60 Seconds With Russ

60 Seconds With Russ: Advance Care Planning


Russ: As we talk about the Triple Aim, we talk about a number of things . . . we talk about the experience of the patient, lowering the cost of care and about how we take care of our community (population health). Today we are going to feature a subject known as advance directives and advance care planning. Dr. Sweeny and Laurie Oswalt here to talk about that. We know that advance directives and advance care planning just make it a better experience for the patient and a better experience for the families. With no further ado, I introduce to you Dr. Sweeny and Laurie Oswalt.

Laurie: We’re here to talk about advance care planning at Memorial and throughout our community. We have been talking a lot the last couple of years about advance care planning, advance directives, durable power of attorney and living wills. Not everybody is going to die from lung disease, heart disease, or cancer but we’re all going to die. So, why not have conversations about it? Our goal is to communicate with our community regarding Five Wishes, which is our version of an advance directive in Yakima. We want you to know all about advance directives for yourself and for your family and also so that you can work with our patients.

Dr. Sweeny: One of our core values is RESPECT and I think the issue about advance care planning focuses so much on respecting people’s wishes, not just at the end of life but as they go through life and the challenges that they have. We also talk about the Triple Aim – and our focus on advance care planning which cares for the population and it also gives us the chance to really change and improve the experience of our patients, family members, and even our own lives. Lastly, it’s clear that if we are thoughtful and respectful of what we wish to have as patients and what we as  families wish to have as patients, we’ll likely be able to give the right care at the right time. This includes the end of life – many people want to focus on their comfort as much as on technology, which may or may not always be painless and may not be want they want. This effort really is a community-wide effort and we believe in it so much. It isn’t about a little group of people who believe in advance care planning, it’s about us, the Memorial Family of Services, and all of us understanding for ourselves and for our families the value of this process.  And along with Laurie’s efforts, we embrace that with our community. So we can focus on looking at our lives as we go through life’s journey and at every twist and turn of the journey and that we are always respectful of what we and our family members want.

Laurie: We just learned recently that the WA State Hospital Association has created a task force so that every region (in WA State) will focus on 3 areas: Electronic health information exchange, consistent advance directive education and a consistent advance directive for each region. We realized we’ve already got all three. We are ahead of the game, leading the charge with this task force that WA State is directing us toward. Yay Memorial that we’re in front of what the state is also asking of every region. In order to get the word out to our entire community and make Yakima even better we’re asking for your help.

Dr. Sweeny: The partnership we will have with WSHA and the Gundersen Health System. . . is recognized for advance care planning and takes what we do and gives it much more energy and much more discipline in the way we convey it to the community. Our message to all of you is to be a partner with us as we embrace the concept. Be open to having those conversations both personally and with your own family members and lastly, help us to promote throughout the entire Family of Services to every patient that we interact with. We believe those conversations to talk about what we want and the respect that we need as we go through life’s journey and the importance of the partnership in this process. We can continue to talk about it at all levels of our care models.

Laurie: What you can do is attend an advance directive training. We have them monthly in the auditorium. You can get information on that via MEMO. We also advertise that regularly. We will also come to you, to your department for a staff meeting to train your staff on advance directives. We go throughout the community to many different groups and educate and we just want to get this word out and we want your help. Please come and learn about advance directives and how you can best serve your community and your family and yourself.

Thank you for the great care you take for all of our patients, for each other and we hope to see you soon in expanding this process.

For more information, contact Laurie by email or at 575-8035.

60 Seconds With Russ: Inspire BBQ


You inspire us!

Hi, I’m Ty Paxton from Communications and Marketing and I’m Lisa Hagreen from the Department of Human Potential and we are your Inspire committee. We were so thrilled with the awesome turn out this last weekend (Saturday) at Franklin Park. We had over 1500 employees and their families show up. It was a great appreciation party and we thank you for that. Lisa is going to talk a little bit more about what the Inspire program is, and also about the awards that were given out.

The Inspire program was born out of last year’s employee engagement survey. Our administration team heard your voice and heard that we don’t have a rewards and recognition program. So they partnered Ty and I together and we created the Inspire program.

At the BBQ, we had the opportunity to recognize some wonderful employees. We had 15 staff who have been with Memorial Family of Services for 40 or more years. In addition to that, the Inspire program includes two awards: Role Model Behavior award and Strategic Alignment Goal award. These people are nominated by their managers and then through a selection process were selected. We will be posting those employees who were selected to receive those awards on the Intranet next week.

Thanks again for showing up with your family last Saturday at Franklin Park for the Employee Inspire Appreciation BBQ. We look forward to having this annual event so if you were unable to come, and for those of you that did come, please tell your fellow employees about it. It will be bigger and better next year. Also be on the lookout for some Inspire giveaways.

