Paul W. Barada
A couple of weeks ago I wrote a column about two of the keys to helping this community grow. One was having an attractive community and the other was having a great school system. There is also a third key that will help this community grow and that’s the quality of our healthcare services, primarily the quality of our local hospital and ancillary services. When people are considering where they want to live three essential elements are (1) how attractive the community is, (2) the quality of the local schools, and (3) the quality of the healthcare services that are available. If any one of the “big 3” is missing, it’s more likely than not that the community being considered will be struck from the list of prospective new “home towns.”
Among those three, Rush County has been making significant strides forward in the reputation of our local hospital. As I have written before, if our hospital offers a procedure, I would always pick Rush Memorial over one of the huge hospitals in Indianapolis.
Not long ago, I had occasion to make several visits to see a relative at Methodist Hospital. Not to sound provincial, but that place is monstrous! There are staffers there just to give people directions on how to find the patient they’re seeking. The typical sort of response is, “Go down to the third bank of elevators, past the cafeteria, go to the sixth floor, turn right at the double doors and you’ll find the nurses’ station about six miles down the hall.” Obviously, that’s an exaggeration, but not by much!
On top of all that, they have a multi-level parking garage in which it’s very easy to get lost, but, once having found the way out, one discovers there’s a fee to park there! As much as medical services cost in that maze of corridors, ramps, elevators, and wings, you would think they could at least afford to offer visitors and patients free parking! How much money do they rake in just for the privilege of parking a half-mile from the pedestrian bridge that leads to the corridor that enters the actual hospital?
Worse yet, except for the acute care area, people admitted to that place really cease to be people – they’re charts that hang on the door. The doctors and nurses have no idea whom they’re seeing – the patients certainly aren’t people about whom they care as they do at Rush Memorial. If the procedure can be done here, I’ll take Rush Memorial every time.
What’s even more significant is the simplicity of accessing Rush Memorial. The admission procedures have been simplified, the equipment is as modern as any hospital anywhere, and the staff – doctors, nurses, administrators – really do care about their patients, partly because in many instances, they actually know the patients to whom they’re providing care. Within the last few years, Rush Memorial Hospital has become one of the best primary care institutions in Southeastern Indiana. No longer can it derisively be called a “Band aid” station.
Not long ago I had occasion to go to Rush Memorial on business. I wasn’t sure where the proper office was, so I asked someone in a one of the other offices where I might find the person I needed to see. Instead of simply being told how to find her, she said, “Let me show you the way.” Whereupon, she left her desk and walked with me to the right office! That would not happen at one of the mega-hospitals in Indianapolis. Of equal importance, and more so than one might suppose, I have yet to enter Rush Memorial without receiving a warm greeting from everyone I have encountered. One of the things that so many businesses forget is that a smile and a kind word don’t add a dime to the operating cost of that business. On the other hand, friendliness can add to the bottom line. One person being made to feel welcome spreads the word through the community and the whole image of that business can change almost overnight.
Hospitals, however, are a little different from the local hardware store. The services one receives at a hospital can sometimes cause people to feel anxious about what’s going to be done. While that may be true in a hospital the size of Methodist, it’s certainly not true at Rush Memorial. I have had a couple of tests done there to which I wasn’t particularly looking forward. I was treated with such kindness and thoughtfulness, however, that all my apprehension was quickly dissipated, and, as I should have known, the tests amounted to nothing, partly because the nurses and the doctor were so kind and explained exactly what was happening. As I usually do, I felt rather silly that I had been anxious about the tests in the first place.
So, to the extent that the quality of healthcare services available is the third key to helping this community grow, Rush Memorial Hospital can offer truly outstanding healthcare services to new families considering making their homes in Rush County. If we want more of our young people to return here, the three broad goals are clear – an attractive community, exceptional school system, and outstanding healthcare services. Those are the three areas where our efforts need to be focused. I cannot stress my sincere belief too strongly that attracting more young families to this county is the most important goal we have.
That’s –30— for this week.