Westerly Hospital has played an important part in the life of Rachel McCormick, M.D. She and her father were born here. She gave birth here. Her hospital connections run deep, and so do her community connections. And that’s what makes Dr. McCormick a perfect fit to serve as president of the Westerly Hospital medical staff, a position she was elected to last month. She takes over the position from Dr. Adrian Hamburger.
Given the recent affiliation with Yale New Haven Health (YNHHS), Dr. McCormick understands this is an important time in the more than 90-year history of Westerly Hospital.
“We are now part of an organization with a track record of succeeding in this ever-changing and extraordinarily challenging healthcare environment,” she said. “I feel that YNHHS supports our mission – which is to deliver consistently excellent, compassionate, and comprehensive medical care to this community.”
Dr. McCormick sees the benefits of being part of a larger system. “I believe YNHHS values our strengths, which include our excellent physicians and personnel and our high-touch approach. They are also committed to helping us in areas where we- and many community hospitals struggle – including the recruitment of primary care providers to the area, and access to certain specialists,” she said. “There are also plans to offer remote critical care support in our ICU, via telemedicine.”
The notion of a strong community is not lost on Dr. McCormick, who hopes to improve physician communication, both with other physicians and with the community at large.
“This affiliation is an opportunity for a fresh start, and a time to build bridges with some of the physicians and community who have migrated away,” she said. “There is less mingling of physicians than there used to be. I want to introduce the newer doctors to our more established ones. I want the people providing care to the greater Westerly community to know each other on a first name basis, to feel free to call each other up, to ask for advice or to discuss a patient. I want to engage the community and the Westerly Hospital Foundation, too, and share with them the good news and the optimism here.”
Given the current environment and the uncertainty that lies ahead, Dr. McCormick stressed the importance of securing a strong future.
“Growth is not easy in the current medical environment, but it is essential for our survival” she said. “We have wonderfully skilled and dedicated people here at Westerly Hospital, and I see great potential for success in our future. While the financial bottom line is important, ultimately, everything we do, we must do for our patients. If we consistently remember to put the patient first, I believe our best years remain ahead of us.”