The morning of August 12, the following article could be found on page three of the RhyDin Post. Several issues had been forwarded directly to the clinic at the Chief's and PR Director's request.
A renowned film producer back in L.A. once said that a ?hospital is no place to be sick.? With the stereotypical discomfort of semi-private rooms, incommodious beds, unsavory sustenance, and the stark, cold, and often unsympathetic atmosphere that accompanies a lengthy stay, it?s no wonder medical facilities are slowly but surely bankrupting themselves with A.M.A. form copying fees.
Or at least that?s where the majority of healthcare facilities stand.
The modern towers of Riverview Clinic stick out like a sore thumb amidst the antediluvian sprawl of RhyDin Marketplace. And yet, the building?s foundation is agreeably padded in beds of organized flowers. The whitewashed outsides have long since been painted over in charming murals by the clinic?s youngest residents, finespun cast-iron benches contributing to a very classic, small-town feel for the facility itself. And the inordinate attention to detail does not stop at the entrance; indoors, the normally sickly-white walls are laden with framed and unframed art in all shapes and sizes, the multitude of enormous paneled windows making the sun headache-inducing artificial light?s formidable opponent. A quick tour of the building revealed that the majority of patient rooms were, in fact, private ones.
?Studies indicate that single rooms have been shown to reduce the spread of infection, patient stress, and improve sleep,? Sivanna Cyredghymn, the clinic?s Public Relations Director said.
But with so much outlay obviously invested in the hospital?s d?cor and layout, and by the zero-tolerance upkeep with which it is maintained, just how much money is left for quality patient care?
The average caseload per day, according to Dr. Maranya Valkonan, Chief of Staff, is ?roughly twenty-five [per] day? split between various departments.?
Private insurers pay hospitals predominantly on the basis of per-diems or fee-for-service schedules, while federal-state insurance programs charge the patient on three bases: (1) case-based payments, (2) cost per day in inpatient care, or (3) fees for individual supplies. Extended-stay patients notwithstanding, ??twenty-five on the roster seems like an adequate influx for acceptable upkeep, assuming the hospital still has private donations to buffer the more expensive surgeries and equipment malfunctions,? said Gregory Walsh, Vice-Chairman of the RhyDin Business Bureau. And malfunctions must be costly, given the state-of-the-art machinery the clinic is equipped with.
Most clamant of all, however, is the new obstetrics wing now under construction. When asked where the money for such a project came from, Dr. Stas Ryan, Ob-Gyn, was quick to make light of the clinic?s pressing financial concerns, claiming a money tree in his backyard as well as Santa Claus were responsible for a considerable amount of inlay on the clinic?s behalf. Both he and Dr. Valkonan have strenuously assured on a regular basis, however, that private donations from altruistic members of the community have accounted for the remaining deficit in the clinic?s budget, as well as large-scale fundraisers, such as the ?charity event that was held a few months ago, and the art exhibit and auction that is to be held next month.? Indeed, according to the clinic?s PR Director, the ?Riverview Clinic Auction and Gala this past May grossed over 109,592 gold, with a large percentage directly going to the recent expansion itself.?
?I guess they?re saving money on staff,? a previous employee from the nursing staff said. ?The ER is painfully understaffed. Dr. Savaris has a heart of gold for holding out that long.?
Understaffed though it may be, the Chief refuses to sacrifice patient care for the sake of filling spaces in the employment roster.
?We can only hire from the pool of qualified employees out there. Neither I nor the Director, [Chryrie Nightstar] are willing to hire just to have warm bodies on the roster, but sacrifice expert care in the meantime. We are fortunate that some of the graduating classes of Universities chose Riverview first to complete their residencies at.?
Indeed, one hasty hire has apparently caused a bit of vexation on the part of the staff.
?At least one new hire, unfortunately, is more interested in her lovelife rather than perform the duties for which she was hired,? said Valkonan of a new ER employee.
But with impressive records like Valkonan?s, who has practiced for fourteen years without major incident, and Ryan who began his to-date eight-year career practicing at the age of sixteen, it seems like a few extra hours are a small price to pay when the clinic?s patients are checking out with smiles on their faces.
?The staff all loves what they do,? said Neo Eternity, friend of Valkonan. ?They put everything into it. They?re all wonderful people, and they all do very good work.?
Stas Ryan says: ?I'm not in the business of making money. I'm in the business of caring for women. Especially those who need it."
Good work indeed, due in no small part to the employees. But volunteers have also played a large part in driving up patients? spirits.
?[The volunteers] come in and entertain the children. Some tell stories, and we have a few performers who perform tricks or other shows for them. The fact that people come in to make the children forget their illnesses or injuries is amazing. Those people are as much medicine for those children as the treatments they get,? said Valkonan.
AJ Ryan, wife of Stas Ryan and mother-to-be, volunteers there on a regular basis, though she claims it is not by choice.
?I was tricked into helping out in the baby unit,? said Ryan. ?Everyone seems to think I need practice before I try and deal with my own kids."
When asked if she planned on giving birth at Riverview, she scoffed: ?Now where else would I give birth? I?m looking forward to putting my feet up in the new wing for a few days.?
Dr. Stas Ryan is not his wife?s physician due to ethical and legal concerns, though when asked what she might think if he were, AJ had to say: ?I?m not having my doctor pass out when he sees his children for the first time.?
After five hundred and thirty-two deliveries, it is a wonder the doctor isn?t permanently concussed. Though AJ later claimed that if Stas weren?t her husband, she would be more than happy to have him deliver her babies.
Babies? Sounds like the new wing will have its hands full. Among new patient rooms and better technology (such as 4D ultrasound imaging machines), the new wing is to include a free family planning clinic.
?Any and all services will be available,? Dr. Ryan said. ?It?ll be located within the expansion of the clinic and it is available to all, whether they have the ability to pay or not.?
Of the reason for the free clinic, Doctor Valkonan had a few things to say.
?Too many people lack responsibility when it comes to conducting their sexual activities. Between sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned and unwanted pregnancies, just to mention a few trends, frankly, it's an epidemic that has been long overdue in being acted upon. There is a sentiment that says that if people can be licensed to operate a vehicle, they should be licensed to be parents. A sentiment that I wholeheartedly agree with.?
No word yet on when the new wing will be finished, but sources say it should be complete within the next year.
?The construction completion date is being kept a well-guarded secret,? claims Dr. Ryan. ?Doctor [Valkonan] says it?s the same day as her birthday and refuses to divulge.?
In that case, the Post will happily be present and accounted for on opening day with a pair of scissors and a birthday cake.