NIHD has a new Chief Nursing Officer
Posted by Seth Conners
According to Barbara Laughon at NIHD, veteran registered nurse Tracy Aspel, perhaps best known in the community for her role in establishing the Rural Health Clinic alongside Dr. Stacey Brown, is now Northern Inyo Healthcare District’s Chief Nursing Officer.
Prior to being named CNO, Aspel served as Director of Nursing Practice and Interim CNO. As Chief Nursing Officer, Aspel is responsible for overseeing and coordinating NIHD’s nursing team and its daily operations.
“Tracy has a strong rapport with our nurses and has earned the respect of NIHD’s entire team for her tireless dedication to improving healthcare outcomes whether as a nurse, at the RHC or as an administrator,” said Dr. Kevin S. Flanigan, NIHD’s Chief Executive Officer. “She also brings a strong leadership ethic to this position, which will well serve the District, its nurses, and ultimately its patients.”
Aspel served as the RHC Director for 14 years before stepping into a nursing administrative role a little over a year ago. She was asked to be the Acting Chief Nursing Officer in 2016. Dr. Flanigan said Aspel more than proved her abilities to take on the demanding role in a full-time capacity.
“I love this hospital and our community,” Aspel said. “I have worked the majority of my career at Northern Inyo, where I have gotten to provide nursing care to my neighbors and be a part of an amazing team. Nursing is a wonderful career, where what you do matters each day. “
Aspel and her husband, Greg, live in Bishop and have two daughters.
In another leadership change, Maria Sirois, NIHD’s Chief Performance Excellence Officer, announced her resignation effective March 17 after three years of service. Sirois cited her desire to pursue her doctorate as her reason for leaving NIHD.
“We appreciate Maria’s service to the NIHD community and wish her well as she starts the next chapter of her academic and professional career,” Dr. Flanigan said. “We will miss the energy and passion for continuous improvement that Maria brought to our organization.”
Flanigan went on to say that during her tenure at NIHD, Sirois improved survey readiness and actively led and participated in Joint Commission and regulatory activities. She also built a team and a culture that is committed to improving processes and service for patients and their families.
Recruiting efforts are underway to locate a new leader for the risk and quality departments.
In other NIHD news, the District signed on to participate in Caltrans’ Adopt-A-Highway program and will be responsible for the two-mile stretch of U.S. 395 which serves as Bishop’s Main Street, and a similar area near Warm Springs Road.
The Adopt-A-Highway program, which began in the state in1989, is one of the truly successful government-public partnerships of modern time. More than 120,000 Californians have cleaned and enhanced more than 15,000 shoulder-miles of roadside.
Participation can include removing litter, planting and establishing trees or wildflowers, removing graffiti and controlling vegetation. Caltrans solely administers the Adopt-A-Highway Program. Adoptions usually span a two-mile stretch of roadside, and permits are issued for five-year periods.
NIH Auxiliary helps hospital gain Video Endoscope
Posted by Seth Conners
According to Barbara Laughon at NIHD, a recent equipment donation from the Northern Inyo Hospital Auxiliary is once again making a positive difference in healthcare offered during emergencies.
The NIH Auxiliary’s donation of $30,000 to purchase a Flexible Video Endoscope for use in the hospital’s Emergency Department. Endoscopes are used to secure airways in patients who are suffering respiratory distress and have difficult airways to manage.
“It also allows us to look for foreign obstructions or injuries to the nasal passages and the area behind the oral cavity,” said Dr. Jennie Walker, Director of Eastern Sierra Emergency Physicians, which provides physician staffing to the hospital’s Emergency Department. “It is definitely for life-saving procedures involving the airways.”
Dr. Walker said the emergency physicians greatly appreciate the efforts the Auxiliary puts forward to assist the hospital. “They truly make the difference here at Northern Inyo Hospital,” she said. “Their commitment to service and to providing the medical team with equipment like the endoscope is to be commended.”
For hospital Chief Executive Officer Kevin S. Flanigan, MD MBA, it is the Auxiliary’s method of fundraising that $30,000 that causes him to smile.
“When you think about how the Auxiliary raises its funds, you develop an appreciation for what they do,” Dr. Flanigan said. “They operate our Gift Shop, they sell See’s Candy, and they hold yard sales and Christmas boutiques. That’s how they make money to assist us in providing needed equipment. The Auxiliary is a true testament to our mission statement in that a small group working together for the common good can make a real difference – one team, one goal, your health.”
