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JFL Board Presents Hospital Plans to Latino Community

A half dozen residents showed up at  the Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital town hall meeting Tuesday night at El Flamboyant in Estate Profit, where JFL’s executive team presented updates about improvements to the medical center and took questions in Spanish.

This was the second town hall meeting where JFL officials presented updates on the St. Croix hospital and this one was geared to the Hispanic community.

Residents were intensely engaged as they were told how the hospital could service them.

Dr. Raymond Cintron delivered most of the presentation. He spoke about the need for more staff to make emergency services quicker.

Acting Chief Executive Officer Richard T. Evangelista was the moderator.

Hazel Philbert, who is charged with improving patient relations at the hospital, talked about initiatives that would improve patients’ experience at the emergency room.  She said there was a community education program going forward so patients “would know what to expect when they go to the emergency room.”

Residents were also told what documents were necessary when going for emergency room service and how the hospital is trying to speed up that service.

Philbert also said critical forms were being translated into Spanish so those speakers would know better what was going on. She expressed concern about patients leaving the emergency room because they felt they waited too long without being seen.

An audience member raised the concern that people in the emergency room were not updated, that patients understood that the most serious cases would be taken first, but no acknowledgement was given to the status or any patient waiting. Another resident noted that emergency staff, even those who could speak Spanish, refused to speak it.

Tim Lessing, chief financial officer at the hospital, responded to a question about whether the hospital could access a patient’s previous medical records. He said the hospital had recently updated its computers to be able to have all that information available, but was still working on getting the software that would make it possible to connect with all territorial doctors’ database and even expand to collect information from state-side doctors. He called it the health information network.

Senator Nereida Rivera O’Reilly, who requested that something be done to reach out to the Hispanic community after a November town hall meeting, said, “I am happy they did this, but I am sad that there was not a bigger turnout.”

Aracelis Bermudez-Walcott, the new chair of the governing board of directors, said after the meeting, “The new board is a non-nonsense board.  We can come together to make this work.”

She emphasized that complaining to oversight agencies “just hurts us” and encouraged residents to come to the board with their complaints and concerns, adding that there would be more outreach events.

The hospital recently submitted a plan of correction to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that details the corrective actions to address the deficiencies that were identified during a complaint survey conducted by CMS on Nov. 10.

Board officials said Tuesday night that the plan would not be made public until it was accepted by CMS.

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