Lawrence Memorial Hospital trustees dedicated to quality care
by Janice Early
From caring for patients to insuring the facilities are well maintained to dealing in matters of high finance, it takes a lot of people to run a hospital. But it may surprise many to know that Lawrence Memorial Hospital’s governing board is made up of community volunteers.
Since its inception in 1921, LMH has relied on the guidance of its Board of Trustees to set policies and make decisions that shape the future of health care in Lawrence and Douglas County. The board ultimately has the fiduciary responsibility for the hospital.
Nine volunteers meet monthly to strategize about such issues as expansion of services and quality of care. In addition to monthly meetings, each board member serves on various committees that also meet regularly to work on behalf of key functions of the hospital.
Currently led by Chairperson Allen Belot, a Lawrence architect, these generous and highly qualified professionals choose to devote time and talent to help LMH navigate important issues and decisions in the best interest of the community.
Belot says that because LMH is self-funded from its operations and receives no tax support from the City of Lawrence or Douglas County, it’s important to help serve the community’s health care needs as a member of the board.
Appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the Lawrence City Commission, the trustees serve four-year terms. When a vacancy occurred in 2005, Belot jumped at the opportunity.
“My father was a physician at LMH for 50 years,” Belot said. “I have a special place in my heart for our community hospital.”
Recent years have brought dramatic changes in growth and expansion at LMH, making the work of the Board of Trustees more challenging than ever.
Having a background in health care or a hospital-related field is not required to be a trustee. New trustees attend a formal orientation, and all trustees participate in ongoing education to stay current with changes facing the health care industry. Each brings a unique skill set that enhances the board as a whole. Those skills include a history of achievement, ability to work in a team-oriented environment, and philanthropy and governance experience.
The trustees also contribute personal attributes such as compassion, independence, intelligence, integrity and objectivity. Each volunteers an average of 20 or more hours per month in committee meetings, education and community meetings and regular monthly board meetings where decisions are made.
Gina Pacumbaba-Watson, now in her third year as a trustee, feels it is an honor. Her expertise as an owner of a Lawrence engineering and consulting firm is important, as she leads the facilities committee and serves on the human resources and credentials committees.
“Our role is to bring opinions and insight from the community to allow the staff to make informed, precise decisions,” she says.
LMH President and CEO Gene Meyer said, “In my years at LMH I have been very fortunate to work with board members who are committed to what we are trying to accomplish here. Their dedication, insights and support have really contributed to LMH being one of the 100 Top Hospitals in the country.”
In addition to Belot and Pacumbaba-Watson, members of the LMH Board of Trustees are Vice Chairperson Mike Wildgen, Treasurer Rob Chestnut, Jane Blocher, John Bullock, Dr. Lee Reussner, John Ross, Cindy Yulich, and Dr. Eric Huerter, chief of staff, an ex officio member.
The LMH Board of Trustees meets monthly at 9 a.m. the third Wednesday of the month in the hospital auditorium. Meetings are open to the public.
Janice Early is Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Lawrence Memorial Hospital. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Christy Moore contributed to this article.