This week business administrator Erich Baumann, the CEO of the Triaplus AG company, which provides integrated mental health care in the three cantons of Uri, Schwyz and Zug, gave an interview with journalist Christopher Gilb of the Zuger Zeitung on the occasion of the first anniversary of the former taking on this new role, prior to which he was chairman of the board of the University Psychiatric Clinic in Zurich for eleven years.
Let it be known that last year Triaplus provided mental health treatment to no fewer than 5,152 out-patients and 1,445 others who were admitted for treatment at various locations within the afore-mentioned three cantons.
In most cases, out-patients at the Zugersee Clinic in Oberwil were those who sought advice and treatment of their own accord, most commonly for stress and somatic symptom disorders, from which slightly more women suffered than men, whereas those receiving treatment as in-patients, slightly more men than women, were referred there by their doctors on account of depression.
Of the 439 employees of Triaplus, more than half of them work at the Zugersee Clinic; they account for CHF 44.8 million in annual staffing costs out of a “turnover” of CHF 53.3 million in 2018, a year in which it recorded a loss of CHF 1.25 million.
This interview (this article is a much abridged version), took place at the clinic in Oberwil with its beautiful views over Lake Zug but every two weeks Baumann tries to ensure he visits other locations for example in Lachen (SZ) and Schattdorf and Altdorf (UR).
One of his challenges is ensuring all staff pull together and to this end he has launched an in-house newspaper for which he writes an editorial, adding too, how his door was always open to staff.
One problem is that not all clinic information systems are compatible with each other, a disadvantage when it comes to networking. While employees can make use of video conferencing, when it comes to care of patients, medical staff have to be physically present, of course, something which is even more important in psychiatric care.
As to the loss of CHF 1.2 million last year, Baumann pointed out that whereas previously the cost of consulting social workers, teachers and education authorities as a follow-up to consultations with parents of children with psychiatric disorders was reimbursed, this was no longer the case and had had an adverse effect on finance, of course.
As to the bed occupancy rate at the Zugersee clinic, this ranged from 87 per cent last year to 100 per cent earlier this year, though this can be explained in part by caring staff wanting flexible working times, sometimes taking up to two months at a time off to be able to travel, for example.
One improvement the clinic is providing is out-patient care for elderly psychiatric patients as admission in some cases can lead to increased stress for them.
Longstanding readers may remember that, in recent years, the Zugersee clinic has experienced turbulent times with regard to staffing but with the appointment of senior doctor Josef Jenewein, Baumann is confident matters will improve. Indeed, now a new therapeutic centre for young adults is planned for the Zugersee Clinic in 2020.