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Remaining Focused on Improving Healthcare in our Community

Yuma hospital truthThank you for your patience and attention to the issues we’ve shared over the past week. At a minimum, we hope you now know there is definitely another side to this story. While we appreciate the chance to tell our side, we also commit to our patients and staff that addressing these issues will not distract us from our mission to serve the healthcare needs of our community.

We understand the historic relationship between YRMC (and even our predecessor, Parkview Baptist) and the Hospital District as well as anyone. The relationship between the Hospital District and the hospital for over the past 60 years has alternated between quiet and contentious, peaceful and stormy, calm and hostile. In the past, anytime someone wanted to stop progress or impede change at the hospital they would attend a District Board meeting, make some noise and the hospital would give in and compromise the needs of the patients to appease a vocal minority.

Most recently, the personal agendas of those attempting to impede YRMC's progress have come to light. Accusations that the board and CEO were wrong in addressing longtime well-known issues in the Emergency Department. The YRMC board and CEO spent years trying to resolve the issues with the previous provider group. Replacing the emergency provider group was long overdue.

Since that change was initiated, we have seen vast improvements in emergency care including: improved nurse retention in the now collaborative work environment, significantly fewer patient complaints with improved customer service, fewer air transfers to Phoenix and expanded pediatric care with the addition of board certified pediatric emergency physicians. Instead of criticizing leadership for bold changes to improve care, we believe it’s time to support even more improvements to care.

Change is not always easy and often not popular. A lack of popularity is not a ground to evict YRMC or leadership. Although we recognize that there will always be people who believe they could do things better, the results speak for themselves. We stand behind our decisions to make changes in the emergency department, add a medical residency, expand clinic locations and recruit more doctors – even when the decision is unpopular among those in our community who had business dealings or personal friendships at stake.

The YRMC Board has taken the position that it will not stop progress just because a few individuals do not want to see the hospital grow and improve services. Case and point, when YRMC wanted to start a medical residency program, they attempted to stop the YRMC Board from progressing forward with the program. They claimed it would hurt the community and that YRMC was not ready to deliver an enriched learning experience for doctors. However, the YRMC Board, after almost a year of meetings and evaluation, decided to move forward with the program. That same group of naysayers went to the District Board and attempted stop progress (the “if mom says no ask dad approach”). Now, fast-forward to today. Because the YRMC Board and leadership remained fully committed to improving access to care for the community, the YRMC Family and Community Medicine Residency Program has successfully graduated 35 resident family medicine physicians and one sports medicine fellowship trained physician, of which 12 chose to practice in Yuma. The program has also been granted the highest level of accreditation a residency program can achieve by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

These two examples, of many, demonstrate why the YRMC Board will no longer give in to rhetoric. Instead we will continue to evaluate opportunities using sound facts and research and will not be side tracked by a few self-serving individuals. Our community has experienced a shortage of healthcare professionals for years.

Our board is focused on these key objectives:

  1. Expanding access to care, which means attracting and retaining top medical professionals.

  2. Continually enhancing clinical quality and always improving.

  3. Creating an environment where employees have the opportunity to develop and grow professionally and to actively engage in real solutions to sometimes age old challenges.

The pattern of making noise and stopping progress has to end. It is not healthy, and it poses the risk of distracting the hospital from its main mission to serve the community. It is time for the community to take a stand to support YRMC’s mission and determination to be a quality, modern, 21st century health system. We make no claim that we are perfect, or have the answers to every question or problem that confronts us. We are open to legitimate and honest criticism. This is one of the ways we will be able to provide better care. In the meantime, we will continue to deliver quality care to our families, neighbors and community as best we can.