RGH putting focus on patient

Mickey Winfield

Roosevelt General Hospital wants to know how they’re doing — not with surgery and checkups, but with smiles and customer service.

Like mixing unpleasant but necessary cough syrup with a flavored compound to help it go down easier, hospital administrators want to provide their medical care with a heavy dose of excellent customer service.

Tammy Phillips is the risk management and the emergency preparedness director for RGH and she also serves on a hospital satisfaction survey committee.

The committee consists of three people, who look at the claims and complaints on a monthly basis.

“We look at all of the patient claims or problems and we try to make sure to write personal apology letters. We (also) would have asked them to come out and have a meal with us,” Phillips said. “We identify if it’s a positive or a negative reaction. If it’s negative, we take that complaint to the department that they are addressing and (we) have the department manager address the behavior that made the customer unhappy.”

Hospital administrators say that when a patient or family member has a bad experience, oftentimes they don’t leave any feedback.

“We had a patient who ended up one time who had to wait a very long time in the waiting room,” Phillips said. “(We) ended up not getting to do the procedure because our equipment broke down. We weren’t able to send that patient an apology letter.”

Susan Ritter is a licensed practical nurse at RGH since November, and says customer service can be overlooked in the medical field because of the nationwide nursing shortage — that’s an oversight RGH wants to avoid.

“We like to keep our reputation and our standards for patient care high. We like to know that patients and their families are comfortable while they’re here,” Ritter said. “As much as we don’t want to see patients come back, we like that they come back because they choose our service over other hospitals.”

Ritter also said that they receive letters from former patients commenting on the quality of customer service received while in the care of the hospital.

“We take our surveys very seriously,” Phillips said. “This is the county’s facility. All of our patients have ownership in this hospital. It is their facility and we are there to meet their needs.”

Roosevelt General Hospital’s mission statement shows the commitment the health care facility strives to achieve in both their medical care as well as their customer service skills.

The statement reads: “Caring for you to make a better tomorrow.”

“We really stand behind that. We believe that we’re there to make a difference for today and tomorrow,” Phillips said. “We want to be able to give the best service in this part of New Mexico that we can.”