An Open Letter from DCH Health System Board Chair Jim I. Harrison III
Few things in life are more important than health care. When a family member, neighbor or friend is sick, the most important thing is to get them quality care quickly. At DCH, we are proud to have provided quality health care in West Alabama for nearly 100 years.
We are all familiar with the tensions and challenges faced over the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s something none of us had seen before. The loss of life and serious illness are tragic and heartbreaking. The pressure this has placed on our employees and the health care system has been significant. No hospital in the country has avoided it. Each hospital was significantly challenged. And because of COVID and the additional challenges facing healthcare, many hospitals have not survived.
While we will continue to deal with COVID in one way or another for the foreseeable future, our DCH Board of Directors is working diligently to understand the strengths and weaknesses of our healthcare system and how to be a great employer. and to provide the best possible health care services to people who live and work in western Alabama.
To be clear, our Board of Directors – made up of men and women who live in our community – are committed to supporting changes that ensure improved patient care in the future. Everyone who works at DCH is a valued member of the team. To have excellent health care, it takes excellence from all of our employees, from the top down. For our Board of Directors, everything is on the table when it comes to improving DCH.
In two months, Katrina Keefer will become our new CEO and President. His extensive experience at UAB in Birmingham, Baptist Health in Montgomery, and running a major billion dollar health care system in Georgia clearly demonstrated his depth of experience in understanding the very healthcare complex. But what impressed our board and the many community members she met even more was her strong leadership style and her demands for accountability and quality across the organization.
We know that Katrina will be very engaged with our community and will seek the input of many people in our area who want to see the quality of healthcare improved. Her vision is to first understand the situation and challenges facing our system, stabilize the ship where needed to improve our programs and partnerships, and most importantly, create a culture here that makes it clear that we care deeply about our employees and every person. we serve in any capacity.
We also look forward to further engaging with our community leaders who are willing to help. We appreciate the support we have received from our local city and county leaders, and we will work with them and others to address the challenges we face. We will also have very frank and detailed conversations about what needs to happen so that we can have the best health care system for this part of the state.
As you may know, few industries have more regulation and oversight than healthcare. Patient, employee, and operational information must be kept confidential under federal and state law. However, as a health care system, we will be as open, transparent and publicly engaged as possible while always respecting the law.
With common goals and a renewed, positive spirit, we can have a health care system in West Alabama that we can all be proud of. As an employee, physician, patient, member of our foundation, member of the community – we can all play a part in the future of DCH Health System as we change and grow.
We are excited and encouraged by the new chapter we are about to write for the DCH healthcare system. We want you to be part of our process…and our progress.