Paul G. Janke

Paul G. Janke

COOS BAY — Bay Area Hospital is saying farewell to its president and CEO of 10 years.

After the first week of January, Paul Janke is retiring.

Since taking on the leadership role at BAH, Janke has defined his time by improving both the facility and clinical care.

Paul Janke, president and CEO of Bay Area Hospital, stands in the hospital’s new lobby.

“To be reflective, I have always seen myself as being goal-oriented, especially when it relates to work and I think we’ve accomplished a lot and I’ve added good value,” he said. “We’ve added a nursing tower, which has allowed us to be an all-private room hospital, we’re just finishing the emergency room and psychiatric unit project.”

That project cost $8 million of additional work, on top of the cost of the nursing tower which was $50 million.

“In terms of clinical programs, we spent a lot of time strengthening cardiovascular services, starting from scratch an interventional cardiology program, and creating a comprehensive cancer center where all principal modalities are brought together in one place,” he said.

Those modalities include radiation, medicine, cardiology, chemotherapy, medical oncology, and various support services, all wrapped together at the new Bay Area Cancer Center.

Not only that, but under Janke the hospital has created its own wound care program with hypobaric therapy and is now working in partnership with Bay Clinic and DaVita Kidney Care to start an inpatient dialysis program which, over the last two years, has become busier than expected.

“A lot of people with end-stage renal disease are in this area, so we’ve got what we think is a robust dialysis program,” he said. “DaVita is also building an outpatient center, so we will have stable, comprehensive dialysis services when all of these elements are in place.”

More recently, Janke has put much of his effort and energy into quality improvement and patient safety. Last week, BAH had its three-year joint commission accreditation survey, which Janke explained is the “good housekeeping seal of approval.”

“While we’re still waiting on results, we feel it was successful,” he said. “We’ve put a lot of effort in that area.”

Though these are enormous projects that BAH has undertaken and achieved, Janke said he has spent much of his time keeping the place staffed, which he described as “half the battle.”

“We spend a lot of time on recruitment and retention,” he said. “I think we’ve been successful in recruiting, either a new physician specialty for dialysis, cardiovascular where we have three excellent interventional cardiologists with a broad range of skills. By focusing on recruitment, it has allowed us to either expand or strengthen critical services.”

When Janke first came into his position at BAH, he replaced Dan Smith. Janke remembered 10 years ago that the hospital board of directors had wanted to find someone to bring in new energy, and he hopes he provided that.

“To credit the organization, it has been the bedrock to the community and been a solid, strong organization for a long time,” he said. “There was an opportunity to help the organization become even more… I think I’ve provided that.”

In his words, the hospital world is like other sectors of the economy in that current events can sweep in and cause controversy. Since the economy began struggling in 2007, Janke said that BAH has remained steady and been financially stable, so much so that it has not resorted to layoffs.

“I feel good about that,” he said.

One of the other valued changes at BAH has been its strengthening relationship with Oregon Health and Sciences University in Portland. According to Janke, BAH has worked closely with OHSU’s cardiologists and cancer center, as well as its surgery and internal medicine departments.

“We have general surgery and internal medicine residents that rotate through here on a regular basis now,” he said. “Having those students is enriching and creates a more stimulated working environment.”

When he walks out of his office at BAH next month, he will be walking away from a 39-year career. Since he completed his undergraduate education, he said he never really slowed down before and credited that to healthcare being an interesting field.

“There’s so many dimensions to what makes a hospital a hospital,” he said. “There’s the clinical side, elements of research, ethical issues, personnel issues. We have our own kitchen. In a lot of ways, a hospital is its own city. There’s upward of 1,500 people interacting with each other every day. You can’t always predict what will happen and that’s fun.”

After retiring, Janke and his wife plan on staying in the area. He may also work on a limited basis.

“My wife and I have grown to love the area,” he said. “It’s a great place to live.”

As for the future of BAH, two years ago Janke began working with a group of healthcare leaders on what they all want the medical community to be in this area. The first goal from that group was to continue partnerships, like what BAH has with OHSU. The second was to continue improving quality and safety metrics. The third was to continue workforce development and focus on recruitment and retention.

But the fourth goal is to create an electronic health record ecosystem where the hospital, North Bend Medical Center and Bay Clinic can all be tied together with one electronic health record.

“We can create a virtual organization,” Janke said. “There’s a big initiative to do that. We’ve been working on it for two years and I think it will be another two years before we get there, but it’s happening now.”

Replacing Janke is Brian Moore out of Pueblo, Colorado. He is expected to begin the first week of January.

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Reporter Jillian Ward can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 235, or by email at jillian.ward@theworldlink.com. Follow her on Twitter: @JE_Wardwriter.