TROY — Two thousand and twenty-two was “a very challenging year,” said Kevin Harlan, Upper Valley Medical Center (UVMC) president. “We were still experiencing heavy COVID-19 in the first half of the year, and across the country many hospitals still are not back to normal volumes.
“However, Premier Health continues to grow our services in Southwest Ohio while continuing to meet the needs of the eight-county region we serve,” he added. “We’re very proud of what we have been able to achieve.”
Despite those challenges, UVMC had many reasons to celebrate in 2022. The hospital neared completion of a multi-year modernization project designed to provide a better patient experience within the 24-year-old facility.
The “patient flow project” was designed to enhance wayfinding and privacy, as well as easier access to the retail pharmacy, gift shop, patient registration, CompuNet Clinical Lab, cardiac/pulmonary diagnostics, and medical imaging.
“We are pleased with this opportunity to allow more ease of access, comfort, and convenience for our customers as they enter the hospital, as well as greater efficiencies for our staff,” said Harlan. “We believe the enhancements help provide a comfortable, healing environment for patients and visitors.”
The project’s benefits are noticeable upon entering the hospital’s main lobby, which has been restructured and refreshed with a more contemporary registration area that offers individual registration booths and a kiosk for sign-in by outpatients who preregistered. The open seating area next to the large lobby windows remains with a new look and convenient waiting space for visitors.
The final stage of the patient flow project is currently underway with further enhancements to the surgical waiting common area on the second floor above the main lobby.
Another exciting enhancement at the hospital in 2022 involved renovation of UVMC’s Level II Special Care Nursery. This nursery provides special care for babies as young as 32 weeks. It is the only Level II nursery between Dayton and Lima, as licensed by the Ohio Department of Health.
The UVMC Special Care Nursery team cares for high-risk babies who may have low birth weight, genetic conditions, respiratory difficulties, infections, or drug dependence via the mother. And importantly, it allows the babies to stay close to home with their families instead of being transferred outside of Miami County.
Funded primarily through the UVMC Foundation and volunteers, this project brought important upgrades to the nursery, including advanced technologies and services as well as new private rooms for the hospital’s tiniest, most vulnerable patients and their families.
“It is clear that the UVMC Foundation’s donors and hospital volunteers understand the importance of something like this to our community,” said Dr. Paul Weber, board-certified pediatrician at the Pediatric Group at UVMC. “Other hospitals our size do not offer this type of service. This is a very positive facility for our community.”
Two other important projects completed in 2022 were the replacement of the hospital’s metal roof and parking lot improvements.
UVMC Cardiopulmonary Services added a third echocardiography (Echo) machine to improve Echo turnaround times for outpatients. In addition, Cardiopulmonary Services, through a grant from the UVMC Foundation, purchased a new NAPA airway pressure monitor for treatment of the tiniest of patients in the UVMC Special Care Nursery. Respiratory therapists can use this monitor to verify if the infant is getting effective oxygenation.
The UVMC Surgery department in 2022 added a new lithotripsy laser to allow for increased capabilities in the treatment of kidney stones. An operating room renovation and refresh project is currently underway.
Construction on a new cardiac catheterization lab with new equipment also is underway and will be completed in 2023.
Also in progress is renovation of the lower level of Building B (formerly the Support Services Building) on the UVMC campus to provide a new EMS Academy to offer education for individuals pursuing EMS certification as well as refresher courses for those already certified. The new facility will offer plenty of classroom space with computer workstations, lab space for skills training, and an ambulance simulator to allow students to practice and be tested in a real ambulance setting.
“This helps us give the student a more realistic feel of what it is like being an EMS provider and to prepare them for treating patients in emergencies, said Brendan Deere, manager of EMS outreach and education. “The renovation will also allow us to hold bigger classes due to much more space,”
For 2023, Upper Valley has begun development of a dedicated UVMC Women’s Imaging Center at the hospital. This center will pull all resources into one space to enable easy navigation of services that women routinely need, such as mammography, ultrasound, bone densitometry, and consultation with a breast navigator and genetic counseling. MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) also will be available nearby.
Additionally in the Imaging department, plans are underway to install a new SPECT/CT unit which combines the power of nuclear medicine with CT (Computerized Tomography) to enhance imaging capabilities with newer technology that offers greater speed. This unit creates images after administration of a radiopharmaceutical medication to allow gathering of detailed information on various conditions and disorders in the body.
“Many of the scans we perform will take significantly less time and still improve our quality of images,” said Jacqui Rose, UVMC director of medical imaging. “We are very excited to introduce this new system to benefit our patients and customers later this year.”
Also coming in 2023 are a UVMC Progressive Care Unit renovation, as well as relocation and enlargement of the inpatient dialysis unit.
Among other achievements in 2022 were successful surveys including:
• Being named a recipient of the 2022 Patient Safety Excellence Award™ by Healthgrades, ranking UVMC among the top 10% of hospitals in the nation for patient safety;
• Achieving a Leapfrog Group patient safety watchdog organization score of “A” in both the spring and fall review periods;
• Being named to the U.S. News & World Report annual list of hospitals for best maternity care;
• Earning 2022 Get with the Guidelines GOLD PLUS quality recognition for Stroke Treatment from the American Heart and Stroke Associations;
• Earning three-year accreditation from CARF International for the UVMC Inpatient Rehabilitation Program.