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Lompoc Valley Medical Center was notified this week that it has received the honor of being named one of the “100 SafeCare Hospitals®”  2014-15”  for achieving the best overall performance among 3,500 acute care, nonfederal hospitals.

This distinction uniquely identifies the country’s best healthcare institutions based on robust, evidence-based criteria of the Affordable Care Act.

LVMC was specifically named for Overall Best Processes of Care; Best Outcomes of Care and Best Efficacy of Care.

Only the 100 hospitals under 100 beds with the highest scores made the “100 SafeCare Hospitals Under 100 Beds” list. Only five other hospitals of this size in California achieved the rating.

“There are a total of 3,500 hospitals in the country under 100 beds and this is a remarkable acknowledgement of the dedication and skill of Lompoc Valley Medical Center staff,” said Chief Executive Officer Jim Raggio. “We are proud of our accomplishment.”

Registered Nurse Sasha Keller has been promoted to the position of Medical/Surgical Department Nursing Director.

Keller, a Lompoc High School graduate, is now responsible for the nursing care of patients in the Medical/Surgical Department, including supporting all aspects of patient care, ensuring staffing levels are adequate for the department’s needs, monitoring nursing practices, ensuring all licensure requirements/credentials/certificates for personnel are valid and current, among other administrative duties.

“I felt like nursing is a profession that really advocates for individuals,” Keller says. “I felt like we were given skills, or obtained skills, that are there to guide and help people to live a better life. In other professions, it’s the same, but it was a calling to me. I feel so fortunate. It was a gift to find my calling, my passion.”

Lompoc Valley Medical Center announces the hiring of Katie Ellis as Director of Nursing for the Comprehensive Care Center, a 110-bed comprehensive rehabilitation and skilled nursing facility.

Ellis is responsible for 185 employees, including 135 full-time staff workers, at the facility located at 216 N. 3rd St. The Comprehensive Care Center provides physical, occupational, speech and intravenous therapy.

Ellis began working part-time at Lompoc Valley Medical Center in 2010 as a registered nurse in the Critical Care Unit, and at the end of 2011 became a full-time employee. She soon took on the position of Charge Nurse, working as a liaison between nursing staff and management. She moved into the job of Nurse Manager in CCU in 2013 and then to the job of Director of the CCU.

Since she was a young child growing up in Whittier, CA. Ellis said she it was always her dream to become a nurse. She began her work career as a receptionist at an urgent care facility and later spent 13 years as the office manager in a Santa Maria chiropractor’s office. She has also worked at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo and Marian Medical Center in Santa Maria.

Linual A. White Jr attended his first meeting December 18 as the newest member of the Lompoc Valley Medical Center Board of Directors.

White ran unopposed in the November election for a four-year term on the board. Board President Frank Signorelli retired this year after 41 years on the board.

During the board meeting, longtime member Ray Down was unanimously approved to serve as President of the board. Roger McConnell was unanimously approved as secretary.

White, a native of El Centro, served as the Fire Chief of the Lompoc Fire Department from July 2002 until his retirement in December 2009. This is his first elective office.

L. Wayne Mills has been named the new Chief Financial Officer for Lompoc Valley Medical Center.
 Mills, who began his new position Jan. 5, replaces longtime CFO Bob Baden, who retired Dec. 31, 2014 after 17 years with the district.

Mills is a respected healthcare executive with an extensive history in rural healthcare districts and financial management.

At LVMC, he will be responsible for the accounting and finance functions of LVMC, the Comprehensive Care Center and the Champion Center; health plan contracting and negotiations; budgeting and financial reporting and monitoring and controlling the assets and fiscal commitments of the hospital district, among other duties.

“We are very fortunate to have Wayne join Lompoc Valley Medical Center,” said CEO Jim Raggio. “Wayne brings a wealth of knowledge to LVMC regarding the complexity of health care financing as related to all California hospitals and California Healthcare Districts. His professional expertise is complimented by his remarkable management skills and makes him a fantastic cultural fit with our organization.”

DenMat the Lompoc manufacturer of PeriOptix Loupes and the Flashlite LED curing light – today presented a $6,000 check to the Lompoc Valley Medical Center.

LVMC Chief Operations Officer Naishadh Buch and Director of Diagnostic Imaging Tim Stout attended the ceremony at DenMat Headquarters to accept the donation on behalf of the Lompoc Hospital Foundation.

The check represents a portion of DenMat’s October sales from the annual American Dental Association meeting in San Antonio, TX, as well as a portion of sales from the special pink-themed loupes and curing lights released in October in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Dr. Rodney Huss has been named 2014 Physician of the Year at Lompoc Valley Medical Center.

An obstetrician and gynecologist, Dr. Huss was chosen by LVMC staff for exemplifying Lompoc Valley Medical Center’s values and for maintaining the trust of the community, patients and residents; for continuously striving to improve services; for communicating openly and honestly and for working as a team member with hospital staff.

Dr. Huss is in solo practice in Lompoc, and estimates he has delivered well more than 10,000 babies in his career.

“I love my job,” he said. “It feels great. There are not many jobs where you’re called into work at 2 a.m. and you can be happy about it. About 99 percent of the time it’s a fun and happy time.”

Lompoc Valley Medical Center CEO Jim Raggio called Dr. Huss an amazing physician.

Lompoc Valley Medical Center is pleased to announce that Dustin Cheney has accepted the position of Controller.

Cheney, who has been the LVMC Business Office Manager since April 2014, will replace Irene Melton, who is leaving after 17 years with the hospital.

Cheney was hired as a staff accountant for LVMC in 2008. In that job, he was responsible for much of the day-to-day accounting for the hospital and helped produce monthly financial reports for hospital management and the LVMC Board of Directors. He was also involved in budget development and monitoring.

“He worked very closely with Irene, who helped train and mentor him in that role, and also to someday assume the Controller role,” said Chief Financial Officer Bob Baden.

After a career of processing numbers and watching budgets, Lompoc Valley Medical Center Chief Financial Officer Bob Baden insists any future volunteer work he does in retirement won’t involve money.

Baden was hired June 16, 1997 CFO, and will retire as of Wednesday – the final day of 2014 --- after 17 years.

Baden and his wife of 22 years, Pandi, will retire to Arizona, just northwest of Phoenix. “We’re probably just going to relax for awhile,” he says with his characteristic smile. 

A retirement celebration was held Tuesday at the hospital.

Lompoc Valley Medical Center’s Champion Center, the hospital-based voluntary chemical dependency treatment program has been accepting patients for several weeks.

The $20 million Champion Center has 34 acute care medical beds and 30 recovery residence beds. Licensing approval is also due soon for 16 residential beds. The Champion Center is located on South C Street, at the site of LVMC’s original hospital.

There are ADA-compliant beds at every level of care and the center offers a partial hospitalization program and intensive outpatient program. There will be acupuncture, yoga and art therapy, among other offerings.
Though the “Heroes Program” for first responders and military is a major part of the center’s mission, anyone age 18 and older may seek treatment there. In the future, there will be a focus on treatment for PTSD and chronic pain.

The Champion Center Administrator is Steve Collier, RN.