Staffing issues fill agenda at WSH trustees meeting

Warren State Hospital’s board of trustees heard updates on staffing issues and vacancies at its quarterly meeting Wednesday morning.

Trustees are awaiting word on one appointment, received one resignation and are awaiting paperwork for two re-appointments to the board. It was announced Michael Hostovich will be resigning rather than seeking re-appointment. Meanwhile, William McCarthy and Andrea Grolemund will seek re-appointment. The terms of Hostovich, Grolemund and McCarthy all expired in January.

Dr. Asha Prabhu, chief medical officer, announced the clinical services department will be doing interviews for a part-time psychiatrist to work 20 hours per week. The department will also be looking for a part-time physical therapist and is doing interviews for a position in the pharmacy department.

Judy Giffi, chief nursing executive, announced nursing services hired one individual and has interviewed four others in the last month. She reported four individuals are currently training in the Nurses for the Future program. The department reported one retirement.

Melanie Liddie, chief social rehabilitative executive, reported the recovery center coordinator had retired, but that a replacement had already been hired.

The board also formed a nominating committee, made up of Carmen Ferranto and Mary Kushner, in preparation for officer elections at its next meeting in May.

Nominations for Warren State Hospital employee of the year in the administration, social and rehabilitative services, nursing and clinical department were also read. Board members voted by secret ballot; results were not announced during the meeting.

Giffi reported the nursing department has formed a committee to work on prevention of medication errors.

Liddie announced her department will be organizing a recovery center fair to highlight the program.

“We thought it would be nice to really put it out there with all the options available,” Liddie said.

She also reported the department has begun a goal-oriented initiative in one-on-one treatment to maintain motivation amongst those being treated and has launched a “peer-pal” program. Individuals called peer pals will be maintained in less restrictive hospital wings to organize events and activities to alleviate patient boredom, which can lead to difficulties in recovery.

Dave Markley, chief performance improvement executive, reported a representative of the state Department of Health had visited the hospital on Jan. 3. It was a follow-up from a visit last April.

“(The surveyor) Was very satisfied with what he saw,” Markley said.

He reported 56 percent of staff had received vaccination for influenza and patients and staff at the hospital have remained flu free so far this season.

CEO Charlotte Uber announced the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare has appointed Dennis Marion as deputy secretary of the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. Marion will be touring the hospital on May 9.

Both Giffi and Markley announced their respective departments are working to streamline record keeping.

Giffi announced nursing services had put software in place allowing doctors to enter orders on patient care into a database that nurses could then access. Any tests ordered could have results entered directly into the system upon completion and records of previous orders could be reviewed without the need for paperwork.

Markley reported his department is implementing a system for incident reports which will allow nurses to copy and paste report information to necessary forms, rather than writing out the same information repeatedly.

Board Secretary Mary Beth Zdarko reported the hospital dinner theater scheduled for May 15 was being organized with a “Hooray for Hollywood” theme.