Last week, I had the privilege of visiting our Correctional Managed Care (CMC) clinics and infirmaries at the Walls Unit and Estelle Unit, as well as our CMC pharmacy in Huntsville. The people I met and the work that they do is nothing short of amazing!
What makes their work so outstanding?
First, they are passionate about everything they do. At the Walls Unit, Regional Dental Director, CMC, Dr. John Beason, gave us a tour of the dental facility in a small but extremely well-organized and clean clinic. It was clear that each person there was very proud of the work they and their colleagues do, and their enthusiasm for their work was palpable.
Special thanks to Nurse Manager, Beth Pipkin, for organizing the tour of the infirmary and historic section of the Walls Unit, led by Sergeant John Heil. The Walls Unit is the oldest prison in the state, established in 1848 and was once home to the Texas Prison Rodeo, which ended in 1986.
Secondly, they pride themselves in their delivery of cost effective care. Each person I spoke with in every area I toured could tell me how their work has contributed to the ability of UTMB’s CMC operation to achieve a per member per day cost of just a little over $9 per day. To put that into perspective, the cost in California for offender care is $48 per day!
Dr. Stephanie Zepeda, Director of Pharmacy Services, CMC, showed me around the 20,000 square foot pharmacy facility which operates as a mail order business with next day delivery. Stephanie could hardly fit all the information about the pharmacy into the tour, which is understandable when one considers that the team provides services to approximately 156,000 patients at 125 facilities statewide, with customers including the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and Texas Juvenile Justice Department.
Stephanie showed me how they saved over $10 million per year by having a very effective and compliant recycling program for returned pharmaceuticals. Their automation, most of which was custom built, enables the pharmacy to dispense nearly 4.5 million prescriptions each year, approximately 375,000 each month, and over 18,000 a day with an average prescription cost of only $8.53.
At the Estelle Unit, I met Radiology Technician, Misty Hawkins, who later told me that she loves working at UTMB so much that she hopes to retire from the organization!
Finally, the quality of the care was outstanding! At the Estelle Unit, Dr. Dave Khurana, Medical Director of Nephrology and Dialysis for CMC, showed me around the unit, which currently has the largest dialysis census for a single hemodialysis clinic in the State of Texas at a capacity of 222. The quality of what they do is nothing short of amazing. They are now able to download dialysis information into the EMR in real-time, which has been a huge satisfier for the medical team. In addition, their use of an AV fistula, which is considered the best long-term vascular access for hemodialysis (compared to central venous catheters), consistently meets and/or exceeds both state and national performance by nearly 12% according to standards identified by the National Kidney Foundation and KDOQI guidelines. In fact, their quality is so outstanding that they skew the data in each survey in which they are included!
What struck me most about this tour is the tremendous variety in each person’s role at UTMB and how our contributions allow our organization to meet its mission and achieve its vision. I am fortunate to see the UTMB values — compassion, integrity, respect, diversity and lifelong learning — alive and well through the work that you do each and every day!
Stay tuned for more detailed stories about the tour complete with lots of photos about my visit in upcoming issues of Friday Focus.