In a unique new section in the Port Townsend Leader, reporter Allison Arthur interviewed the CEO of Jefferson Health Care, Mike Glenn. Mr. Glenn answered questions about changes over the years to JHC, the addition of much needed physicians to the mix, employee new hires, the creation of the women’s clinic, and financial viability of the hospital district among other topics.
Missing from the interview was any mention of the community actions behind JHC successes. Glenn states, “Our Women’s Clinic was the result of Jane Albee and several primary care providers who identified the need.” While I’m sure that Ms. Albee (ARNP) helped identify the need, there has been an active group of mainly women in this community that has had to push JHC to make this clinic a reality. The Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) and Community Health Assessment (CHA) that was done in the last 10 years, included over 100 community members (including Mr. Glenn and many employees of JHC). The CHA identified women’s health needs in their assessment, as Mr. Glenn knows. Also, the latest sliding scale pricing that the hospital put into practice, which is very commendable, came about from a committee composed of both hospital staff and community members and was formed in reaction to outside public pressure on JHC to change their charity care process.
Speaking of the CHIP and the CHA, Mr. Glenn did not mention that there is a newly hired person to run the next CHA and update the CHIP. Ms. Ewers-Garcia, who was hired jointly by the city, public health and JHC is just now starting up another community health assessment. Mr. Glenn might have mentioned that in the article as it was an opportunity to get the community involved again.
Mr. Glenn mentioned that since 2015 they have added 29 providers, yet failed to mention that in public meetings this reporter has attended, Mr. Glenn identified turnover as the biggest single problem in the hospital. It’s hard to understand whether this number was actually net new hires, or simply replacing outgoing staff. Certainly we are seeing a few new providers in the new walk in clinic, and that’s commendable.
This hospital district is somewhat unique, in that it’s a public hospital, owned by the community. The community is very much involved in guiding (and sometimes pushing) the hospital district and it’s commissioners in a direction that answers needs. It’s worth remembering that Mr. Glenn’s salary is about $60,000 more than the governor of the state, and while we are happy overall with his performance, seeing improvements to the hospital facility, a dedication to opening new clinics and the like, it’s important to note that JHC is often pricing these services at much higher rates than competing facilities in Silverdale and Seattle, and as such, if you need services, have a high deductible and are not in an emergency situation, you should shop around.