A year of integration: A look back, while plans firm up for the future
"This year has gone very quickly," says Richard D'Aquila, president and COO, when asked about his thoughts on the integration of two hospitals which has forged a 1,541- bed hospital that is now among the largest in the U.S.
Richard D'Aquila and the Saint Raphael Campus site team have worked hard over the past year to successfully integrate both campuses. Standing (l-r) are: Paul Patton, vice president, Administration; Abe Lopman, senior vice president, operations, Yale-New Haven Hospital and executive director, Smilow Cancer Hospital; D'Aquila; and Michael Holmes, senior vice president, operations, SRC, and chief integration officer. Seated (l-r) are: Cindy von Beren, executive director, Catholic Heritage/Cultural Integration; Vincent Tammaro, vice president, Finance; and Ena Williams, RN, vice president, Patient Services, and associate chief nursing officer, SRC. Peter Herbert, MD, chief medical officer, was unavailable for the photo.
"We integrated this hospital without a hitch because we had excellent support and planning from employees on both campuses — planning that began even while we were still in the regulatory approval phase," recalls D'Aquila. "Because of thoughtful preparation, this complicated integration went smoothly and we were able to do what we said we were going to do: convert payrolls, pay bills, bill patients for care, and secure appropriate supplies for patient care on day one."
Last month, the hospital celebrated the achievements of its now 12,000 employees who were involved in major hospital initiatives, including:
- Achieving rankings for YNHH and YNHCH in U.S. News & World Report;
- Passing The Joint Commission extension survey and preparing for additional licensure site visits;
- Implementing Epic on both campuses; and
- Safely and effectively caring for patients as caregivers consistently treat record numbers at YNHH.
As proud as D'Aquila is of progress in the past year, his sight is clearly fixed on where the hospital is going. The proposed destination musculoskeletal center planned for the Saint Raphael Campus is the hospital's next major development. To prepare for the center, the Verdi 4 North Unit is being totally renovated and will begin to accept orthopedic patients in early 2014. In addition, SRC operating rooms will be renovated so the campus can begin to accept additional and more complex spine and orthopedic cases in advance of the center being built. A national search is under way for the center's medical director.
"Smilow — where physicians function without regard to discipline or department to do what's best for the patient — provides an excellent footprint for what we want to accomplish in our musculoskeletal center," explained D'Aquila. "As Americans age, the need for spine and orthopedics care is estimated to be three times greater than the need for oncology care in this country. Creating this oneof- a-kind center will harness our strengths — including our capacity for groundbreaking translational research — so we can get people back to full function."
In addition to orthopedics, rheumatology, neurosurgery and movement disorders, the center will create a section of rehabilitation engineering which is the science of devices and technology that will replace limbs and support ambulation of the paralyzed.
"Musculoskeletal is the next frontier of medicine and developing and building this comprehensive center will help us continue to deliver exceptional, innovative patient care all in one place," said D'Aquila. "Our goal is to return patients to productive lives after massive trauma, degenerative disease or amputation."
On the Saint Raphael Campus, D'Aquila also points to future plans to renovate and upgrade inpatient units while simultaneously expanding a regional network of ambulatory services favoring outpatient care.
But future plans bring D'Aquila back to what has made the past year of integration with the Saint Raphael Campus such a success: the employees who work for Yale-New Haven. "Yale-New Haven is not about bricks and mortar — although that's where we deliver our care. It still comes back to finding, training and retaining skilled and dedicated employees who work tirelessly and with compassion to help patients recover from illness and trauma."