one of his goals was to recruit new physicians to continue to meet Wells County’s growing and changing health care needs.
Haushalter, 32, has been working on this goal, and several new faces — and a new service for women — will join the BRMC community in the coming months.
Patients might also see a family physician return to Ossian — another one of Haushalter’s goals.
Haushalter has been leading BRMC for nearly 18 months and said in a recent interview that he has really enjoyed being part of a super team that continues to be recognized nationally for its award-winning health care.
“We have a great team here at the hospital,” he said. “We continue to do great things and we continue to do a great job taking care of our patients. Our patient satisfaction scores have continued to thrive, and our core measures consistently do very, very well.”
New faces, new services
Dr. Chuck Allison, an operative podiatrist, joined the hospital’s medical staff in February and has been seeing patients since that time.
Dr. Warren Hauck, a gastroenterologist, also joined the hospital’s medical staff this year and is seeing new patients.
Hospital officials announced in May that they have hired a new obstetrician. Dr. Judy Bowers is expected to join Bluffton OB/GYN in mid to late August.
In addition to a new obstetrician, BRMC will also begin offering a new service to soon-to-be moms.
Two certified nurse midwives will join Bluffton OB/GYN. One began in early June and the other is expected to begin in August when Dr. Bowers arrives, hospital officials said.
The certified nurse midwives will also focus on women’s health care and education.
In Indiana, certified nurse midwives are advanced-practice nurses with specialized education and training in nursing. Both certified nurse midwives who are joining BRMC also have experience as labor and delivery nurses.
The midwives will work in conjunction with physicians to provide this new service to women who are interested in an alternative approach.
BRMC has also expanded its ultrasound services so that they are available until 8 p.m.
“We have expanded that coverage so that patients have the opportunity to schedule things later into the day so they don’t have to interrupt their work schedule,” said Tamra Boucher, director of business development and physician services.
Another goal Haushalter has set is to put a family doctor in Ossian by late this year or early next year.
“That space has been vacant from a physician’s presence for multiple years and we are in the process of recruiting someone to fill that need,” he said. “That is a goal of mine.”
The physician would be located in the building BRMC owns adjacent to Dollar General on Ossian’s south side. BRMC currently operates occupational therapy, speech therapy and physical therapy out of that building.
“It will be great for our community to have a physician in Ossian again,” Ossian Town Council member Brad Pursley told The News-Banner in January.
The Caylor-Nickel Clinic closed the last doctor’s office in Ossian several years ago following the death of longtime Ossian physician J. Patrick Cripe, who operated out of Ossian starting in 1979.
Those offices are now the new MarkleBank Ossian branch. The building near Dollar General was opened by Wells Community Hospital in the early 1990s, but then closed when Wells Community consolidated with Caylor-Nickel Medical Center.
In July, hospital officials plan to transition BRMC’s information system to a new product called McKesson.
McKesson is an electronic medical records system. All the software that the hospital’s clinicians use to document patient care will transition to the new provider.
“It is a new system that is consistent with what is currently in place at all of the other Lutheran Health Network hospitals,” Haushalter said. “It will be a fully integrated medical record system.”
Haushalter said the upgrade will impact patients in a positive way, as the new system is more robust and will allow information to be integrated under one electronic format.
In September 2011, BRMC was one of five Indiana hospitals listed among the nation’s top performers by The Joint Commission, the leading accreditor of health care organizations in the United States.
BRMC is one of four hospitals affiliated with the Lutheran Health Network on the list.
The Joint Commission’s list of “Top Performers on Key Quality Measures” for 2010 is based on data about a hospital’s efforts to improve care for heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, surgical care and children’s asthma.
Bluffton Regional Medical Center was recognized for treating pneumonia and providing surgical care.
“Our associates and our medical staff know that what matters most to patients is safe, effective care. That’s why we have made a commitment to deliver positive patient experiences and clinical outcomes through evidence-based care processes,” Haushalter said in September.
“This recognition is the latest in a string of national awards Bluffton Regional has received that give testimony to the high quality of the care given at our hospital. We are proud to be named to the list of The Joint Commission’s Top Performers on Key Quality Measures. Everything we do at Bluffton Regional is about the patient.”
In May, BRMC also became a certified chest pain center. Hospital officials went through a lengthy application and had an outside organization come in to do a survey as part of the process.
BRMC is also an Advanced Primary Stroke Center as certified The Joint Commission.
Main Street Café
Hospital officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in May following a two-month project that renovated BRMC’s Main Street Café, which is located in the hospital’s basement.
Crews renovated the dining area and replaced carpet, wall coverings and serving supplies. The renovations also included a new menu concept called Fresh Inspirations.
Main Street Café is open to the public daily for breakfast and lunch.
In July 2007, Community Health Systems (CHS) acquired Triad Hospitals, who had been Bluffton Regional’s parent company since 2001.
The hospital’s roots in the community, however, stretch back almost one century.
In 1917, Dr. Charles Caylor moved his medical practice from Pennville to Bluffton to join other Wells County physicians. Around the same time, the county created the Wells County Hospital, which was later renamed Wells Community Hospital.
Then, in the 1940s, the Caylors decided to build their own hospital, making Bluffton the home to two hospitals.
In the late 1990s, it became difficult for both hospitals to survive. Both were struggling and there was a chance both hospitals could have closed their doors.
Finally, in late 1999 and early 2000, with the assistance of Quorum Hospitals, the two Bluffton hospitals were purchased and the consolidation was started.
The entity was renamed Bluffton Regional Medical Center.
On March 1, 2001, the clinical services were officially consolidated. In April, Quorum was purchased by Triad Hospitals.
CHS acquired Triad in July 2007.