Kudos to ARH staff for listening

Published 12:20 am Saturday, February 7, 2015

I was excited to read this morning about the new CEO tapped to serve Andalusia Regional Hospital. I would like to take this opportunity to thank interim CEO, Stephen Seltzer for his service and many of the positive changes I have seen during his appointment here like recent renovations including new windows and welcoming first floor remodel. But more importantly, I am impressed with changes like the patient focus group that met on Jan. 30, 2015. Under the direction of ARH patient advocate, Stephanie Bulger, LBSW, other patients and I were able to speak candidly about our personal experience or the patient experience of family members.

Interested in participating?  Here’s how.

My father, a 20-plus year cancer survivor, depended on Andalusia Regional Hospital when his immune system became compromised by the effects of daily living. He passed away at ARH in 2013 during one of these episodes, but during his life, he was such a frequent visitor he became known as the “candy man” to hospital staff since he always had candy in a bowl to brighten the day of those helping him heal. A member of our family was with him to witness the good, the bad, and the ugly of the daily running of a local hospital. In January, my mother had a short stay when she caught the flu.

What first surprised me about this focus group was the attendance. It was not just a couple of department heads who attended. It was EVERY department head. When they said they were serious about “listening” to patients, they meant at every level and in every department. Frankly, I don’t know of any other company willing to receive constructive criticism in such an open manner. While some of the patient stories were painful to listen to, you felt like you were in a room full of people intent on making future patient stays a positive one. Every department from the ER to the lab to dietary, asked questions to better serve the patient constituency of Covington County. I must applaud the willingness of the patients who spoke honestly about their experiences and the professional commitment from the leadership at ARH to make this hospital the place “patients choose to come, physicians choose to practice, and people choose to work.”


Kristy Shuford White