When Riverside County Medical Center staff compared its rate of surgical site infections (SSI) to other hospitals around the country, they realized they had an issue. The hospital’s ratio of infections was more than 200 percent above the recognized baseline. Something had to be done; something was done. And the result has been an amazing turnaround for the Medical Center that has resulted in improved patient care, heightened patient safety and a reduction in medical care costs.
To combat this high infection rate, the hospital formed a team consisting of surgeons, anesthesiologists, OR nurses, infection preventionists, housekeeping personnel and researchers. The team developed protocol for staff and education plan for patients to follow. Beyond following new protocols, staff found themselves participating in a cultural change.
Clinical therapists are taking their jobs a few steps above and beyond the typical call of duty in Riverside County. In fact, they are taking them 39 feet beyond. That’s the length of each of the three mobile clinics that the therapists themselves drive out to different regions of Riverside County. It’s all part of the County’s highly successful Prevention and Early Intervention Mobile Services program.
These mobile clinics, which are specially designed recreational vehicles, bring mental health services to families with children up to 7 years old. The program meets a need to develop services outside the standard clinic model, according to Emma Girard, Senior Clinical Psychologist for Riverside County, who helps lead the project.
Truancy is a major issue in many communities — and San Bernardino is no exception. Truancy can also have significant impacts beyond hindering education. According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, “Dropouts are poorly prepared to enter the workforce and require greater expenditures for social services and criminal justice process than do graduates.”
The San Bernardino County Public Defender’s Office was seeing the impacts of truancy first-hand. “Truancy is a big indictor on whether or not kids are going to continue in the juvenile justice system or are able to break out and get on with their lives, explained Assistant Public Defender Chris Gardner.” We had been looking for a way to get more involved, to partner with the schools to work on the truancy issue.”
When Faythe Arredono talks about Tulare County’s Teen Digital Media Lab, her eyes light up. That sparkle is only matched by the teenagers who participate in the program. Ask the likes of students Araceli Mendoza or Vincent Macareno and you can see why this program has such a positive impact.
Tulare County library staff knew they could do a better job of connecting teens through the library, but the question was how. “We tried some things. Some worked, some didn’t, but we could never really get anything off the ground,” explained County Librarian Jeff Scott. That’s where Faythe Arredondo comes in. She was hired in 2011 as the County’s first-ever Teen Services Librarian. Right away she started exploring ways to get teens engaged digitally. With the help of a grant from the California State Library, she was off and running.
California’s 58 counties are diverse in so many ways: population, geography, demographics, but they do share some commonalities — in that they strive to make a difference for the people they serve, and they do so in some incredibly creative ways. April is National County Government Month – and during this period, CSAC will be spotlighting a dozen innovative programs developed by California counties.