Joseph Sluka Covers Large Territory for St Charles Health System

first_img on September 8, 2015 Share. Joseph Sluka Covers Large Territory for St. Charles Health System Facebook St. Charles Cancer Center E-Headlines Joseph Sluka was named president and CEO of the St. Charles Health System and began to lead the organization December 1, 2014. Sluka came to Bend from Rapid City, South Dakota where he was executive vice president and chief administrative officer for Regional Health for four years.The St. Charles board of directors voted unanimously to hire Sluka to lead the St. Charles Health System as chief executive officer.Sluka oversees operations in Bend, Madras, Sisters and Redmond with 180 medical providers, over 3,400 caregivers, more than 350 active medical staff and nearly 200 visiting medical staff members.Much of Sluka’s first few months on the job were spent getting to know as many people in Central Oregon’s health care community as he could. He regularly travels back and forth between each of the hospitals attending various staff meetings.As CEO of the St. Charles Health System Sluka covers quite an expansive stretch of Central Oregon between the four hospitals. With an equal obligation to each hospital and the large service area comes the additional responsibility of getting to know the specific needs of each distinctive community.“Over the past nine months I have enjoyed spending time in each community meeting individuals, learning the history of Central Oregon and gaining an understanding of priorities, concerns and issues. I have attended many community events in Bend, Redmond, Prineville and Madras and have enjoyed hearing the community’s thoughts about how to improve health care services throughout our region. One area of focus has been spending time with the St. Charles caregivers through rounding in their departments at the different facilities,” Sluka said.The St. Charles Health System is currently in the process of some significant expansions with the new 62,000 square foot St. Charles Prineville hospital project nearing completion that will open on September 21st, 2015. A renovation and expansion project at the St. Charles Madras hospitalis just about to break ground with the goal of providing health care service improvements in Jefferson County. The St. Charles Bend tower remodel project is also underway and intends to provide a more comfortable healing environment for patients and their families while updating important infrastructure so that the building will last the community for many more years.The new Prineville hospital will be offering a sneak peek opportunity on September 12 from 10am to 2pm to view the facility before it officially opens.In addition to the current construction projects with various upgrades, remodels and new facility, Sluka says that St. Charles will be announcing plans for additional clinics in the near future. The organization also plans on opening a new primary care and immediate care clinic in south Bend.Sluka has had nine months of adapting to Bend and St. Charles but says it has been a smooth transitiondue to the many similarities to Rapid City geographically and also between the health care organizations.“The organization where I worked in South Dakota has many similarities to St. Charles Health System including the geography, structure, as well as the number of hospitals and clinics. I believe health care organizations throughout the country are facing similar challenges as we work to transform the way care is provided. At St. Charles, we want to promote wellness and address health care concerns before they become emergency situations,” Sluka said.Sluka has a large task ahead for not only maintaining the quality of care and reputation of St. Charles but making short and long term changes to continue improving the organization in an ever-changing healthcare industry. One of his most paramount strategies for accomplishing this feat is “lean practices” which focuses on high level efficiency while allowing patient care providers more opportunities to create change.“I have been so impressed with the caregivers throughout St. Charles Health System and know that they are truly called to the health care profession because they want to make a difference in people’s lives,” Sluka said.There are four critical foundation areas St. Charles is focused on in the short-term, according to Sluka.– The first is creating a “culture of safety and ensuring that caregivers have the tools they need to provide quality care for our communities.”– The organization recently launched the “Value Improvement Practice initiative that relies on Lean methodologies to develop a culture of continuous improvement. The goal is to reduce waste in our processes and remove barriers for our frontline caregivers.”– The third goal is a plan of reviewing the organizations cost structure to ensure that the financial means are in place to support care givers, technology and infrastructure needed for a high performing healthcare system.– St. Charles is also focused on the future of healthcare by “looking at our information systems to make sure we have the right systems to take St. Charles into the future. With the health care landscape changing as fast as it ever has, it is imperative that we develop a plan that will position St. Charles to continue to serve our communities and achieve our vision of creating America’s healthiest community, together.”These short term initiatives are the first step in the process of developing a larger five year strategic plan.One challenge Sluka and the entire St. Charles Health System faces is in facilitating cooperation between caregivers, administrators and other staff at each of the various hospitals. With over 3,600 caregivers and more than 20 clinics separated by several miles, yet all a part of one system, Sluka and his staff have initiatives in place to encourage caregivers to work together in various capacities to bring the entire system together. The goal is to transition from a medical model to a team-based, integrated patient-centered care model.“Our leaders from each of the campuses and St. Charles Medical Group meet every week to discuss the health system’s ongoing initiatives and strategies. With large projects — like the opening of St. Charles Prineville or the development of our Value Improvement Practice — caregivers from many departments throughout the system work cross functionally to accomplish tasks and goals,” Sluka said.While he has personally had several months now to acclimate to the new region, new organization, and new community of Central Oregon, Sluka is looking forward to the rest of his family joining in just a few weeks. Their arrival in Oregon will complete the transition and bring the entire family within driving distance once again.“I have thoroughly enjoyed my first nine months in Central Oregon. This area has so much to offer but it is the people that make it special. I felt welcomed into the community from the first day I arrived,” Sluka said.His wife and son stayed in South Dakota for the summer as his son was finishing his senior year of high school and his wife has been preparing their house to sell. The two of them will be making the move to Oregon as his son prepares to start his freshman year at Oregon State University and his wife will join in Bend full-time.“They have both spent time with me in Bend and absolutely love the area. My son is interested in rock climbing and even managed to convince me to experience it myself at the Bend Rock Gym during a recent visit. Our daughter and her husband live in Eastern Washington and we recently welcomed our first grand baby to the family. We are thrilled to be close enough for frequent visits,” Sluka said.With current and future expansions, new medical care facilities, lean practice strategies, and a focus on creating cohesion between each of the clinics Joseph Sluka certainly has the St. Charles Health System heading in the right direction. It is an exciting time for the health care system as Sluka’s vision and leadership begin to take shape to provide exceptional care in an effort to make Central Oregon America’s healthiest community.St. Charles Health SystemBend, Redmond, Prineville, and Sisters.www.stcharleshealthcare.orgPresident/CEO: Joseph Sluka, MBAEmployees: 120 employed medical providers, 3,400 caregivers, more than 350 active medical staff members and approximately 200 visiting medical staff members.Year established: 1918Products/Services: oversees healthcare services and facility at hospitals in Redmond, Madras, Prineville and Bend.Hot News: Expansions and future plans in the St. Charles Health System. By David Clewett CBN Feature Writer Twitter Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn 0 Email Tumblrlast_img

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