Evolution Continues at Regional West; Focus is Patient Care

April 15, 1924, is an important date in our region's history and for Regional West. That day, almost 100 years ago, West Nebraska Methodist Episcopal Hospital opened its doors at the corner of 18th and Broadway in Scottsbluff with a staff of 25. Throughout its history, the number of services expanded while employee numbers grew, and the once small community hospital evolved into Regional West Health Services, the state’s only Level II Trauma Center west of Kearney. 

Through it all, one thing has remained a constant: the importance of providing exceptional patient care to our region’s citizens. Even when faced with the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, our physicians, providers, nurses, and employees greeted those in need with open arms.

As members of Regional West’s Board of Directors, our goal has always been to offer a superior range of healthcare services to our families, friends, and neighbors throughout the region. That goal has never wavered, despite Regional West facing the same financial and staffing challenges over the past several years as many health systems across the United States.  

As with any industry, much has evolved and changed over time. However, with all the changes and the rapid evolution of healthcare, we sometimes failed to ask the probing questions necessary to guide our health system in the right direction and to hold our leadership accountable. 

We hear the concerns of our patients and those in the community. We are taking steps to improve and keep growing as a health system.

To start, we brought in an experienced interim CEO, Mel McNea, MHA, to help us focus our efforts and improve the culture at Regional West from top to bottom.

Next, we worked with an outside consultant, who was completely independent of the Board of Directors and employees of Regional West, to commission an employee survey and gauge the work environment at Regional West.

Through the survey, we received both positive feedback and noted areas that need improvement at Regional West. The survey’s summary noted high marks for the respondents’ views of their co-workers in general, treatment by their supervisor, role satisfaction, and the work environment.

However, employee respondents gave low marks for corporate communication, pay and benefits, receiving recognition, and the ability to express honest opinions, but noted they are willing to give extra effort to help the organization succeed, despite being unhappy about these issues.

Feedback from the survey is valuable. The Executive team is working hard to be more visible to the employees and address the concerns through physician, nursing, and soon-to-be-held employee forums. As board members, we have attended these sessions and are working diligently to make sure our employees feel comfortable offering their constructive criticism and ideas.

“Regional West has an excellent leadership team, but they need to be provided with the ability to gain confidence and lead,” McNea said. “We are here to guide them and help them provide an exceptional patient experience.”

Excellent patient care is our focus, and through Regional West’s new Interdisciplinary Team (IDT), we are improving the patient experience. The team, comprised of physicians, providers, and employees from all healthcare specialties, meets daily to discuss the quality of care for patients currently hospitalized. Members gather to discuss the patient’s care plan through discharge, allowing the team the freedom to question current treatments and whether alternative solutions are available to achieve the best outcome for the patient. When applicable, this discussion also identifies opportunities for palliative care and end-of-life discourse and helps remove barriers for a timely, safe discharge. It encourages team members to think outside of the box.

Besides addressing cultural issues, other positive changes happening at Regional West include a cleaner facility and an improved billing system. 

The billing system, or revenue cycle, is a highly complex process. Currently there are eight teams of employees reviewing, and walking through, every step of the process to identify improvements that can be made to the system. It is important to provide our patients with a great patient experience and a timely, accurate bill for the services they receive.

The revenue cycle begins with the patient’s first contact with our facility, the medical center, or physician clinics. Getting an appointment and communicating with your care provider needs to be easier; we’re working to improve this process.

As we make informed decisions regarding the future of healthcare at Regional West, we need to consider your feedback. We’d like to hear from you and have added spot on our website for you, our customers, to provide input. 

It’s important not to lose sight of the great things happening at Regional West. Recently, we provided high school students, nursing students, and the general public an opportunity to experience the da Vinci robotic surgery system in person. Plus, our leaders are getting to experience new educational opportunities through the Nebraska Healthcare Association (NHA), and we have implemented a daily leadership huddle to address concerns and celebrate our successes.

Thank you for trusting and choosing Regional West for your healthcare services. We will continue working hard to keep improving and to provide an exceptional healthcare experience at Regional West now and in the foreseeable future.

Regional West Health Services Board of Directors