More Updates from Grady CEO

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Over on APN is a story about a meeting held last week in East Atlanta at the First Iconium Baptist Church between Grady Health System CEO Michael Young, his staff, and about 30 activists, mainly representing the Grady Coalition.

Below are some more revelations from the meeting that we did not include in the APN story.

For example, Young said The Joint Commission, which accredits and certifies thousands of health care organizations in the United States, visited Grady unannounced two weeks ago and toured the stroke center.

The center received zero recommendations out of a possible 300 or a perfect score, in other words.

Near the end of the meeting, the discussion evolved into a general debate about the nature of the healthcare industry. When one audience member said he favored a single-payer approach, Young said he favors the same. Very interesting.

One development Young seemed quite proud of was Grady’s ability to, in less than one year, replace 165 rental nurses with 330 recruited nurses. What this means is instead of renting nurses who have no loyalty to Grady, the system now has a much larger nursing staff under long-term contracts with Grady. Not only did Grady get more nurses, Young noted, but the system will be able to retain its nurses longer.

An important goal Grady is trying to reach: putting all medical records into electronic form in 15 months. This, Young said, will reduce wasteful and redundant paper records, reduce mistakes, decrease wait times, and generally save the hospital serious money.

If Grady implements the new electronic system by September 2010, then $6.5 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds could become available to help pay for the system.

Last week’s meeting represented an important step in Grady management’s journey to bring more transparency to the decision-making that goes on day-to-day. Young said he might return three or four times a year to deliver similar updates.

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