New Dayton VA director wants to be transparent for veterans

Published: Tuesday, April 17, 2018 @ 5:00 AM

New Dayton VA Medical Center Director Jill Dietrich talks about being the first woman in the 150-year history of the medical facility. Video produced by Barrie Barber

The new Dayton VA Medical Center director wants to create a “high level of trust” with veterans and increase employee engagement as she takes over leadership of the area hospital.

Jill Dietrich, 37, is the first woman leader of the 150-year-old institution and is one of the youngest in charge of a VA center nationally.

The Indiana native will have oversight of the sprawling hospital campus in Dayton and four clinics in in Richmond, Indiana, and Springfield, Middletown, Lima, treating about 40,000 veterans a year and managing 2,300 employees and a $435 million budget.

“It’s amazing to be the first woman . I never thought I would be in this category. I was just happy to be joining the levels of the senior executive service and coming in to be able to lead a VA medical center,” Dietrich said.

RELATED: Dayton VA director will be first woman in its 150-year history

Her arrival in the $163,000-a-year post comes at a time when the former VA national leader David Shulkin said the White House has pushed to privatize the agency, which the Trump administration has denied, and ongoing concerns nationally on hiring enough qualified staff and providing timely patient access to health care.

In her first interview Monday, Dietrich, who arrived from the Long Beach, Calif., VA facility and has worked within the agency for a decade, said she wants to play a big part in providing service to veterans and building relationships with employees.

“Even just walking throughout the halls, people just want me to be visible and want me to be involved as much as possible,” she said. “It starts with transparent communication, making sure that employees know exactly what we’re doing and then also ensuring that they get involved in getting those opportunities to get involved as well.”

RELATED: Dayton VA leader steps down

She said she’s committed to “getting out in the community,” also.

Rhonda Risner, director of the labor union National Nurses United at the Dayton VA, which represents about 450 registered nurses, said Dietrich has had a reputation for being “even handed and fair minded” in her tenure at other VA facilities.

The union leader said she hoped the new VA director would push a “just culture,” to let employees bring forward concerns or self-report errors without fear of punitive action.

RELATED: Ohio Hospice hires top leader leaving Dayton VA Medical Center

“She’s committed to transparency and working in partnership with labor,” Risner said. “… She’s got a good place to start and she’s committed to seeing veterans receive the care that they were promised.”

The facility has faced struggles in the past, from a hygiene scandal at a dental clinic to wait times for appointments at a pulmonary clinic, archives show. But improvements have been made, officials said.

On at least two days this month, the Dayton VA scored the highest among 141 VA facilities nationally on access to patient care, according to spokesman Ted Froats. The ranking examined 17 criteria, from patient wait times for primary care appointments, to how quickly employees answered phones.

Dietrich said culture is important.

“I have been to multiple VAs throughout the country and walking into this VA, the culture is almost tangible,” she said. “You can feel how much the employees care and want to do the right thing for the veteran and being in different VAs where that culture may not be as robust, you can tell the difference.”

RELATED: Dayton VA names new leader: What we know

Paul J. Heinrich, 70, a Vietnam veteran, has sought treatment at the Dayton VA for eight years, most recently for leukemia. He said he doesn’t have personal complaints about the quality of treatment, but medical staff turnover is an issue.

The Miami Twp. resident has dealt with three primary care doctors in five years and three oncologists in three years.

“Turnover is still an issue,” he said. “How they can solve it, I don’t know at this point, but I’m hoping they get that stabilized.”

The VA has been on a nationwide hiring spree, but that has slowed in recent weeks, Dietrich said.

“We have slowed down this year because we hired quite a bit I believe at the beginning of the year,” she said. “It is about right sizing the organization and making sure we are bringing on the right positions at the right time.”

In an interview Monday, former Dayton VA Director Glenn A, Costie said Dietrich has worked at some of the most challenging VA medical facilities in the country and was prepared for the job.

RELATED: A time capsule marks Dayton VA’s 150th anniversary

Costie took over the post in 2011 when the facility was dealing with a dental hygiene scandal when a dentist allegedly failed to change gloves between patients. In 2015, a whistle blower employee brought attention to a patient backlog in the pulmonary clinic. The VA reported “patient irregularities” when a prior employee used an informal list to setup appointments.

At the time, 150 patients died before they were seen for medical appointments, but a VA investigation determined none of the patients died because of a lack of care, according to the VA. During his tenure in, Dayton Costie was also brought in as a troubleshooter to deal with patient care issues in Phoenix and Cincinnati.

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Need a job? More than 160 employers will be at UD Arena

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 4:45 PM


            The 2018 Spring Job Fair at the University of Dayton Arena is scheduled for Wednesday, April 25, 2018. Montgomery County Development Services and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base are putting on the event. Here, attendees meet with employers at a 2015 Spring Job Fair inside the arena. JAROD THRUSH/STAFF FILE PHOTO
            JAROD THRUSH
The 2018 Spring Job Fair at the University of Dayton Arena is scheduled for Wednesday, April 25, 2018. Montgomery County Development Services and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base are putting on the event. Here, attendees meet with employers at a 2015 Spring Job Fair inside the arena. JAROD THRUSH/STAFF FILE PHOTO(JAROD THRUSH)

More 1,000 people and over 160 employers will be at the 2018 Spring Job Fair Wednesday, April 25 at the University of Dayton Arena.

Government agencies and private sector companies spanning construction, engineering, education, health care, information technology, manufacturing, professional services and transportation will be on hand, according to organizers.

