GRAFTON—Big changes are planned at Grafton City Hospital under the leadership of a new Interim President and Chief Administrative Officer and through a partnership with Mon Health Systems.
A few months ago, it was announced that Grafton City Hospital came to an affiliation agreement with Mon Health Systems, a partnership that would bring growth to the hospital.
“Back on September 16, we announced our affiliation with Mon Health, and we want residents to understand that it is not acquisition or a merger,” shared George Boyles, Grafton City Hospital Interim President and Chief Administrative Officer. “The intent is that Grafton City Hospital will remain an independent hospital.”
Boyles joined the staff at the hospital in October, but is no stranger to small, local hospitals or the area.
He grew up in Fairmont, and in his later years, has made a living breathing life back into community hospitals. In fact, as Mercer Health’s Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, he brought a $24 million building project in under budget and ahead of schedule.
Boyles shared that he is looking forward to helping Grafton City Hospital expand and flourish.
Grafton City Hospital, owned by the city, is a critical access hospital with 25 beds to keep patients overnight. Boyles noted that with any good critical access hospital, they needed to find a good strategic partner to work with.
According to President and Chief Executive Officer of Mon Health System, David Goldberg, after conversations with Representative David McKinley, talks began between the two entities.
“Mon Health was not in a position to add a fourth hospital, but business-wise, we were able to help out,” he noted. “We want to help keep Grafton City viable and sustainable, while providing high quality health services.”
He said that the partnership would help Grafton City Hospital’s financial situation, which in turn, would help the hospital to strengthen the services that could be offered to its patients.
According to Goldberg, through their affiliation with Mon Health, Grafton would be able to purchase supplies and insurance at a deeper discount.
“If we are able to spend less on supplies, that money can be better used in other areas of the hospital,” he added.
Both men shared that the money saved in those transactions could be invested in the hospital, its staff and the community.
“We wanted to do something to help keep people closer to home and provide services to them that as of right now, they are having to travel out of town for,” Boyles said.
Goldberg shared that right now, they are working to enhance those services by possibly adding cardiology services, as well as oncology and women’s health, just to name a few.
The specialty clinics would be open for business a couple days a month, to allow residents to receive top care right in their community. It is their hope that the first of the clinics will be ready to see patients as early as mid-to-late January or early February.
“We would love to have the support of the community,” shared Boyles. “Great things are already happening here at the hospital. You can see the excitement on the faces of our employees.”
Goldberg revealed that through the affiliation, they have already begun to work on increasing the morale of the staff, improving the look of the building and continuing to grow their census numbers.
“The census, or number of patients the hospital has, has gone up drastically in the past couple of months,” he commented. “In fact, recently we have seen the highest numbers for the hospital in the past 18 months.”
He shared that it was the desire of both parties to maybe help address the school nurse issues the county is facing, which would help bring healthcare on a basic level to the area’s youth.
“Healthcare is different in 2019 versus 10 years ago,” he noted. “Our goal at Mon Health is to provide the right level of care, at the right price, at the right time. We want to make sure we are doing the right thing always one patient at a time.”
Boyles too believes in building up the services of smaller hospitals, and he hopes to see Grafton City Hospital flourish once more.
“I have a passion for small hospitals. I believe if you give it attention, and have a good, solid approach and a plan, a smaller hospital can survive in today’s climate,” he shared.
Grafton City Hospital Board President John Bord noted that the affiliation with Mon Health Systems has been a great partnership thus far, and it will only become better in the future.
“They are extremely progressive and are going to do great things for Taylor County,” he voiced. “George has been fantastic in his role as Interim President, and David has contacted me each week to share updates about things they have already accomplished and what they would like to see added.”
Changes are not going to happen overnight, but all three men are excited for what is to come in the future.
“I would say within the next six months, residents and patients will see some changes starting to take place, and we are all very excited,” Boyles noted.