Wednesday, June 27, 2007


I have to admit that I’m new to blogging, but I hope this can be a beneficial experience for both of us.

I’d like to hear your comments and opinions on health care issues of note, and I hope that they will result in open, robust discussion. I am passionate about health care and have been working in the field for about 35 years, so I’m hoping that I might be able to share from my experience and learn from yours as well!

Just as in CHRISTUS, there are no hidden agendas here. I would be willing to share my thoughts about almost everything, including my successes, my failures and my “lessons learned”.

However, I can’t comment on individual and legally confidential patient care issues here, but I can refer patients of our facilities to the appropriate people if they have problems or complaints. I also can’t comment on the individual and legally confidential personnel matters of our Associates (employees), although I can refer people to the appropriate folks in CHRISTUS who can help them. And although I am a physician, I’d prefer to avoid commenting on individual and specific medical cases. I’d like to let the capable physicians involved in those cases handle that care since a physician with whom you have a relationship can become familiar with your medical issues and provide the most appropriate ongoing care.

So here we go! Feel free to ask me questions about what it’s like to work in health care, about health care in general, or let me know about your experiences. I plan to update my blog every Wednesday, and respond to comments during the week as time allows. I’m excited to share this journey with all of you!


Anonymous said...

Dear Dr. Royer,
Thank you. Thank you for using this medium to keep in touch with your associates and for allowing us to feel like we can communicate with you directly. It is rare that the "laity" have direct access to those in charge and I, for one, applaud your efforts.

Mario Quintanilla MD said...

Hello Dr. Royer and Christus Family,
I am glad to see we are more and more "wired", using these valuable technologies to create a more unified Christus Health community (associates, patients, clinicians, friends and families). Christus grows stronger when boundaries are taken down and synergies bloom.

Anonymous said...

Dr Royer, What is Christus doing in preparation for a possible pandemic. The Blog has just completed five weeks of discussion. There were very few hospital administrators participating.

Jorge said...

Thank you Dr.Royer for the opportunity. Based on your vast experience and vision for the Christus family, in your opinion, what is the single most important challenge affecting Healthcare in the next 3 years? What is being done or could be done to change that. It is a loaded question and if possible would like to narrow it specificly to Christus Health. Thank you.

Casandra said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
B. Bradley, PT said...

I look forward to keeping abreast of Christus news. We here in SWLA at St. Patrick continue to stive to provide the best care for our patients while fulfilling our Christian mission. This medium will allow us to share our successes & new ideas in real time. Thanks !!

Cynthia Stein said...

Dr. Royer, I am proud to be an associate of CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi - Memorial and I am so appreciative of your "Open door policy". Because you are willing to “get in the trenches with your subordinates, we can rest assured you will hold our well being in close proximity to your own.

Anonymous said...

Dear Dr. Royer,
I understand that this question is not specifically healthcare related, but I believe it is an important subject. Is there any posibility to have daycare brought in to the rural hospitals, similar to the one at the CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi - Memorial facility? It is very difficult to find quality childcare in a small town, especially for shift workers.

Anonymous said...

Yes, what about child care. Having a reliable child care facility close to work with reasonable rates would do a lot for associate satisfaction. When I first started working at my facility, we had a wonderful child developement center with a great staff (it was far superior to my second child's child development center). That was shut down just before my sencond child was born. Although I am no longer in need of it, I know other associates would benefit from it just knowing that their children were close and well taken care of. Happy associates make more productive associates!!!!!!

Jason said...

Greetings Dr. Royer!

I'm very glad to see that you have decided to use such a medium to have communication with everyone involved with the CHRISTUS family. I hope that this can become an active forum of discussion and information sharing for everyone.

My question is this: What is your opinion on the growing topic of healthcare reform on a national level? This is becoming a hot topic lately. Do you think that nationalized healthcare, such as what Canada or the UK has, would be a system that the US should strive to adopt? I've heard a lot of points for both sides, but I would love to hear your opinion.

Jason W.

Dr. Tom said...

All CHRISTUS hospitals, as well as CHRISTUS Health as a system, have formulated preparedness plans to address several types of disasters, including a potential outbreak of pandemic flu. As a part of CHRISTUS Health, our local facilities are fortunate to be able to coordinate and shift staff and supplies from one region to another to respond nimbly and to enable us to care for an overload of patients if clinical and support staffs at the affected facilities fall below required levels.

CHRISTUS Health has also formed an Infection Control Council to help us prepare and respond to outbreaks of pandemic illness. The purpose of the council is to share learnings on national infection control standards with the goal of identifying and implementing best practices and cost savings; to develop standardization of infection control, prevention and surveillance processes that impact each facility; to increase the level of education in understanding infection control issues across CHRISTUS; and, to optimize efficiencies in infection control processes to support performance improvement implementation.

Dr. Tom said...

Although you have asked me to identify the single most important challenge facing CHRISTUS, I believe there are, in fact, several major drivers of healthcare change that will challenge healthcare leaders within and outside CHRISTUS to take the “longer view” and attempt to envision the future-- not only into the next three years, but the next decade:

· New technology is being developed and implemented rapidly in all segments of healthcare;

· Research in prevalent diseases is transferring knowledge more rapidly to the bedside, eradicating or curing some diseases and minimizing the severity of others;

· The profile of the aging population is showing a much healthier group of people, not aging like their parents but “aging in place,” living more active and productive lives and living a greater number of senior years.

· The number of uninsured will continue to increase, particularly among young people, who often do not view healthcare insurance as a high budget priority.

· Demands for transparency in all that we do will increase from the many voices calling for change in healthcare – government, business, payers, patients and families. As the cost of healthcare continues to rise and an increasing portion of the payment becomes the personal obligation of the patient, these voices will demand to see that they are getting value that parallels the cost of service.

