CPGH Inc. adds funds for program

Posted: Sunday, October 10, 2004

The Central Peninsula General Hospital Inc. board of directors agreed to put up $10,000 to help the Community Action Coalition obtain a $25,000 matching grant for the Communities That Care program.

The CTC program is aimed at reducing risk behaviors in youth of the central Kenai Peninsula in order to decrease the use of alcohol and drugs among school-age kids.

The Community Action Coalition was born out of the Kenai Peninsula's Prescription Drug Task Force, launched in response to a noted disproportionate use of prescription drugs, especially OxyContin, by peninsula residents.

Drug manufacturer Purdue Pharma, a maker of OxyContin, offered the $25,000 grant to help implement the CTC program, with the stipulation that the community find an equal amount in matching funds.

The CTC program is sponsored by the Channing Bete company.

In addition to the $10,000 approved by the CPGH Inc. board, the Community Action Coalition has received $15,000 from the Alaska Mental Health Trust.

CTC is designed to help communities promote positive development of children and prevent adolescent problem behavior, including substance abuse, delinquency, teen pregnancy, school dropout and violence.

In other board action, directors approved a $30,000 contract with Press, Ganey Associates Inc. for patient satisfaction survey services.

According to CPGH Chief Executive Officer David Gilbreath, the contract replaces one the hospital had with AVATAR and is expected to provide faster and better feedback at a lower cost.

The surveys help the hospital assess the quality of services received by patients and help identify areas of customer service not meeting established goals.

"Press, Ganey is in use in 40 percent of the hospitals in the country," Gilbreath said. "AVATAR is only in 4 percent."

Gilbreath also said the Press, Ganey service carries an annual cost of $30,700 compared to $35,000 for AVATAR.

Press, Ganey will report patient survey results to CPGH within a month of mailing the survey to the patient. AVATAR provided results two months after the patient left the hospital.

The board of directors also agreed to switch its Lifeline monitoring system to a nationally centralized provider, rather than having Lifeline alarms ring in the hospital's emergency department.

"The volume of Lifeline units is at 164 now and is growing," Gilbreath said. "Factoring in false alarms, ED is getting several calls throughout the day.

"Monitoring will now be done by Lifeline Systems Inc.," he said.

"Providence (Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage) switched to centralized monitoring about a year ago with great success and said they will never go back."

Lifeline is a subscription alert system used by many older patients, cardiac patients and people with debilitating diseases.

When trouble arises, the patient triggers an alarm that sends an ambulance to their location automatically.

"The switch to centralized monitoring should be invisible to the patient," Gilbreath said.

He also reported on progress with the planned installation of a new Magnetic Resonance Imaging machine at CPGH.

The new 1.5 Tesla MRI, which will replace an older 1.0 model, will provide better images, enable breast imaging and allow some new cardiac imaging when that procedure is approved by the Food and Drug Administration, according to Doug Wehrli, director of imaging for CPGH.

He said the biggest advantage of the new MRI is customer-patient satisfaction.

"The bore is shorter, so the claustrophobic feeling for the patient is lessened as they go in," Wehrli said.

The hospital also will purchase state-of-the-art nuclear medicine equipment in the next couple of months that will enhance cardiac diagnostic imaging capabilities, Gilbreath said.

The new $323,000 piece of equipment "creates incredible cardiac images," according to Wehrli.

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