Dr. Steven Wolinsky, far left, holds up a resolution in his honor with the help of Phoebe Putney Health System CEO Joel Wernick as it is read aloud by John Culbreath, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital’s board chair, far right, on Wednesday.
ALBANY, Ga. — Following up on a report that surfaced this week which gave Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital unfavorable marks, hospital officials took another opportunity during a Wednesday board meeting to say that their patients will be cared for in a safe environment.
Officials also acknowledged changes coming to the hospital’s staff during the meeting, noting that Dr. Steven Wolinsky, who has been serving as the president of Phoebe’s medical staff for the last two years — which earned him a spot on the hospital’s board in representation of its medical staff — is stepping down from the position this month.
Wolinsky was recognized for his service at the board’s last regularly scheduled meeting of the year. Phoebe officials said that Wolinsky, a cardiologist, will be replaced on the board by Dr. Steve Kitchen, an obstetrician/gynecologist, at the beginning of 2013.
The position cycles every two years.
Also announced at the meeting was news that Dr. Tom Hilsman — a family medicine physician — has joined Phoebe Physician Group, and urologists Drs. Stephen Allen and Kelvin Lane have been brought into Phoebe Urology Associates.
Hilsman will maintain his office on Dawson Road as Phoebe Primary Care. Phoebe Urology Associates is located in Medical Tower 1 of the hospital’s main campus on West Third Avenue.
In addition to its business on the agenda, more attention was paid to a review recently released by The Leapfrog Group that gave Phoebe an “F” grade on factors related to patient safety.
“When scores come out that are positive, we deal with it. When the scores come out as negative, we deal with it,” said Dr. Doug Patten, senior vice president of medical affairs at Phoebe. “We will work with them (Leapfrog) to make sure our grades are better.”
Patten re-emphasized that, because of the developments made at Phoebe over the last three years, the score is not reflective of the current state of the hospital.
“Two years ago, we decided that we would not stop (with developments and improvements) until we are a Top 10 percent hospital,” Patten said. “Even then we won’t stop, because there is always room for improvement.
“It’s important the public be assured that they will be cared for at a safe environment (at Phoebe).”
Patten specifically pointed to the implementation of “smart” IV pumps, establishing the presence of pharmacists on every unit and the progress made on
the incidence rate of central line infections — something Phoebe had been poorly rated on several months ago.
Instead of having two or three central line infections in a month, some units have now gone more than 200 days without an infection, Patten said.
The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Score website explains that the marks used in its report were calculated under the guidance of a nine-member Leapfrog Blue Ribbon Expert Panel of patient safety experts that selected 26 measures of publicly available hospital safety data — specifically from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Hospital Compare site, the 2012 Leapfrog Hospital Survey, and American Hospital Association data from 2009 and 2010 — analyzed the data, and then determined the weight of each measure based on evidence, opportunity for improvement and impact.
Hospital Safety Score places each measure into one of two domains: process/structural measures or outcome measures. Each was weighted at 50 percent of the overall score, according to www.hospitalsafetyscore.org.
The board’s Wednesday agenda initially called for a vote on a technical correction on a property deed for land on the 300 block of First Avenue. That action was postponed until the board’s January meeting.