These most important implications must have well-defined strategies to ensure the best possible future for our patients, community residents and their families.

Anonymous said...

I note that as Associate 70 years of age or older is not eligible for Long Term Disability Benefits.
There is no requirement that an Associate retire at 70. Is denial of Long Term Disability Benefits to an Associate 70 or older age discrimination?

Dr. Tom said...

Hello Jason,

I appreciate your question and will be addressing that topic in future posts.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Tom,

What are your thoughts about the disconnect between Administration in Shreveport/Bossier area and local physicians? Physicians newtork within the Christus systems are very concern that corporate are not addressing the needs and concerns of area physicians and losing them to local competitors.

Concern Practice Administrator

Dr. Tom said...

This response is to the two posts left in regards to child care.

This is a valid question and I know that quality child care is a concern for working families, particularly in small communities. When I was a practicing physician and my wife, Jane, was a nurse manager, we had four young children and faced the difficult task of finding good day care in a small town. In response to your question, I’ve done a quick poll of our regions and have learned that many of them are struggling with this issue. We recognize this is a concern to many Associates and have discovered that several of our regions have tried various options.

Some have closed on-site child care centers that they opted to open due to lack of participation or financial constraints due to the need to meet state or federal regulatory requirements. I urge you to continue to work with your regional HR contacts; furthermore, I commit that CHRISTUS, as a system, will continue to explore appropriate options to help our working families. While this does not resolve the issue of CHRISTUS providing on-site child care, I would also encourage you to take advantage of our dependent care spending account, which allows you to defer taxes for money used for child care.

Anonymous said...

Dr Royer,
I am passionate about patient care and I feel that we are dropping the ball at Memorial Corpus Christi we have lost at least 35% of our nursing staff and still no effort is made to retain the nurses we have left.Anyone requesting a transfer is granted that transfer making us even shorter. Nurses are unable to live up to the unrealistic expectations of upper management. I love my job but it is becoming impossible to stay in an atmosphere of frustration and anger. I warned management of the shortages on the horizon 3 months before it happened and they made no effort to give us some hope that things would improve. We are in trouble with Jacho and working conditions are VERY bad. How many more Nurses do we have to lose before something is done? Thank you for offering this blog I realise you have many responcibilities and appreciate you taking the time to listen.

Anonymous said...

This not about the future of health car in general. This has a much more personal feel. I have been a loyal assossiate of CSRCH for almost 20 years and was deeply saddened when I was informed that my nurse manager had "turned in her resignation, effective immediately" last week. She had been the NM for 28 years and was an excellent manager. My ICU carries about 80% of CH census and is the only unit to consistently operate in the black. In short WE ARE THE MONEY MAKERS. Actually I doubt there would even be a CH if not for us. The abrupt way she left makes me think she was forced to do so. I have to say I lost a lot of respect for the Santa Rosa Health Care System that day. Can you please explain to me what happened?

Dr. Tom said...

Before responding to your concerns about your nurse manager's resignation from CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Children's Hospital, I would like to first take this opportunity to gratefully acknowledge your 20 years of service with CHRISTUS Santa Rosa. Since the children's hospital opened its doors in 1959, we have always been proud of the fine reputation of the facility and staff like you whose dedication and commitment have continued to allow us to serve thousands of seriously ill or injured children each year. Admittedly, each of the many milestones and advances CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Children's Hospital has achieved in providing world-renown pediatric care can only be directly attributed to the personal commitment and focus of the hospital's staff, physicians and volunteers - all of whom share a common goal to provide quality, innovative care to meet the unique needs of children.

Although I am unfamiliar with the manager to whom you refer and the circumstances surrounding his or her departure, I can understand your personal frustration and concern over the unexplained departure of a colleague held in high esteem. There are a variety of reasons that may prompt people to leave an existing job and pursue other opportunities - in fact, far too many to list here. Importantly, however, to protect the confidentiality of each of our Associates, neither I nor the leadership of CHRISTUS Santa Rosa are at liberty to reveal the particular circumstances surrounding the departure of your manager, even if those reasons were known. Again, thank you for your continued commitment to CHRISTUS Santa Rosa. Your service and those of your colleagues is sincerely appreciated.

Casandra said...

To anonymous who left the message about the NICU nurse manager at CSRHC San Antonio: I have heard many of the same thoughts and feelings of others here at the hospital. With all of the drama that a hospital has to endure there is always gossip and speculation. I am proud to work here and feel that each individual should feel the same. I have made a decision to be a part of the CHRISTUS organization and I have confidence that what needs to be done will be. I don't know the reasons behind this resignation anymore than anyone else. I choose to do my job and do the best I can to make sure that we give the best possible patient care. I believe in this organization and I know that our administration would not do anything to harm our hospital. I work here because I believe that we make a difference to the people of San Antonio. Please try to be positive and have faith that there is a reason that this happened. Everyone loved and appreciated this nurse manager but we do not know the circumstances that led to this shocking event.

In this important week of our country's independence I want to remind everyone of our so often heard saying "united we stand". United as Americans and united as employees of the CHRISTUS Health organization. Please support our administrators and recognize that they are our leaders for a reason.

carowalk said...

Thank you so much for offering this opportunity! My concern regards the HPV vaccine and the 16 year age limit our insurance company adheres to. The HPV vaccine is being treated as any other childhood vaccine and not as it is meant, to protect females as they become sexually active, preventing the main cause of cervical cancer. There is an article in the Houston Chronicle today of a 27 year old woman who just died from cervical cancer. The vaccine is expensive, given in a series of 3, and this will prevent many young women from getting the protection they need. My daughter is a 21 year old college student and has already received the first vaccine. We decided that we should not wait for it to be covered by our Christus insurance program.