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Expanding for the future

14 Oct 2018

By: Cheryl Wolfe, President and CEO

View as a webpage   Cheryl Nester Wolfe

You have probably heard rumors about a potential campus expansion in the next few years. The proposal is for an additional tower next to Building A that could add up to 150 new beds. Our Board of Trustees is investigating this possibility to decide if construction is the correct answer for the challenges ahead. The board has not yet made a decision about a campus expansion, but I wanted to be transparent and make everyone aware of these high-level discussions.

One thing I know about Salem Health employees is that you understand and live our mission: To improve the health and well-bmeing of the people and communities we serve. One of the key challenges a new tower might help address is serving the growing and aging population of the Mid-Willamette Valley.

While the overall population is projected to increase by 30 percent in the next 20 years, the population of 60- to 80-year-olds will rise by more than 50 percent. Elderly people have more complex health needs, and our community depends on us to provide the right care for them. We take this responsibility seriously.

Even with conscientious and thorough planning, increasing capacity with new beds will be expensive. Your Lean work helps us save for the future and serve more people by increasing efficiencies and decreasing costs.

Our emergency department expansion and Meds to Beds program are both examples of this valuable kind of work. The ED expansion improved our processes and models of care to decrease the amount of time patients wait to see providers and their average length of stay. Meds to Beds allows patients to receive their prescriptions before discharge, at their bedside, reducing stress and likelihood of readmission. These are both cost-effective solutions to improve our quality of care and the patient experience.

All of your work helps make efforts like these possible. Thank you for your interest not only in your day-to-day work, but also in the future of our organization. It is a privilege to work among such engaged and passionate professionals. I look forward to providing more information about the possible expansion as our plans solidify.