Established in 1963, the Auxiliary has donated more than $500,000 to purchase life-saving equipment for the hospital. To date, equipment purchases offset by Auxiliary donations include the Emergency Department’s Ultrasound machine, the Automated Breast Ultrasound machine which allows early detection of breast cancer in women with dense breast tissue, and a mini Immunoassay Analyzer, which increased the hospital’s ability to diagnose and treat bacterial infections.
Auxiliary President Judy Fratella said the group is continually working toward its next contribution to the hospital. “We have monthly business meetings and boutique workshops – all held at the hospital’s Birch Street Annex, located on the corner of Grandview and Birch streets. We welcome new members, so anyone interested in coming to one of our meetings and seeing what we are about is invited to do so.”
The Auxiliary meets the third Wednesday of each month at 10 a.m. at the hospital’s Birch Street Annex, located on the northeast corner of Birch and Grandview, just across the street from the Jill Kinmont Boothe School.
Fratella said the Auxiliary is already looking forward to its next Christmas Boutique, which for the first time in many years will have a new home – the Board of Directors Room at the Birch Street Annex. “We have so many things planned and moving to the Board Room, well, that will give us so much more room for craft displays,” Fratellla said. “Hopefully that space will equate to more sales so we can continue to help the hospital with these needed equipment purchases.
For more information about the Northern Inyo Hospital Auxiliary, call Judy Fratella at (760) 873-4059.
Caption: NIH Emergency Department physicians, Drs. Doris Lin and Jennie Walker are shown with the Flexible Video Endoscope recently donated to the Emergency Department by the Northern Inyo Hospital Auxiliary, represented here by Auxiliary President Judy Fratella, Treasurer Sharon Moore and Historian Betty Anziano. Photo by Barbara Laughon/Northern Inyo Healthcare District.
Tragic news announced by Bishop Police department.
Posted by Seth Conners
According to a press release from Bishop PD, On Sunday, February 26, 2017 at approximately 0807 hours, the Bishop Police Department received a 911 call from a business located on the 1100 block of N. Main Street, reporting a female inside a vehicle, who appeared to be in distress.
Units from the Bishop Police Department, the Inyo County Sheriff’s Department and Symon’s Ambulance Services arrived a short time later and life saving measures were initiated. The female, a 38 year old and new to the Bishop area, was transported to Northern Inyo Hospital, where she was pronounced deceased.
There was no evidence of foul play but rather a suicide.
The Bishop Police Department investigation is continuing. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact us at (760) 873-5866.
Mummies and your heart health
Posted by Seth Conners
According to a press release from Barbara Laughon at NIHD, cardiologist Christopher Rowan, MD, will be the guest speaker at this week’s Healthy Lifestyle Talk, presented by Northern Inyo Healthcare District in partnership with Renown Health of Reno, Nevada.
The talk is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 16, 6:30 p.m. at NIHD’s Birch Street Annex, 2957 Birch St., Bishop. Dr. Rowan’s topic will be “4,000 years of Cardiovascular Disease: How the study of mummies has change the way we think about our health.”
During his vacation weeks, Dr. Rowan is part of the Horus research team that travels around the world studying heart disease in mummies. To date the team has examined mummies in South America, Egypt, Europe, Greenland and Alaska, and is planning additional research trips to Italy and Chile this year.
Dr. Rowan specializes in Clinical Cardiology and is board-certified in Echocardiography. As part of Renown Health’s Institute for Heart and Vascular Health, he sees patients in Bishop at Dr. Nickoline Hathaway’s office on the NIHD campus.
The NIHD Healthy Lifestyle Talks are free and open to the public.
NIHD, BUHS DEVELOPING PARTNERSHIP FOR STUDENT HEALTH
By Seth Conners
According to Barbara Laughon at NIHD, a budding partnership between Northern Inyo Healthcare District and Bishop Union High School that could give students access to on-campus healthcare took center stage at Wednesday evening’s NIHD’s Board of Directors meeting.
An unexpected offering of thanks from BUHS Football Coach Arnie Palu set the tone for the evening. Speaking during the public comment session of the meeting, Palu offered thanks to the healthcare district and specifically Orthopedic doctors Mark Robinson and Richard Meredick, who for the past several seasons volunteered their time to serve as the team’s sideline doctors during home games.
