Letter to the Editor
From time to time, we receive feedback from patients who have reported uncomfortable or unsatisfying experiences at Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital, some due to issues of equity and inclusion. While we would never refuse service or knowingly discriminate, even innocent lapses may result in patients hesitating to seek care here because of an unpleasant experience.
We want our community to know that we are actively working on many items as part of our Equity & Inclusion efforts because we want to become a better employer and health care provider. We are:
- Changing our electronic medical record to make it more helpful to us and our patients’ needs.
- Sharing suggested scripting that can help staff navigate unfamiliar or uncomfortable conversations.
- Reactivating our Patient and Family Advisory Council to advise us on all topics related to the patient experience.
- Forming Samaritan Employee Resource Groups to help advise on topics concerning diversity, equity and inclusion.
- Working with our SHS Equity and Inclusion Council, the American Hospital Association, and others to adopt training materials and outline strategic plans.
- Identifying ways we can indicate LGBTQ+ clinical interests in provider online biographies so patients can search this information by name and location.
In addition, our clinicians are already required to complete training on gender identity and we have made significant changes to our phone trees so they are more welcoming to our Spanish-speaking patients. We already indicate languages spoken by our providers in their online biographies and that information is searchable on the samhealth.org website under “Find a Doc.” We continue to refine our language interpretation policies and services in order to not only remain compliant with recently enacted laws, but to have safer services for our non-English-speaking patients.
Even with all these efforts, we can still do more. We encourage our patients to partner with us and let us know if we can do something differently to improve their health care experience. Along these lines, we have a new position, our Patient Experience Coordinator, who is exclusively devoted to understanding patient experiences at our two coastal hospitals. If you have comments on your hospital experience, you can reach our coordinator at SHSServiceExcellence@samhealth.org or 541-768-5701.
Lesley Ogden, MD, Chief Executive Officer
Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital & Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital