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Assuring patients get the best and safest healthcare
MCH Welcomes Garrett Alamdari, Director of Quality and Regulatory Compliance.
As a Health Facilities Evaluator Nurse for the California Department of Public Health, Garrett Alamdari traveled from his home in Crestline to healthcare facilities all over the state. He investigated complaints, advised administrators on inspections, applied and enforced state and federal laws and regulations, and participated in local programs to improve compliance in licensed healthcare facilities.
He enjoyed the job, but the travel started to wear on him. Then COVID-19 struck. “I was going to skilled nursing facilities that were experiencing outbreaks. It was very high risk and not really my area of expertise.” Alamdari has long had his eye on Mountains Community Hospital, so when the position of Director of Quality and Regulatory Compliance opened up, he jumped at the opportunity to apply. He started with MCH on August 10th.
“This is the most beautiful little hospital and it’s close to home.” It is his job to make sure the staff, the providers and the hospital have the tools and processes in place to ensure MCH is doing its best to ensure patient safety, reliability and quality. He also has to stay on top of regulatory changes. With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that can be every day or even twice a day!
In order to track the hospital’s performance, he has to collect and analyze a tremendous amount of data. Within the hospital, he reports the data to various committees and to the Hospital’s Board of Directors. That would not be possible without Kady Fox, the Nurse Data Coordinator. “I couldn’t do the job without her support,” Alamdari said.
There are hundreds of quality measures. One example is venous thrombosis (clots in legs) in the operating room. Statistics are gathered on how many patients get venous thrombosis associated with surgery. “MCH is at 100 percent compliance with preventative measures,” Alamdari said. Some patients, he noted, have “leg squeezers” put on post-surgery, while others are prescribed anticoagulant medications. The Emergency Department tracks sepsis data. “There is a sepsis protocol the nurses and doctors follow,” he said. All of this data, Alamdari noted, is reported to the National Healthcare Safety Network.
On a day-to-day basis, Alamdari responds to patient compliments and complaints. “We take all of these calls very seriously,” he said. “We talk about an issue the patient feels we can improve on. Then we go back to the department, investigate the process, and identify any changes that need to be made. It’s our job to put systems in place to help mitigate errors and accidents, and improve the patient experience.”
So how did this former firefighter-paramedic and registered nurse end up in quality and regulatory compliance? In 1989, Alamdari was working for the Forest Service as a seasonal employee. He would get called out to traffic collisions on the fire engine, and watch the EMTs at work. “I thought, this is what I want to do,” he said. “I had wanted to be a paramedic all my life and becoming a nurse was part of the journey to be in healthcare and help people.”
While working as a paramedic, Alamdari went to nursing school, getting his associate degree. He then spent 14 years on the floor as an RN. During that time, he earned his Bachelor of Science in Nursing. He was at St. Bernardine Medical Center when he made the move to the quality arena. “We had an incident in the OR,” he said. “One of our team members was involved in an error. I thought maybe I could do some good and help prevent future errors. “The incident was an eye opener and I’ve been trying to make systems better ever since.”
Alamdari has been coming to the mountain for years. In 1977, his grandparents built the house where he has lived full time for the past year and a half. His two teenage sons visit him every weekend. They all go cycling together – both on the road and on the mountain biking trails at SkyPark at Santa’s Village. “I ride a lot up here – 50 to 75 miles a week,” Alamdari said.
“Being a nurse was very rewarding,” he said, and he sometimes misses the direct patient care. “It’s been six years since I was bedside.” He also feels great satisfaction from his current position. “Ensuring that patients, staff and visitors are safe is one of the greatest rewards.” Alamdari added he feels “more than blessed to be part of this team.” He previously worked with Dr. Walker at St. Bernardine Medical Center and is impressed with the care he gives his patients. “And I love his laugh!” Dr. Martin, Alamdari said, reminds him of doctors 20 years ago who would talk with you. “In bigger healthcare systems, they don’t take the time – they can’t. You get friendly, personal care here. I’m a small spoke in a big wheel,” Alamdari added. “It’s a team approach here. It always has been.”
“We are so pleased that Garrett has joined our team. His genuine interest in ensuring that MCH provides the highest quality of care for our patients and our community is evident in his day to day actions.” Quote from Chief Operating Officer/Chief Nursing Officer, Terry Peña