“People are in big demand now and this gives a a nice opportunity for the job seeker to meet with the hiring people for each company,” said Mark S. Anderson, an event organizer with Montgomery County Development Services.

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The county agency and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base will host the fair.set from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., which is open to both civilians and military personnel. “It’s open to all residents in the entire Miami Valley,” he said.

To register, log onto OhioMeansJobs.com/montgomery .

Montgomery County and Wright-Patterson plan a similar fall jobs fair in September at the Nutter Center at Wright State University, but a date has not yet been scheduled, Anderson said.

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Opening date announced for Macy’s outlet store in Dayton

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 4:24 PM


            KARA DRISCOLL/STAFF
KARA DRISCOLL/STAFF

Macy’s will open an outlet store at the Dayton Mall in June.

The department store will open its first Dayton-area Backstage outlet store at the Dayton Mall on June 6. The new outlet store will have approximately 12,900 square feet of dedicated retail space and will live on the second level inside the full-line Macy’s. The grand opening will be celebrated with giveaways for the first 200 customers and special events throughout the day.

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“Our customers are excited about the Macy’s Backstage shopping experience,” said Michelle Israel, Macy’s Senior Vice President of Off Price. “Macy’s Backstage Dayton Mall was designed to bring great deals and the fun of the hunt into our existing location. If you’re looking for a fashion update, a last-minute gift, or a special treat for yourself, your home or your pet, we have you covered.”

Seven free-standing Backstage stores opened in the Northeast and San Antonio, TX in 2015 and 2016. In the subsequent years, Macy’s has opened approximately 63 store-within-store locations, allowing customers to shop both merchandise offerings in one trip to their local mall. There are currently 70 Macy’s Backstage locations across the U.S.

The Dayton Daily News was the first to report about the Backstage outlet coming to the region. The estimated market value of the completed project is $75,000.

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Did you buy this product? Vegetable sold in Ohio ALDI stores recalled

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 3:29 PM


            FILE
FILE

A vegetable item sold in Ohio ALDI stores has been recalled.

McCall Farms Inc. is voluntarily recalling a limited amount of cases of Happy Harvest Spinach in 13.5 ounce cans as a precautionary measure due to the potential presence of peanuts resulting from product mislabeling, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced.

The product was available for purchase in the following states: Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. The product was also available for purchase to ALDI customers in the Atlanta and Chicago areas through the company’s partnership with Instacart, a grocery delivery service.

All affected product has been removed from its stores. ALDI is the only retailer with this product. The product was packaged in 13.5 oz cans with the lot code of A23IX. The best-by date is January 2021. The UPC code is 041498131289.

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500 people from two local companies inspect fan blades after fatal accident

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 8:52 AM

A CFM56 engine built by CFM International in West Chester Twp. is readied for installation on the A320 final assembly line at an Airbus factory in this 2014 photo. CONTRIBUTED.
A CFM56 engine built by CFM International in West Chester Twp. is readied for installation on the A320 final assembly line at an Airbus factory in this 2014 photo. CONTRIBUTED.

In the wake of last week’s fatal Southwest Airlines accident, about 500 people tied to two regional companies are involved in inspecting engine fan blades, making sure those components are airworthy.

Those companies are also supporting investigations into why the Southwest aircraft engine blew apart last week, killing a passenger on a New York-to-Dallas flight.

CFM International — a joint venture between French firm Safran and GE Aviation headquartered in West Chester Twp. in Butler County — late last week issued a service bulletin to operators of CFM56-7B engines, which power certain Boeing 737 airplanes. The bulletin calls for inspections of fan blades on engines that have been in service for a long time.

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“The big effort right now is the 500 GE and Safran team members involved in assisting airlines with the fan-blade inspection program,” said a spokesman for GE Aviation, Rick Kennedy.

The European Aviation Safety Agency and the Federal Aviation Administration have each issued emergency airworthiness directives calling for inspections of fan blades on CFM56-7B engines.

This has wide ramifications.

Southwest Airlines is cancelling about one percent of its flights due to the need for inspections. About 40 flights have been impacted, a media report said.

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Last week, an affected Southwest Boeing 737 took off Tuesday from New York, headed for Dallas. About 20 minutes into the flight, at an altitude of about 32,500 feet, a fan blade broke off the engine and shrapnel shattered a window.

A passenger on that flight, Jennifer Riordan, 43, was sucked part of the way out of the broken window and pulled back inside by fellow passengers.

RELATED: UDRI tests durability of aircraft engine casings

The engine in question is assembled in the GE-Evendale plant and by Safran (previously Snecma )in Villaroche, France.

CFM, which has offices in West Chester Twp., is a joint venture of French firm Safran and GE.

Jamie Jewell, a GE Aviation spokeswoman, said the CFM engine has been in service since 1997 and production has been gradually phasing out as GE and CFM ramp-up introduction of the new LEAP engine.

"None of that is as a result of SWA (Southwest Airlines) incident," Jewell said in an email.

The engine's fan blade is produced by Safran, but the National Transportation Safety Board is leading the investigation. Jewell said the companies do not expect to rely on the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI) for any post-accident engine component testing at this time.

UDRI is involved in testing of engine casings or housings to help determine how durable those components are. 

CFM sent a team of technical representatives to the site to assist NTSB and government investigators in their probe of what happened on the Southwest flight.

Citing international conventions governing these investigations, Jewell said she can't comment on whether any causes have been identified in the Southwest accident.   

"The NTSB is leading the accident investigation according to the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) Annex 13 rules, and CFM cannot provide information about the accident or details related to it," Jewell said. 

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