Roche realistic about challenges for WCMH PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 25 March 2009 08:07

by G. Wright
Staff Writer
Green Banner Publications

Joseph Roche, Interim Chief Executive Officer for Washington County Memorial Hospital (WCMH), met with reporters from local newspapers Tuesday morning, March 24. The Michigan native talked about his professional background of nearly a quarter century in hospital administration, eleven of which has been with Saint Vincent Health. For the last nine years, Roche has served as CEO and Administrator for Saint Vincent, Jennings County. Much of his expertise has come from working with hospitals experiencing financial and organizational problems similar to those currently being encountered by WCMH.

Roche spoke of how hospitals, be they non-profit or for profit operations, have a unique relationship with their communities and customers unlike most other businesses or institutions. “I believe that for those of us who work in the business, we do so not just because it's a paycheck or a way or maximizing shareholders' value, but it's a calling about serving the people of our community—our friends, neighbors, family.” explained Roche. “At Saint Vincent's there is kind of a great connection between my personal faith journey and the mission of the organization.”

In response to a question of how he will draw on his experience to address the issues of the financial status of the hospital and the lack of community confidence in the hospital, Roche was quick to point to the Saint Vincent Health organization and its economy of scale as well as the commitment to and experience with community hospitals as one of the strongest assets he will draw upon to deal with those pressing issues. “It is not unusual for a small, community hospital to find itself in this set of circumstances.” he said, “The challenges in health care today are tremendous. In North Vernon in 2000 we were in a very similar situation where the ability to sustain our operations was questionable. There was a commitment by the Saint Vincent organization to put a team in place in North Vernon to change the way we took care of patients.”

Roche went on to say that in his experience, too often a small hospital will try to offer too many services and end up not doing a very good job at any of those tasks. He further noted that trying to provide all the services needed by a community, though well intended, does not always serve the community in the best way. “If a hospital will focus on what it does well, then a community's faith in that hospital eventual is restored—it takes time to restore a good reputation or change a bad one.” said Roche.

When asked if part of his mission as Interim CEO is to shepherd the process of transitioning WCMH from a county hospital to some sort of an affiliation with Saint Vincent Health, Roche answered in the affirmative. However, Roche emphasized that research and study are ongoing by Saint Vincent toward determining just what kind of affiliation would be best, or possibly deciding that some sort of partnership between the two organizations is not in their best interest. Roche characterized the current relationship as a “work in progress.”

Responding to a question about how much of an obstacle is WCMH's current financial situation to an affiliation with Saint Vincent, Roche said that, only being on the job for two days, he is in the process of evaluating the financial condition of WCMH and therefore could not give a definitive answer at this time.

Addressing a question about what he does when not working, Roche smiled and spoke of being an avid golfer and an amateur pilot. The father of two grown sons and grandfather times three also admits to being an equipment manager/carrier for his wife, who is a photographer.

Returning to the subject of his role with WCMH, Roche said that he sees the dedicated employees and medical staff as a core upon which to build. He commented that even facing the difficult challenges of recent years, they still remain committed to the community.

The issue of money owed to local vendors was also posed to Roche. He said that the issue is more than just money owed, it has to do with the community confidence as well. Saying that he would like to get another week or so under his belt before he spoke in specifics, he did go on to say that from a philosophical standpoint as it applies to finance, “the hospital must be viable. When you pay your bills, it means your a viable organization. At this point, I don't know what the answer will be.” He went on to say that cash flow issues resulting from problems with billing are being addressed.

The rest of the interview had to do with issues of transparency regarding finances, personnel issues, and the Purdue HTAP Survey. Roche admitted that opportunities exist for the hospital to do a better job of keeping the public informed about both the good and bad at WCMH and vowed to make that one of changes he looks to institute during his expected six to twelve month tenure.

 
Salem Common Council meeting PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 19 March 2009 00:00
    The Salem Common Council met in regular session on Tuesday, March 10 will all members except “Pete” Brown present; Brown is recovering from back surgery.  The minute of previous meetings, payroll, and all claims were aproved unanimously.
    The following items were addressed by the Council and the Mayor:
Mayor David Bower presented several Certificates of Appreciation to various individuals and organizations.
Financial Statement for February, 2009 and the repayment of two temporary loans from 2008.
Last Updated on Thursday, 19 March 2009 10:23
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FAA hears from citizens about new airport project PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 19 March 2009 00:00
    On Monday evening, March 9, the Salem Municipal Airport Board of Aviation Commissioners (BOAC) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) hosted a public meeting for the purpose of gathering input from the public on the proposed airport project.  Several information stations were available for citizens to ask questions and make comments.  The event drew approximately fifty people.  When given a opportunity to make comments in front of the gathered crowd, only two people spoke out against the project while no one spoke in favor of it.  Those comments were recorded and will be transcribed in preparation to be forwarded to the FAA for evaluation
    Citizens were also given the opportunity to submit written comments as well.  The nature of those written comments were not made available.
Last Updated on Thursday, 19 March 2009 10:25
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Partnership makes Purdue HTAP Survey public PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 19 March 2009 00:00
    On Tuesday, March 10, the Washington County Economic Growth Partnership (WCEGP) held a news conference at the Community Learning Center for the express purpose of making public the results of the much awaited Purdue University Healthcare Technical Assistance Program (HTAP) survey for Washington County Memorial Hospital (WCMH).  The meeting was attending by Randy Lindauer and Dr. Stephen Kempker representing WCMH, Jerry Rose and Jess Helsel of WCEGP, Rebecca Marshall and Mark Hobson of the Salem Urban Enterprise Zone Board, Commissioner Lana Sullivan, County Council member Dr. Mark Manship and members of the press.
    After Helsel gave a brief history of how the HTAP process for WCMH came to be, he said that the community's concerns about the results and the delay on the part of WCMH to release the report were the motivating factors for the WCEGP to make the HTAP information public.  At that point, Rose handed out copies of the survey to everyone in attendance.  Helsel noted that additional copies would be available for public viewing at the hospitial, the Salem Public Library, Pekin Town Hall and Campbellsburg Town Hall.  For a summary story of the HTAP survey and results, go to www.gbpnews.com.
Last Updated on Thursday, 19 March 2009 10:22
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Dablow will bring enthusiasm to Eastern football as he takes on new head coach position PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 19 March 2009 00:00
    John Dablow was named Head Varsity football coach at the recent East Washington School Board meeting held on Tuesday, March 10.
    Dablow is currently in his third year of teaching at Eastern High and is currently track coach.  Dablow graduated from New Albany High School in 1994 and graduated from Hanover College  in 1998. While in high school he played football for the Bulldogs and also played for Hanover College.  After graduating from Hanover he began teaching at Southport Middle School and them moved to Perry Meridian High School near Indianapolis.
    While at Southport he was assistant football coach for middle school students and while at Perry Meridian he became assistant varsity coach along with assistant track coach.
    “This is a lifelong dream to be a head coach. I thought it would be a unique opportunity that other coaches do not get with early stages of a program, being here is very fortunate.” stated Dablow.
Last Updated on Thursday, 19 March 2009 10:27
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