Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

February 28, 2014

Sick patient can be saved

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat — Jim Clough wasn’t so sure at first if Pauls Valley General Hospital could be saved when he arrived to serve as its chief executive officer.

Although the hospital continues to face big time financial problems Clough is now much more optimistic the facility can not only stay open but strong here in PV.

“When I got here I found some people believed the hospital was like a terminal patient,” Clough said.

“When I began looking into it I saw it more as a critically sick patient that could be saved,” he said. “This is a patient that’s not terminal and we can get it turned around.

“I plan on this hospital being here a long time. I see a real opportunity here. We just need to start making good business decisions.

“We now have a clear road map where we can turn this around.”

Clough was brought in to serve as the CEO by New Light Healthcare, which is currently working with the city of Pauls Valley to manage the local hospital.

Now Clough and plenty of others are working hard to better inform PV voters on a half cent sales tax on the ballot for an election on Tuesday, March 4.

All of the revenues from the tax, estimated to be around $600,000 a year, would be used to upgrade the hospital’s diagnostic equipment.

In the mean time Clough believes there other factors that play into the hospital’s chances of survival, such as a stronger focus on doing even the small things right.

That, Clough stresses, starts with good old fashioned customer service.

He believes the first step in improving things at PV’s hospital is to treat patients and their families the right way.

“If you don’t treat people right you’ll be a loser at the end of the day,” Clough said. “It doesn’t cost a dime to smile and treat people right.

“We’ve got some really good employees that have been through hell and back because of the uncertainty about the hospital’s future.

“I felt the number one thing with employees was to give them hope.”

Help from those employees is sure to play a big part in getting things turned around right away.

“I need help to create an environment for doing what we do to provide quality health care,” he said.

“We need to reverse the reputation of this hospital. We’ve really got to get back and focus on basic things we should be doing. There are some things we are doing immediately to turn this around.

“We have to regain your trust and support. That’s one of my top priorities coming in here.”

Despite all the optimism Clough sees plenty of challenges in turning it around and making the local hospital strong again.

“Right now what we’re doing is crisis management,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of challenges but we have good people in place and we’ve got the support of the community.

“I don’t ever recall seeing anything so challenging. We’re going to get this thing turned around. This thing can make it. It can viable.”