There wasn’t the same excitement and anticipation at 6 a.m., Aug. 22, 2014, as there was the previous year at that same time. However, what did occur at that time and date this year was the new St. Joseph’s Hospital campus (hospital facility and medical office building) completed its first full year of service to Highland area residents.
“When the first two Hospital Sisters of The Third Order of St. Francis began their health care ministry here in Highland back in January 1878,” says Peggy Sebastian, president and CEO, SJH, “they went from house-to-house revealing Christ’s healing presence to those who needed their care. And from the first day of the very first SJH facility opening on Aug. 21, 1879, to now, Highland area residents have been coming to the Sisters’ ‘house’ for their health care needs – the new SJH is a clear example of the commitment that the Sisters’ have to local residents in continuing their health care mission.”
For example, during the new SJH’s first year:
- Inpatient admissions increased 19 percent
- Outpatient registrations/procedures grew 16 percent
- Surgical procedures climbed 30 percent
- Emergency room visits rose 17 percent
“From the moment we announced that a new SJH was going to be a reality more than three years ago, we promised local residents that they would have access to a hospital campus providing advanced technologies in a state-of-the-art facility that they would be proud to call their own,” Sebastian says. “The new SJH was designed to emphasize healing and wellness with a focus on outpatient treatment and therapy – and that’s exactly what we’ve seen.”
Even with new equipment and updated features to existing programs and services that moved from the previous facility at 1515 Main St. to the new Troxler Avenue campus, a variety of new services were introduced during the new hospital’s first year.
Merely four days after opening the new health care campus, the SJH Wound Care Center introduced Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBO). Two HBO chambers are available for treating a wide assortment of medical conditions that include: a difficult-healing wound; a crushing injury; gangrene; skin or bone infection that causes tissue death; radiation injuries; burns; skin grafts or skin flaps at risk of tissue death. The HBO therapy chambers are also integral to the SJH’s community benefit strategy addressing the community health need of diabetes management.
Next, in less than three months’ time between the end of January 2014 and the middle of April 2014, SJH introduced the addition of two new services that simultaneously strengthened the diagnostic offerings within the hospital’s Medical Imaging Department and its Cancer Care Program.
First, SJH began offering patients a powerful new diagnostic imaging system known as PET/CT. This hybrid technology combines the strengths of two well-established imaging services in one imaging session to more accurately diagnose and locate cancers while increasing patient comfort.
“When the SJH Cancer Care Program opened in 2011, SJH leaders knew expansion of cancer care services would include PET/CT technology,” Sebastian says.
Then, SJH added the Eviva Breast Biopsy system that’s designed to improve the quality, accuracy and ease of stereotactic-guided breast biopsies.
“The addition of this new technology gives SJH more leverage to compete with some of the St. Louis metro-area hospitals in that it’s the same technology available in the top breast cancer centers in the United States,” Sebastian states. The stereotactic breast biopsy system supports SJH physicians across four specialties including radiology, oncology, general surgery and obstetrics/gynecology.
Also in March 2014, to ensure access to advanced specialty care for all patients in the community and surrounding rural areas (especially in emergency situations), SJH became a remote site for a stroke telemedicine program. SJH partners with C3O Telemedicine in supplying double board-certified physicians (neurology and neuro-critical care specialists) who serve as the on-call neurologists when an apparent stroke victim arrives to the SJH Emergency Department. C3O Telemedicine is an innovative provider of virtual presence clinical coverage solutions to metropolitan and rural health facilities. This initiative allows SJH to keep patients at SJH, as appropriate, or to transfer patients to our sister referral hospital, St. Elizabeth’s in Belleville. To date, more than 14 patients have utilized the telemedicine stroke robot leading to a more than 20 percent admission rate at SJH.
“Even with opening a new hospital campus, we must always continue to improve and introduce new services. Having a new hospital facility gives us the ability to do more — and introduce new amenities — now and in the future,” Sebastian says.
For more information on the new SJH, visit www.stjosephshighland.org.