Dr. Roger Ray
Contact: Tammy G. Love
Director of Marketing & Medical Staff Development
Phone: (336) 651-8116
By CHARLES S. WILLIAMS
Wilkes Journal-Patriot Staff
Dr. Roger Ray, the executive vice president and chief medical officer for Carolina Healthcare Services &340;CHS), spoke Tuesday night on "Health Reform and the High Performing Medical Staff," at a dinner meeting for local physicians, Wilkes Regional Medical Center (WRMC), WRMC board members and administrative staff members, and guests at the John A. Walker Center in Wilkesboro.
WRMC is managed, under a contract with the WRMC Operating Board, by CHS.
Ray said one of the main issues facing health care in the future is the growing number of senior citizens. The number of Americans 65 and older will grow from 35 million in 2008 to 70 million by 2030. He said, "7,000 baby boomers every day in America are turning 65."
He also spoke of the improvements in health care in recent years, adding that doctors today are faced with more complex cases.
"Many of the patients who are being treated on the regular floor now would have been in the intensive care unit 10 years ago, and many in the ICU today wouldn't have survived 10 year ago." he said. He added that, with fewer doctors and more complex cases in the future, "the health care industry will be depending more on mid-level practitioners."
In the future, he said, "Inpatients will be sicker, the requirements of performance will be higher, and the financial pressures will intensify. To be successful, we must have medical staffs that identify, develop and support leaders, function effectively as team leaders, and pursue high reliability."
Dr. Ray also discussed the cost of health care, saying, "Health care costs have risen to an unsustainable level, from 5.2 percent of the gross domestic product in 1960 to 17 percent in 2009. That compares to 10.5 percent in Germany, 9.1 percent in Italy, 8.7 percent in the United Kingdom, and 8.1 percent in Japan."
He told the members of the WRMC staff, "You should be congratulated on the improvement you have made on your performance and customer satisfaction in the past year. Wilkes Regional ranked near the top among all hospitals in the CHS system."
He noted that 67 percent of patients responding to surveys said they would recommend Wilkes Regional to a friend or family member, and 71 percent ranked the service they received at 9 or 10 on a scale of 10 (with 10 being the highest level of service).
As a system, Ray said, "CHS is safer and more efficient than we were two or four years ago. But, there is still room for improvement. We can be safer and more efficient. That's the goal in all of our facilities."