Arnett opened by addressing concerns SOMC has scored badly in a recently released report issued by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The report named SOMC as one of the seven worst hospitals in the country for 30-day death rates after heart attacks.
Furthermore, SOMC was the only one of 158 hospitals in Ohio that were worse than the national average, according to the report.
“We're as shocked as you are. We don't know what happened and we don't know why, but we're going to find the problem and we're going to fix it,” he said.
Arnett defended the hospital's standing by pointing out the report looked at more than 390,000 Medicare patients, of which SOMC had 67 in the (heart attack) category.
“For heart failure (category), we were in the middle with everybody else,” Arnett said.
The average age of SOMC's 67 patients, he said, was 82 years old, and 15 of them went to nursing homes after SOMC. Twelve died in the hospital, he said, and eight of those 12 had “Do Not Resuscitate” orders.
“When you have a ‘Do Not Resuscitate,' that's exactly what you're supposed to do,” he said.
Arnett said the report counts patients who die as a result of a DNR, and also counts patients who are transferred to nursing homes or another hospital and die within 30 days of being admitted to SOMC.
“But I didn't come here today to make excuses that this was wrong, because these numbers are not wrong,” Arnett said.
He said in reported years 2006-07, SOMC's numbers fell “way within the range” with the rest of the country. In the future, people will be able to find SOMC mortality rates compared to the national average on SOMC's Web site (www.somc.org).
Arnett then spoke to Rotarians about construction and remodeling going on at SOMC.
The hospital expansion will create 500 construction jobs, he said, along with 200 permanent jobs which already have begun being filled.
He said construction is at the halfway point now, and while a budget deficit is projected, the hospital is not experiencing it yet.
It was reported during its unveiling ceremony in February that the project is the next phase in a four-year expansion of services and facilities that started construction in August of 2006.
The changes coincide with the expansion of SOMC's Heart and Vascular Services, including open heart surgery.
Among the total changes being made are expansions in emergency, surgery, heart and vascular services, nursing, and the new front entrance and lobby.
It also was said in February the expansion will add 102 private beds, bringing the total number of private beds to 211, and 250 beds in all.
“The new emergency department will open next summer, and it will have 23 more beds,” Arnett said.
The project is expected to be complete in 2009.
RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 235, and by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.