West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital CEO Janie Frugé was the guest speaker at the October meeting of the West Calcasieu Chamber of Commerce, held at Delta Downs in Vinton last Thursday. Pictured from left are WCCC Past Chair Jody Barrilleaux, Frugé, WCCC Executive Director Lena McArthur, and WCCC Chair Ethan Miller.

West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital’s top executive spoke of significant investment in capital improvement and services, and growing recognition for the facility’s operational excellence to members of the West Calcasieu Chamber of Commerce last Thursday.

CEO Janie Frugé, FACHE, who has been employed with the hospital for more than 20 years, took on the role of CEO in 2013. Prior to that she served as the hospital’s Chief Operating Officer/Chief Officer of Nursing. She is currently a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

“WCCH was established in 1953. It’s a hospital service district, so I really like to call it your hospital, because if you live or do business in our service district, this is your hospital,” said Frugé. The hospital’s five-member board is comprised of representatives from each municipality in its service district which includes Sulphur, Carlyss, Westlake, Hackberry and Vinton.

WCCH is a medium-sized, acute-care hospital, licensed for 107 beds. WCCH facilities operate with about 600 full-time and 750 part-time employees. Frugé said there are about 3,000 admissions a year, which translates to a “little over 10,000 patient days.” Annually, there are about 50,000 outpatient visits and 5,000 surgeries performed. Emergency room visits have increased to about 30,000 annually. “We’ve had a lot of extra volume,” said Frugé. “Especially after some of the hurricanes.”

The hospital’s footprint is continually expanding to address the growing needs of its district. In total, WCCH runs five physician clinics, three rural health clinics, two diagnostic centers, two fitness centers and home health services. More than $2 million was spent in 2015-16 on capital improvements including equipment purchases and repairs, and IT upgrades.

Frugé said a lot has been done over the past decade to address emergency room waits. “Obviously, we don’t want people to wait when they come for care,” she said. “They don’t come to see the waiting room; they come to see a doctor or nurse practitioner.” There has been a decrease from 3 percent to 2 percent of ER customers waiting more than three hours for care. Patient throughput times have decreased and a fast track has been added to the department from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m., Sunday through Wednesday. Frugé said data indicated that’s when the department experiences increased volume.

“Uncompensated care, one of our greatest challenges right now, is running at $10 million,” said Frugé. “That’s quite an increase (31 percent annually) since 2013, when Moss Regional was privatized.”

Frugé noted that Louisiana is one of the states that chose Medicaid Expansion. “Just to put it into perspective, a Medicaid patient is about a 90 percent write-off of our gross charges,” she said. That’s coupled with nearly $14 million in “bad debt” annually from patients unable to pay insurance deductibles or their portion of treatment costs. To address this, WCCH has worked with the state for additional reimbursement to offset the costs. “So far we’ve been successful and we’ve had a whole lot of help from our legislative delegation,” she said.

WCCH has received its fair share of accolades. The hospital was surveyed and approved a year-and-a-half ago for Joint Commission Accreditation. Fewer than 10 recommendations were made to the hospital by the commission for possible improvements. “Nowadays, the average number of recommendations is around 18,” said Frugé. “That’s almost unheard of in surveys these days.”

WCCH labs are accredited by the College of American Pathologists. Frugé said accreditation surveys are unannounced,” as they should be. CAP popped in on WCCH last week.

“Our staff did very well. We don’t play dress up,” said Frugé. “We do this every day for our patients.”

The hospital’s breast feeding program has received GIFT certification and the Leapfrog Group, an independent organization that uses different outcomes data to rate hospitals on an “A” through “F” scale, gave WCCH the highest mark in safety. “We’re one of the only hospitals locally with a rating “A” said Frugé.

Other achievements include the Women’s Choice Award, The Blue Distinction for Maternity Care, the 2016 Outstanding Patient Experience Award, which puts the facility in the top 15 percent in the U.S., and a 4-Star rating from CMS.

“We have a great group of physicians directing our care,” said Frugé. “Our leadership starts with our Board of Commissioners, who set very high standards for what kind of a hospital we want to have. And then we’ve got just a great leadership team executing on a daily basis.”