CEO: Hospital knows how to provide value, satisfaction to patients

The old hospital on Adamsville Road is undergoing a complete transformation to become the new Florence Community Healthcare.

“We’ll have probably the most state-of-the-art physical infrastructure in the state of Arizona when we get finished in January. And we will have the most up-to-date technologies, eda completely paperless environment,” Dr. Edward McEachern, CEO of parent company Initiatives Healthcare, told a lunchtime audience of Florence Chamber of Commerce members and guests Tuesday.

McEachern said he and his associates have also learned a lot about serving patients over the last 25 years.

“We know how to deliver better, faster and more cost-effective care than I think just about anybody else in the world and we have the data to prove it.”

One of their guiding principals is an industry concept known as “EBM2D,” short for evidence-based medicine, evidence-based management and evidence-based design.

They’ve studied what makes patients pleased with a hospital. They closely watch how well they do, and management receives monthly report cards on what needs improvement. Interestingly, they’ve found that it truly is the little things that count.

“We learned … if you had problems with parking, with wait times, or pain, [the hospital doesn’t] even get evaluated on how well you listen to patients. The two things that people brag about — or recommend or return to hospitals about — have nothing to do with what I went to medical school for,” McEachern said.

“We have about 55 physician-investors in our hospital here that participate with us. … We learned over the years if you have physicians integrated in your management structure it makes it easier as you make decisions about value and outcomes.

“We also know that design matters. Efficient personnel use means timely and effective care. If you do the right thing right the first time and only once, it’s better, faster and cheaper. It’s pretty simple. … What’s important is the ability to take technology that’s world-class and cutting-edge, and deploy it into a community that offers value unsurpassed.”

The hospital hopes to open its first phase before the end of the year.

Renovation and construction have already created 60 jobs in the community. Initiatives Healthcare has invested $12 million in Florence to date and expects to have invested $18 million by year’s end, McEachern said.

The company expects to hire 220 people and is now taking applications at 440 N. Main St (the Silver King Hotel).

Initiatives further intends to put some of the hospital’s profits into a foundation which will make matching grants for health care job development in Florence.

Initiatives started in 1999 doing work in Sweden in a rural area near the Arctic circle. The company continues to work there and in other places such as Kuala Lumpur, Botswana, Ireland, Finland and Norway, McEachern said.

Another division of the company works to create hospitals and health-delivery systems for universities. A third division brings health care to communities like Florence, McEachern said.

He said the Florence hospital will provide “world class care,” yet it won’t presume “to be all things for all people.” When something can be done better in a university hospital setting, Initiatives has the relationships to secure that care, McEachern said.

The company first started looking at a facility in Florence more than six years ago.

“It was pretty clear when we started coming here six years ago that there was a strong need for a hospital and other health-delivery mechanisms.

“And we fell in love with the community. … It has a lot of charm to it. I think a lot of people who live here really do appreciate it. I grew up in small towns. I understand what’s going on.”

Next month, it will be 10 years since the former Central Arizona Medical Center on Adamsville Road closed.