Copper Queen Community Hospital
Having been in the health care field for 40 years, Jim Dickson is well suited for his position as CEO of Bisbee’s Copper Queen Community Hospital. Dickson has worked in hospitals of all sizes, from large ones with 440 beds to smaller hospitals, such as Copper Queen, with just 15 beds.
Dickson says he prefers rural, smaller hospitals because of the “strong intrinsic reward to working in rural areas.”
Copper Queen’s main challenge is serving a small number of people scattered over a large area, Dickson says. In his 12 years as CEO of Copper Queen, Dickson has put in place several programs to better serve Bisbee’s rural population.
“We’re bringing care where it was not there,” he says. “So, we’re actually really helping people.”
The hospital uses tele-medicine, which allows patients to see specialists across the state through video conferencing. Dickson’s strong commitment to tele-medicine has brought about tele-stroke, -dermatology, -cardiology and -trauma units. Copper Queen collaborates with Mayo Clinic Scottsdale, University Medical Center in Tucson, the University of Arizona’s tele-medicine program and the Carondelet Health System for its tele-medicine consultations.
He says tele-medicine is the way to solve the problem of physician shortages in various parts of the state, which puts rural communities at a disadvantage.
Dickson says he enjoys launching and employing new technologies and hopes Copper Queen will be the first virtual hospital in the United States. Becoming a virtual hospital will “eliminate the disparities of care between rural and city” hospitals, adds Dickson, who also chairs the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association’s (AzHHA) small hospital committee.
AzHHA, Dickson says, has helped Copper Queen affect legislation at the state level. Currently, Dickson, Copper Queen and AzHHA are lobbying the state Legislature to pass a law that will ensure Arizona’s health insurance companies cover tele-medicine. With AzHHA’s backing and advocacy, he says this legislation will guarantee that people in rural areas receive better health care.
Dickson says he is pushing “to ensure that all the people in the communities we serve receive the care they deserve as American citizens.”
Another way Copper Queen serves its patients is by operating the state’s three largest rural health care clinics. Through these clinics and tele-medicine, Copper Queen not only has begun to serve its patients better, but also save money. The hospital has grown by 30 percent each of the past three years.
During his time at Copper Queen, Dickson has used his experience to bring quality health care to the people of Bisbee and its surrounding communities.
“They needed it,” he says. “In Bisbee, you can really make a difference.”