CEO Alan Daugherty shares SageWest community update

August 3, 2017

Over the last four months, I have had the honor of getting to know more about this region as part of my role as CEO of SageWest Health Care. I have had the privilege of getting to know many of you and hearing your ideas, your questions and your concerns about healthcare in Lander, Riverton and the surrounding region.

I’m delighted to share a few details about progress being made and new initiatives at SageWest. I’m proud of our team and how far we have come in re-establishing SageWest as a local healthcare system that delivers excellent care, a superior patient experience, and is the first choice for healthcare professionals in our region.

Our team is dedicated to making the critical changes that will strengthen our system and ensure that we are able to meet the changing needs of everyone we serve for years to come.  We are making deliberate improvements in our operations and considering all facets of the care and services we provide. And our efforts are working. Just a couple of weeks ago, we were re-surveyed by The Joint Commission (TJC), and I am very pleased to share that there were zero (0) findings. This means that our plans to address previous concerns have met regulatory guidelines and is confirmation of our successful efforts to improve safety and quality.

We have been able to achieve this outstanding result thanks to the hard work and dedication of our team. Their willingness to adapt and support is critical to our success, and for that, I want to say thank you.

One important area of focus for us has been working to re-establish obstetrics services in Riverton. We have done all of the needed due diligence and know what it will take to get these services off the ground. A critical component we are working through now is recruiting and hiring the professionals needed to create a great OB program, including qualified OB nurses. We are committed to recruiting top-notch nurses to our region who are committed to ensuring every patient receives the safest and most compassionate OB care possible.

Once we are confident that we can provide the highest quality OB services in the Riverton campus with the appropriate level of staffing, we will re-open the unit. This is a process that is likely to take longer than we would like, but it is vital that we have all of the necessary people and pieces in place before re-launching these services. We will not move forward with serving patients until we are sure that the program will be what growing families in this area deserve.

Recruiting the right people to ensure that SageWest has the talent and resources it needs to effectively serve our communities is a priority that extends beyond our OB planning. With physician recruitment we are on the horizon of interviews and negotiations with strong, qualified candidates in the areas of general surgery, physiatry, hospitalist, and obstetrics/gynecology. Additionally, we have recently expanded our team, making strategic new hires amongst our staff, including our chief nursing officer Vickie Bessey, chief operating officer Dan Springer, assistant chief nursing officer Amanda Vick, director of quality Michael Kusiek and director of pharmacy Sara Johnson-Higgs. We are fortunate to have these strong and thoughtful leaders in place, and we know they will help us fulfill our commitment to ensuring the highest standards of quality, patient safety and overall patient experience.  

I’m excited for the future.  If I have anything to take away from my last four months in this community, it is that I have every reason to believe that we have a bright future ahead of us.  Despite some challenges, some disappointments and some bumps along the way during the last few years, we have a great team that is committed to making SageWest the best it can be.  Most importantly, we have a great community that is still driven to support our system. 

I thank you all for this support, and I hope that you will continue to share with me your thoughts and observations.  SageWest is your health system, and we cannot make it what it can and needs to be without you. 

With this in mind, our team will be hosting a series of community forums at the end of August to engage with the community, share more updates, and discuss our plans for the future. We will make the schedule for these forums public soon.  They will be open for all to attend, and I hope you will consider joining us for these important meetings.

Thank you again for your support of SageWest, and for how you have welcomed me and Tanya to this region. We are delighted to call Wyoming home, and proud to be part of the critical effort to make our community healthier.

Alan Daugherty, CEO of SageWest Health Care