Thank you!

60 Seconds With Russ: Bringing BBQ Back


Today was the first of our I’M IN sessions and you recall that I’M IN sessions are an opportunity for me as the CEO to talk with you about current events at Memorial. This particular time I’m talking about the Virginia Mason affiliation. Providing you with a little information and some perspective and what we can expect as next steps. Today we had well over 200 people in the auditorium and we look forward to seeing all of you. There are a number of sessions still scheduled throughout the next week. If you get a chance, please come! In addition to that I am going to some units and take our show to them often it’s difficult for you, as nurses and clinical staff, to get away. Some of those are scheduled as well. It’s great diaglogue and gives you a chance to ask some questions about what does a Virginia Mason affiliation mean to Memorial.

Secondly, I’d like to talk about some upcoming events in particular. On Saturday we’re holding our Memorial Family Picnic and BBQ for the first time in at least 10 years. It’s going to be a fun event! It has live music from Memorial employees, great food and activities and some awards to recognize individuals who have done a great job carrying out our strategic plan in the last year. We’re also going to recognize some individuals who have been at Memorial 40+ years. I hope you can attend and I hope you can bring your family members and visit with friends. Let’s honor each other for the great work that has occurred over the last year and still for the work that we have yet to do in the coming months.

60 Seconds With Russ: Yakima Urology Associates


Partnering for a Healthy Yakima

Hi, I’m Jim Aberle and today I’m here with Dr. Ray Merrell and we’re talking about a new partnership with Memorial Hospital and Yakima Urology Associates.

Dr. Merrell: Yes, we’re very excited about our new affiliation with Memorial Hospital. We can provide smoother patient care and patient coordination of the other care providers in town. As part of it, we’ll also be involved with Signal Health, which for the employees of Memorial Hospital gives them Tier 1 access to urology services here in Yakima, so we’re very excited about that.

Jim: We’ve been working over a year and a half on this partnership. It’s one that’s forged with a bright future – how do we sustain urology services in the Yakima Valley in the future, help us to achieve the Triple Aim (improve community health, improve the patient experience and reduce overall cost of care). We’re excited about the partnership with Yakima Urology Associates, we’ve had a great relationship over many decades in serving the community, YUA has served the community well and now we have a new partnership.

Dr. Merrell: You did a great job filling in for Russ today. They did ask me for a clean urology joke but I’m sorry folks, there just aren’t any.

60 Seconds With Russ: Teamwork in Action


One of the things that I’ve learned while rounding is that we really are a system and whatever happens in one place affects others throughout the organization. A couple of weeks ago I talked about what happened at North Star as they began to take on patients from Dr. Brady who is now retiring and I talked about the heroic efforts of North Star to take on 450 new patients. The one thing I neglected to do is really understand and recognize and communicate to you that it really took a system to do that. It took many other parts of the organization to successfully work through the transition of Dr. Brady’s 450 patients to Memorial. One of the areas I neglected to talk about was Infusion Care. Many of you may know or may not know, that Infusion Care does a number of chemotherapy infusions, many of them already for Dr. Brady. As part of what they also do, they provide 7-day a week care. Many of the infusions that are necessary for cancer care are 7 days a week. As North Star took on additional infusions so did Infusion Care. I wanted you all to know that and be aware that they, too, are a hero in this transition as we take care of the community patients that receive cancer care from Dr. Brady. Again, my apologies to Infusion Care, my apologies to all of you for missing out on that key component.

60 Seconds With Russ: Pharmacy Drug Benefit

Prescription Drug Pricing

Recently you received an email from Jolene Seda, our VP of People, talking about our pharmacy program or our prescription program. Jolene explained to you some regulatory changes and some government changes that will potentially affect some of you on what you pay for prescriptions. Following me today is Dr. Tanny Davenport who is a family physician at Family Medicine of Yakima but also our Chief Medical Officer for Signal Health who will explain to you some options you have or some ways to go about approaching your prescriptions if you actually experience a significant increase in your out-of-pocket costs.

Dr. Tanny: A lot of you might have some concerns about how this might affect your prescription drug program. The good news is that only 2% of Memorial employees will be affected by this change.

First Step: Go to the pharmacy and ask them if your drugs are being affected. If they are, it may be possible that the pharmacist can figure out a substitution that doesn’t require a prescription from a physician.

Second Step: Talk to your physician and see if there’s any formulary changes that can be made or a drug equivalent that can be used that’s less expensive to you.

Third Step: Talk to one of our Signal Health Care Coordinators and see if there are any prescription benefit programs that may allow you to get the medication at a discount.

If you happen to be one of the people affected by this change, please know that people from the Memorial Family of Services are here to help you.

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