by Sarah Sangosti
The Memorial Hospital in Craig, located in rural northwestern Colorado, recently came under the wing of a new administrator. With this change came the opportunity to see where the hospital could improve, said Suzanne Frappier, chief clinical officer.
"We want to give this community what it deserves," she said. "This was the chance to do that with fresh eyes and fresh ideas."
Frappier’s position as chief clinical officer is part of the change. Previously serving as the chief nursing officer, she was motivated to move into the new position so she could have an active roll in the positive improvements taking place in the hospital. She has associates and bachelor’s degrees in nursing, as well as an executive master’s degree in business administration, so moving into a senior management position was ideal for her.
Frappier said the goal of streamlining the management positions is to increase communication among all departments of the hospital, which will ultimately increase patient care. Now at The Memorial Hospital, a chief financial officer takes care of all business-related issues, a quality officer deals with quality control across the hospital, the service excellence officer cares for patient and employee needs, the administrator handles staff issues and she, as the chief clinical officer, is responsible for all the clinical departments in the 25-bed critical access hospital.
She said her job is similar to that of a CNO, but it has more responsibility because it’s at a rural hospital.
Frappier said it wasn’t economically sensible to have a top-heavy organization with different directors and managers for every component of The Memorial Hospital’s operations.
As such, all clinical departments are now organized through her position as a senior management team member. She’s responsible for the nursing, pharmacy, dietary, imaging, laboratory, physical therapy and cardio pulmonary departments.
Each senior manager is responsible for different pillars within the hospital. Frappier’s is growth. Her job focuses on not only maintaining communication among all clinical departments, but also how and where the hospital can grow to provide more services to its community, she said.
For example, an a la carte menu for patients was recently added in the dietary department, an infusion clinic was added to the pharmacy so patients won’t have go far for specific therapies and the hospital is hoping to get increased technology in its imaging department so patients won’t have to travel for more advanced services.
Growth has also been charted in the emergency room, she said, with a contracted physician service and educational components to increase staff awareness of national trends.
But Frappier said she hopes the biggest outcome of this change is enhanced communication, and so far, she said, she’s seen the benefits in the staff.
She said they appreciate seeing management more involved and have welcomed her involvement in all clinical areas.
"It’s nice to see other departments and see what they do. It’s good to be a buffer with a fresh perspective in each area," she said.
Ultimately, Frappier said this program aims to improve the hospital, which, in turn, will increase its relationship with the community and help build trust in their small town.