Tahlequah Daily Press

December 11, 2012

TCH board approves amnesty program

By BOB GIBBINS
Special Writer

TAHLEQUAH — Tahlequah City Hospital’s board of trustees voted Monday to approve an amnesty program that will start next month.

Julie Ward, TCH’s finance officer, said the plan is to start the amnesty period Jan. 1 and continue it until April 15. She said the hospital will provide a 35 percent discount to those patients who pay their bill during that time period. Ward said the discount will not apply to those accounts that are in court.

She said the hospital is hopeful those owing money will use their tax refunds to take advantage of the discount.

TCH CEO Brian Woodliff reminded trustees that the Hearts of Gold Gala will be Feb. 16. He said this will be the eighth year for the event and the hospital already has commitments for 32 tables.

An independent audit of TCH books was recently completed. Ward and Woodliff both said the audit has some favorable numbers. The report shows the median for Oklahoma hospitals is to be 32 percent full and TCH averages 65 percent. He said the length of stay at the local hospital compares favorably to hospitals across the state.

Woodliff also announced a new cancer detection PET/CT scan program. It will offer a technically advanced scan for detection and treatment of cancer.

“We’re very proud of this,” Woodliff said.

The CEO told trustees of the offering of interventional radiology at the hospital. The technology will allow doctors to diagnose and treat complex medical conditions without major surgery. It provides a more enhanced diagnosis as well as treatment planning and therapeutic interventions.

Later in the meeting, the trustees  approved credentialing for some physicians where credentials were added for PET imaging and intervention radiology.

Woodliff also spoke with trustees about a new partnership with National Research Corporation to deal with patient experiences and offer guidelines for improvement.

“It will be patient survey and they will also serve in an advisory capacity,” he said.

The patient survey focuses on communication with doctors and nurses, how well the hospital staff responds and the cleanliness of the hospital among other features. Patients are also asked to give the facility an overall rating and a likeliness of whether they will recommend the hospital to someone else.