October is gone. WMC is in the SEARHC network now. But what does that mean?
If you were to walk into Wrangell Medical Center today, to have your candy-hangover monitored or just to say hi, you would see that the transition would have little-to-no impact on your patient experience. It means patient billing would start being processed by SEARHC. It would mean some employees will have different job titles. It would mean those employees will have SEARHC, and not the city, on the hook for their paychecks. Other than that, it's just like any other day.
SEARHC Executive VP Dan Neumeister has said, since the beginning, that the goal was always to provide the same services to the community. He has also went on record stating that the hospital will keep the WMC name.
Most importantly, Neumeister has been adamant that they're not going to swoop in and inject SEARHC operations into WMC. They've acknowledged that hospitals, like communities, are unique. SEARHC has said many times that they will look at WMC operations to see if SEARHC can take anything away to improve as a healthcare provider. For example, prior to the today, SEARHC has no Long Term Care experience. We're the only LTC in their network. With a few consecutive years of quality awards under our belt, our LTC will be a great foundation for SEARHC to learn from and build upon.
Now, the SEARHC signage may start popping up at the hospital soon. Patients will probably notice some building upgrades in the coming weeks to months, including flat screens advertising SEARHC promotions and upcoming events. Staff has already been treated to a much-needed new phone system and brand new computers. Let's not forget about the new hospital they promised, with a plan to break ground in the spring and cut the ribbon in late 2020.
But for now, it's the same ol' WMC. The same smiling staff offering the same services to the community. SEARHC is just signing the checks now.