When Norm Roth took over the helm at Greenwich Hospital in June of 2015, he had ambitious plans on the horizon. A year later, Roth sat down to speak to Serendipity about what changes he’s instigated so far and what he’s working towards going forward for this beloved local institution.
What are some highlights of your tenure so far?
First and foremost, we wanted to reemphasize and strengthen the culture of patient experience and family-centered care, and take it to the next level. Recently we’ve been recognized by the Women’s Choice Awards for being of the 100 best hospitals in the country for patient experience. Leapfrog recognized us as one of the safest hospitals in the country.
And what specific areas have you been working on expanding or improving?
We’re strengthening the depth, breadth and scope of clinical services. In the last 12 months, we’ve added two additional interventional cardiologists to our staff. One of the physicians has initiated and started the women’s cardiovascular center at 15 Valley Drive in Greenwich, that will have exercise and nutrition counseling. We’ve added a second breast surgeon who specializes in breast cancer and a second radiation oncologist and expanded the equipment in that department. Last September we started the Telemetry/ICU which is connected to the intensive care unit; it consists of Yale-New Haven physicians specially trained in intensive care medicine. From 7 p.m. at night to 7 a.m. in the morning, our patients in the ICU are being monitored electronically by these intensivists in addition to our attending physicians and nurses. In terms of our Oncology department, we have added a pain management specialist who is an anesthesiologist. On the surgical side of the house we’ve also added a colorectal surgeon to our staff. And to support the development of surgical techniques, we’ve acquired a surgical robot.
Last time we spoke you mentioned facility improvements and increasing outpatient services—are these still a priority?
Yes, we’re in the middle phase of a six phase project to modernize our emergency department which should be done by fall. This will include private rooms and separate spaces for children. We’re actively in construction of a 55,000 square foot outpatient center at 260 Long Ridge Road in Stamford. It will have a muskoskeletal center and endocrinology, rheumatology and primary care physicians. It will be a comprehensive center and we expect to have a soft opening in August; September 14 will be the formal ribbing cutting. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention our application for magnet status, sponsored by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. They recognize nursing staff for extraordinary levels of care. Our application was accepted and we are scheduled for a site visit in June, and based on that site visit they will determine whether or not Greenwich Hospital should be recognized as a magnet hospital. I believe we are already a magnet organization.
What has surprised you about your experience at Greenwich Hospital?
One of the things that surprised me is that we didn’t have all private rooms. We’re looking at relocating some of the hospital-based outpatient services, likely in Greenwich, to have more private rooms. I believe private rooms are a standard of care that promotes health and family interaction with patients and you can avoid the isolation issues that happen in hospitals. Also, I always heard that the culture here was pretty extraordinary but actually living it for two years it is, quite frankly, beyond extraordinary. There is a warmth and compassion in this organization, whether you work in a direct support service or caregiver role or in the business office. Recently we had our annual recognition dinner, where we recognized employees with five to 50 years of service, and we had 250 employees celebrating. The loyalty, dedication and respect that the employees have for each other is overwhelming.
Greenwich Hospital is known for it support from and for the community. What have been some of your favorite events you’ve attended?
One of the other incredible aspects of the Greenwich community is how generous they are, both with philanthropy dollars and with their time. We have over 600 volunteers who gave us 60,000 hours of volunteer work last year. This year we launched Taste of the Towns, and on June 25 we’ll have our Under the Stars event which is supporting our neonatal ICU and pediatric services. We’re recognizing two women who were founders of the event and who were instrumental in putting together major philanthropy efforts for the NICU, Maureen O’Connor Bonanno and Dana Rogers. We’ll have the gala in October, and this year proceeds will go to support continued develop and expansion of our cardiology services. We also get generous gifts from individuals who have had positive experiences at Greenwich Hospital.
Do any examples stand out for you of a happy patient?
I received a letter from a women who had her third baby at Greenwich Hospital. She said she drove by two other hospitals because she had heard about the family experience here and she said it lived up to her expectations, and if she had another baby, she would come back.
What are your goals for the future?
We’re going to continue to develop a much more significant outpatient presence in CT and possibly in New York. We’re going to continue and grow the scope of services. We’re going to look to increase the number of neurologists on our staff. We’re actively recruiting for two additional pulmonologists. We’re talking about adding another cardiologist who specializes in heart failure. We’re considering expanding and specializing our pediatric service where our goal would be to have a pediatrician in the hospital 24/7 to improve the care for our smallest patients, in addition to the full staffing we have in our neonatal unit. We are expanding our surgical specialties. I want to see more private rooms and in 18 months open a new unit with all private rooms. I’d also like to move more into population health and our responsibility will not only be related to people’s hospital stay, but in keeping patients out of the hospital. That’s where we need to go if we’re going to get our arms around health care costs in this country.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I continue to be so honored to be serving as president of Greenwich Hospital.