Hospital to community: We’re listening

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To the Editor:

An Open Letter to the Island Community.

We’ve done a lot of listening this summer to the community concerns that have arisen after the events of early June. For the main part, these concerns, if we have heard them correctly, speak not to the excellent quality of care delivered by our dedicated and professional staff, but rather to issues of governance. We’ve heard calls for greater transparency, accountability, responsiveness, and communication. It’s in the spirit of responding to those calls, communicating with the community we serve, that we write this week.

Martha’s Vineyard Hospital has begun work on a strategic plan to guide us over the next few years as we and the rest of the nation’s healthcare providers navigate the shift from a volume-based to a value-based payment system. To ensure that the hospital is well situated for these changes, we have engaged Stroudwater Associates, a leading national consulting firm serving healthcare clients, and have formed working groups focused on strategic, operational, and financial issues.

The strategic plan, now in draft form, will be the hospital’s roadmap for improving the health of our community and the efficiency of the services we render. With input from the community, the plan will be developed by management and the board of trustees, and introduced to the community this fall.

Meanwhile, the search for the hospital’s next CEO is advancing. The hospital has engaged the recruiting firm of Phillips DiPisa from Hingham, and the search committee (comprising medical staff, board members, and Juliette Fay, executive director of Martha’s Vineyard Community Services) plans to select and engage a candidate before year’s end.

We have selected the consulting firm of Orlikoff & Associates to review our governance structure. This review will cover our bylaws, and it will also outline the development of a Community Benefits Committee, to look broadly at how we can more effectively coordinate with other Island healthcare and social service providers to address the healthcare needs of our Island residents and visitors. The goal of the committee will be “to work together with Island healthcare organizations to promote wellness, share experiences, and identify community healthcare needs and disparities that can be improved, or access broadened, through a coordinated and collaborative approach to health education and the delivery of care.”

On the communications and outreach front, Martha’s Vineyard Hospital is working with Partners HealthCare to increase our social media presence. The initial focus will be on information related to current health issues, new services, and screening programs, while keeping the community informed about organizational milestones. Hospital leaders will be meeting with the Dukes County Health Council in late September to discuss the future direction of the hospital, and its relationship with Partners HealthCare and the Island’s healthcare community.

We remain deeply committed to our mission, and fully intend to continue our pursuit of excellence in medical care. On behalf of the entire hospital team and the board of trustees, we thank you for your support, and look forward to working with you on strengthening the bonds that connect our hospital to our community.

Timothy J. Walsh, president and CEO
Martha’s Vineyard Hospital

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