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CPGH moving in new direction

Posted: Monday, July 14, 2003

Central Peninsula General Hospital hopes to improve its services by directing more focus to its patients. In so doing, hospital officials have aligned the facility with an organization that specializes in promoting patient-centered care.

The CPGH Inc. board of directors, the governing body for the nonprofit organization that manages the borough-owned hospital, voted unanimously to enter into a three-year agreement with the National Planetree Alliance to become an affiliate, effective Tuesday.

The three-year agreement will cost the hospital $28,500 each year to cover a $12,000 annual membership fee and $16,500 in prepaid consultation fees.

Should the hospital continue membership beyond the initial contract, the consultation fees will drop to $5,000 per year.

"It takes a while to change the whole culture of an organization," said hospital spokesperson Bonnie Nichols.

Planetree is a nonprofit health care organization dedicated to "demystifying, humanizing and personalizing" the health care experience for patients and families, according to Planetree literature. The Planetree Alliance consists of more than 70 affiliates around the nation. Rather than offering management services, the organization provides education on the changing face of health care and the changing expectations of the individuals its affiliates serve.

"It is no secret to professionals and lay people alike that our health care system is in chaos and undergoing a major transformation," said Planetree Executive Director Susan Frampton. "Planetree's patient-centered model of care supports and nurtures healing on all levels, and is an idea whose time has come.

"The growth of the Planetree Alliance is very exciting because Central Peninsula General Hospital has expressed and demonstrated a strong desire and commitment to incorporate the Planetree philosophy of care into their facility. Planetree can serve as a catalyst in helping reshape the health care system in a way that is more therapeutically and financially efficacious, sensitive and responsive to the health consumer."

One essential improvement Nichols said the hospital anticipates is a reduction in staff turnover, which results in costly retraining of new employees.

"We've got a 20-percent employee turnover rate," she said. "We're hoping that we can use their mentoring in employee satisfaction.

"Their hospitals have lower turnover rates in very competitive markets, they have documented higher employee satisfaction scores, and their flagship hospital in Griffin, Conn., was selected as one of Fortune's 100 Best Places to Work."

The Planetree philosophy strives to change the way patients and their families experience traditional health care and is committed to improving medical care from the patient's perspective. Patients and families are empowered, and with access to information, they can become more active participants in decisions affecting their health and well-being.

Many affiliates have Planetree Health Resource Centers open to the community that offer electronic, print and audio-video health and medical information on a wide range of topics, including complementary therapies and support groups.

Nichols said an assessment group will be formed from hospital staff to determine what needs the facility will have in relation to the Planetree model.

Board members said they hope the planned hospital expansion will dovetail with the incorporation of Planetree principles.

"We feel that this is an ideal time for our organization to create a more patient-focused culture and to look for ways to make the patient's hospital experience better and more personalized," said Steve Hoog-land, CPGH Inc. board president and chair of the board's quality committee.



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