Meza named to state committee
Casey Meza, CEO, of St. Mary's and Clearwater Valley Hospitals was recently named by Governor Jim Risch to serve on the statewide Healthcare Information Technology and Quality Improvement Committee.  Other members include representatives from Casey MezaSt. Luke’s and St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Centers in Boise and Kootenai Medical Center in Coeur d’Alene.
The committee will meet on a monthly basis to discuss both health related technology and service improvement issues.  Both facilities introduced a new QI program last year which takes national and state indicators including patient safety, employee safety, patient education, obstetric services, discharge planning, dietary planning and compares them with CVHC and SMHC practices.  Steps are then taken to improve the related service.  Results from the newly initiated patient satisfaction survey program will also be incorporated in the quarterly QI reports.
“I am honored to be selected especially because the other members of the committee are from larger hospitals in the state’s biggest cities.  Our local hospitals have initiated both a quality improvement program and are implementing state-of-the-art information technology in a variety of areas,” said Meza.  “It is very unusual for hospitals and clinics of our size to have electronic medical records.  Only ten percent of facilities, nationwide, have EMRs.  We’re really ahead of the curve, but we felt it was important for our patients, especially considering the distance between many of our facilities.  Patient records can be sent over the phone lines along with X-rays and other medical images.  It means instant access to vital information.”
CVHC and SMHC are currently initiating various modules of the Meditech software system.  Electronic Medical Records or EMRs should be initiated in 2007.  Although the hospitals’ CT scans are currently digitized, grants and other funding sources will help underwrite the equipment costs for digitizing other radiology images.  “We’re close to having all our images digitized which means we can send them over the phone lines to radiologists around the world for immediate reads,” said Meza.
CVHC and SMHC purchased the Meditech software system from the Boston based company last year.  The pharmacy and lab modules are currently being phased in which means prescriptions and lab results will automatically be part of the patient’s EMR.  “We were fortunate to have the two hospitals partnered because we could purchase the software for both facility systems for the price of one,” said Meza.  “Both facilities will be able to share some of the equipment for the radiology digitizing process which will also conserve funds.”

Pippenger named BHS Trustee of the Year
Lee Pippenger was recently named Trustee of the Year by the Benedictine Health System based in Duluth, Minnesota.   She served on the Clearwater Valley Hospital board for three years and has served on the joint board for CVHC and St. Mary's Hospital since 1998.  Both hospitals are members of BHS.  The award will be presented this week at the Annual Trustee Banquet in Minneapolis.Lee Pippenger
Pippenger was also named the Idaho  Hospital Association Trustee of the Year.  That award will be presented at their annual convention in Sun Valley in October.
During her term the hospitals have received three federal appropriations and grant funds totaling close to $3.5 million.  They’ve initiated a Meditech software system that will generate electronic medical records and purchased a CT scanner for each facility.  CVHC constructed a new 4 bay Emergency Room and opened an additional satellite PT clinic.  Both hospitals have seen an expansion of payroll from approximately $5 million to over $12 million.  SMHC received the ‘Brightest Star Award’ from the state of Idaho and ‘Top 100 Hospital’ designation.  They recently purchased non tribal land in Kamiah for possible future development.  Both facilities have seen an increase in total clinic visits from around 40,000 in 2002 to over 45,000 in 2005.
BHS was formed in 1985 to help oversee the hospitals and long term care facilities established in Minnesota by the Benedictine Sisters beginning in the late 1880s.  They currently administer 50 facilities in nine states.
“Lee has certainly been a boon to our board,” said Casey Meza, CEO.  “She truly considers what is best for the people of the region whenever strategic decisions must be made.  Both IHA and BHS recognized her role in developing the partnership between our two hospitals and how it has benefited the patients we serve.” 

Cottonwood, Idaho 83522



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