“This is one of those services that we’ve had for so long that we get a bit complacent about how fortunate we are to have it,” Palu said. “But when we go to other schools and don’t have a sideline doctor, then we realize how great we have it here, so from all of us at Bronco Football, we publicly want to thank Drs. Robinson and Meredick and the District for their support.”
As for on-campus healthcare, NIHD’s Chief Executive Officer Kevin S. Flanigan, MD MBA, said BUHS and NIHD officials have been discussing an opportunity to develop a program that would place a certified healthcare provider on campus one or two days a week. Students could access the provider throughout those days for state-authorized healthcare issues.
While this already has been discussed at two different BUHS Board of Education meetings, this was the first time it came before the NIHD Board. After the meeting, Dr. Flanigan noted that this was a natural next step. “It is important to get board approval to move from the concept phase to the development phase,” he said.
BUHS Superintendent Barry Simpson told the NIHD Board that the school’s current healthcare clerk can do some things for the students, such as managing diabetes medications and providing First Aid.
“But the idea that we could actually have a healthcare professional on-site where our students can come on their turf and speak to the professional about those things that they are often too afraid or too nervous to talk to anyone else about is an exciting opportunity that we would want to support,” Simpson said.
Simpson noted the school board had made no final decision of any kind on this issue. “This is a big proposition for our community, and we want to do this slowly and make sure our parents are aware of the topics surrounding this idea.”
In an interview following Wednesday’s meeting, Dr. Flanigan said, “NIHD could not be more proud to build upon our mission statement of ‘One Team, One Goal, Your Health.’ Now as we build upon our teamwork with the school district, we gain the opportunity to improve healthcare access to our communities’ adolescents and therefore their health.”
Regular phone service will be unavailable Tuesday night at NIHD.
By Seth Conners
According to a press release from Barbara Laughon, Northern Inyo Healthcare District wants to make the public aware that in the night of Tuesday, Jan. 17 and the early morning hours of Wednesday, Jan. 18, the hospital’s phone system will be upgraded.
As a result, no incoming telephone calls or faxes will be received between 10 p.m. Tuesday and 6 a.m. Wednesday. Those seeking emergency health care may call 911 or come to NIH’s 24-hour Emergency Department.
This eight-hour outage is part of a planned upgrade to Northern Inyo Healthcare District’s telephone system. Those attempting to call NIH or its support services at that time will receive an “all circuits are busy” message.
NIHD will activate its Emergency Command Center during the outage to help coordinate necessary communications between patient care areas and hospital’s services including Cardiopulmonary, Laboratory, Diagnostic Imaging, Dietary, Environmental Services and Security.
NIHD’s Acting Chief Nursing Officer Tracy Aspel said the hospital took all precautions to assure continued life safety measures for those seeking care at NIH during the outage timeframe. “We do not anticipate any serious issues to arise from this outage, but if they do, we are prepared to act on them,” Aspel said. “We appreciate the support of our healthcare partners and, of course, our communities during this time.”
Robin Cassidy, NIHD’s Information Technology Director, noted that this upgrade is an important part of the District’s plan to keep current with technology so that the NIHD team can meet the expectations of our community members.
Board of directors gives ok to expand local offices.
By Seth Conners
According to Barbara Laughon at NIHD, Northern Inyo Healthcare Districts board of directors unanimously approved additional support staff for the Rural Health an Pediatrics Clinics during its November 16th board meeting. This expansion will improve efficiency at the clinics and allows NIHD to keep pace with recent growth at the clinics.
Dr. Kevin Flanigan, the districts CEO, said the move is an additional investment to improving patient access to health care.
Within the next six months, NIHD will hire up to four medical assistants, two registered nurses, plus a front office coordinator for the rural health clinic and an office/clinical coordinator for the Northern Inyo Associates Pediatrics Clinic.
Presently the two clinics, with a total of 13 providers, have between 20 to 24 support staff members at any given time, placing the clinics at roughly 60 percent of needed staffing.
Dr. Flanigan said not every position will be filled immediately, but the medical assistants roles are a priority.
The unbudgeted annual cost for the new is estimated to be between $390,000 and $550,00, depending on experience of the new hires. The move coincides with NIHD’s strategic plan, which calls for a focus on improving both patient and employee experience.