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Community Focus Group – Membership and Issues Raised

Community Focus Group Membership

Lauren Alberti — Realtor, Coldwell-Banker

Jonathan Baker — Pastor, Epworth United Methodist Church

Alysia D’Ambrogi* — Teacher, Bethel Christian Church

Lisa Flowers–La Torre* — Community Legal Aid Society, Georgetown

Marie Hagen* — Senior Systems Engineer, TASC, Inc.

Lori Schell* — Owner/Operator, Kids Cottage

Peter C Schwartzkopf — State Representative, 14th District, State of Delaware

F. Gary Simpson — State Senator, 18th District, University of Delaware

Dr. Ileana M. Smith — Vice-President & Campus Director, Delaware Technical & Community College, Georgetown

Dr. Richard Todd — Clinical Psychologist, Shore View Medical

Chris Weeks* — Business Development Manager, Becker Morgan Group

* Parents of pre-school children

Issues Raised by the Focus Group Members

While the members were impressed with the thoroughness and detail of the report, they thought it was too cumbersome and detailed to be appreciated by the general public. It needed to be simplified, and written in a format that would make it both interesting to read and informative. Because there is a perception that something "fell through the cracks," the Medical Center needs to create opportunities for face-to-face discussions and conversations to help rebuild trust. This would be an important step in the healing process that needs to occur. The concept of peer review is not something the general public understands, and the report must provide a simple explanation of the peer review process, how it works, the checks and balances that should exist, etc. The Bradley incidents raise the issue of bullying, and the need for victims and those who are most vulnerable in our community to have a voice. The hospital should consider addressing this topic in its report. There are many stakeholders and important constituent groups in our community that could utilize the support of the medical community going forward. For example, the day-care centers in our community would welcome classes to help educate parents on what they need to understand about those individuals/professionals who are entrusted to care for their children. The internal process changes that Beebe has implemented appear to be very positive and important, but Beebe needs to go beyond its own walls in terms of helping the general public understand the changes not just at Beebe, but also those changes that have occurred as a result of the multiple bills that have been passed by the General Assembly. The focus group members felt this was a real opportunity for Beebe Medical Center to take a leadership role in this needed effort. Churches and clergy are another important group of stakeholders that would be willing to help Beebe get out the critical messages in terms of educating the general public. Although the report does not address the matter directly, one of the critical issues that should be addressed is how the medical community can go about re-building trust with the general public. This is something that is best accomplished by speaking to many individuals, groups, and organizations in our community about what Beebe Medical Center and the Medical Staff are doing to ensure something like this could never happen again. Beebe is not taking advantage of social networks such as Facebook and Twitter that could be very helpful in getting out important messages, as well as receiving feedback after the report has been released. Although the state has taken steps to improve the ability of professionals and the general public to report unprofessional conduct and behavior, it is not easily understood when attempting to read the various bills and legislation. This is an area where Beebe could provide a valuable service to the community to help simplify the messages and become more of a resource for people who have concerns or issues. For many people, this will be more important than the internal process changes that have been implemented, as the public will expect Beebe Medical Center and the doctors to provide a safe environment. The Chaperone Policy is very complicated and should be simplified to help the public understand the purpose of the policy and how it is intended to protect and safeguard the most vulnerable individuals in our community. Beebe should consider "patient friendly" signage throughout the hospital that would help educate individuals whenever they come to Beebe Medical Center and help reinforce the critical safety issues for parents and children. The report is too long and should be shortened to perhaps 3–4 pages, with the details being attachments or appendices to the report. The report should be viewed as an "Executive Summary" of everything that has changed and how it affects parents and their children. The public doesn't understand the relationships between the Medical Center and the Medical Staff. The report should address those relationships. And if the hospital is not responsible for what goes on in the private physician office, what can Beebe and the doctors talk about that has changed to better protect the public? Beebe needs to adopt a marketing perspective when thinking about the various messages it wants to communicate. There are many different critical stakeholders in our community (parents, teachers, day-care providers, churches, schools, etc.), and the messages to each of those groups need to vary based upon how the medical community can help and support those groups/individuals to be vigilant and understanding of the new rules and laws, and more helpful in terms of educating each of the various stakeholders. The report also needs to address Beebe's responsibility for the incomplete investigation, what went wrong, and how the changes that have been implemented will prevent a recurrence. At the same time, the community also needs to become "self-monitoring," and Beebe will need to play a major role in helping the community get to that point.