The Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. board of directors finally became an official body last Dec. 16 after months of getting assembled and organized starting June.
According to CHCC board chair Lauri Ogumoro, 2018 looks like it’s still going to be full of challenges but the board is ready to face them.
“Our biggest goal is to get the community to buy-in or have ownership so they can treat CHCC as their own hospital. Once we get different committee participation, the community will have a voice and a stake in the hospital,” she said
“Another goal is to work for what the hospital deserves. The board does not have the power to generate funds but we can certainly advocate that we get what we deserve,” she added.
Ogumoro said the board was experiencing a new beginning throughout the process in trying to absorb the needs of the hospital and of the community.
“The initial goal was to get to know the staff and the players and ultimately, to become a strong advocate to take care of the hospital. It’s our only hospital and it has a lot of needs. Most of the board members are really passionate about taking care of the hospital because when we take care of the hospital, we are taking care of our own,” she said.
“I am glad that the board is on the same page and has that same motivation. There is no personal motivation or agenda and just genuine goal and that is ‘what can we do for the hospital?’” she added.
Ogumoro said that going through the process of familiarization, the board realized that there’s just a lot of stuff involved in a major healthcare system.
“Even for a small community, we have all of these federal regulations and it’s a daunting task, I used to work here for 20 years but a lot has changed,” Ogumoro said.
“CHCC CEO Esther Muña is really working hard so that the next visit of Medicare, which we anticipate very soon, will have a positive outcome. She has done everything in her power to get people to really track what’s happening and making sure that corrections and citations that were issued by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services are corrected,” she added.
Ogumoro said that other main topics for 2018 are patient safety, CMS (getting Medicare) and finances.
“We are focused on getting those things. There is also public law issues and the hospital has concerns about that. Currently, the immediate priority right now is to have a good inspection by Medicare. Once we get that, other audits will be ongoing,” she said.
“We are really just getting started because, by law, the board did not become official until Dec. 16. The time before that was spent understanding and seeing what’s going on and moving forward,” she added.
Ogumoro said that CHCC is closing 2017 on a positive note in spite of the big challenges that the hospital had to go through—finances and CW issues.
“I think I can say we ended on a positive note as we have a good working relationship with the people here,” she said. “The board is not trying to run a hospital on a day-to-day management basis or operations. We are trying to say we provide governance, oversight, and perhaps keeping sight of the bigger picture for the community.”