Dear Friend: It’s been a while since we sent you an update on your hospital. When I pause to think about what is happening here, I’m amazed at the pace of growth and change in our community and at Huntsville Hospital Health System. Looking back over the past few months it’s evident that our community is growing rapidly. You certainly note this in traffic or in commercial and residential development, but we see it clearly in the volume of patients who are being treated in our facilities.
This is especially true in our Emergency Department on the main campus. We recognize the issues that high patient volumes create when you use the ER. Your time and convenience are important to us and we’re taking steps to improve your experience. As one of only three Level One Trauma Centers in Alabama, every day we care for patients from across North Alabama with life-threatening problems. The trauma program is a wonderful resource for all of us and we accept the challenge of providing great customer service in this unpredictable environment.
There are many other signs of growth and progress in our hospital. Earlier this year we opened an expanded area on the 3rd floor of the main facility for our Cardiac Short Stay Unit and our Cardiac Cath Lab waiting. The area serves as the front door of our cardiovascular program called Huntsville Hospital Heart Institute.
In June we broke ground on a 15-bed inpatient hospice unit at Redstone Village. Working with our Hospice Family Care team we anticipate the facility will be completed by the end of 2017. This should be a great service for our community.
The past year at our hospital saw continued growth in the number of physicians moving into our community. In fact, we welcomed 69 new physicians to our Medical Staff in the past fiscal year. And recently we’ve recruited an additional neurosurgeon and another cardiovascular surgeon to our hospital. This makes six neurosurgeons and six cardiovascular surgeons who are on our Medical Staff and available to serve you.
Telemedicine is becoming increasingly important as we established the North Alabama Neuro Stroke Network to serve patients in outlying Emergency Departments. Huntsville Hospital is designated as a Primary Stroke Center and is the only facility in the region that is prepared to treat ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes in North Alabama. Telemedicine services are also being used to screen psychiatric patients who present in area hospitals.
Recently, we filed an application with the State of Alabama for an additional 30 beds for Madison Hospital. The growth in our Madison facility has been phenomenal in all services and we look forward in the coming months to having more rooms to care for our patients. If approved by the state, sometime later next year we will finish out the space which was built when the hospital opened in 2012.
At Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children, we recently opened the state’s first OB Emergency Department with dedicated space and 24/7 coverage by board-certified obstetricians. It is a great new service for expectant mothers.
You probably noticed a logo on the back of this letter which we are proud to include. For the second consecutive year we were recognized by U.S. News & World Report as the #2 hospital in quality performance in Alabama and were distinguished for “high performance” in 7 clinical areas: abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, heart bypass surgery, heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), colon cancer surgery, hip replacement, and knee replacement. We are extremely proud of this recognition and we want to thank our physicians and staff for making it happen.
Caring for our community goes beyond the walls of our facilities. We are committed to taking our services into neighborhoods and community centers. Our Mobile Medical Unit continues to provide free screenings and services for thousands of people all over Madison County, including primary medical care for the homeless population at the Downtown Rescue Mission. Several of the physicians on our Medical Staff, along with many members of our care team, are involved with this great project.
In the midst of our efforts to serve the community, there are challenges which face our hospital. One of our major concerns is Alabama’s Medicaid program which has yet to find a long-term sustainable source of revenue. Going forward, this issue will challenge us in many ways and will certainly have impact on the future development of regional care organizations in our state.
Even with these serious issues, we’re confident that we can meet these challenges by working together with our physicians and with our community partners, like you. Thank you for all that you do for our community and for our hospital. We truly could not do it without you and we are very grateful that you allow us to care for you and your family.
David S. Spillers, CEO