LMH CEO Gene Meyer announces retirement
Lawrence Memorial Hospital President and Chief Executive Officer Gene Meyer today announced his plans to retire in May 2016. Meyer, 63, has been in the position for 18 years and has served in a leadership role in area hospitals for a total of 35 years.
“I have had a great career working with associates who are committed to helping others,” Meyer said. “The past 18 years have been incredible working in Lawrence as the CEO. I am very lucky.”
Turmoil and unrest characterized the opportunity Meyer faced in 1997 when he accepted the leadership of Lawrence Memorial Hospital. The healthcare environment in Lawrence was in a very different state than today. Coming on the heels of a fierce public debate involving the for-profit healthcare giant Columbia/HCA’s entry in Lawrence, the community was divided and unsure what the future held for its local hospital. After starting its own community health insurance plan, LMH’s balance sheet was looking grim, and the hospital had a negative bottom line the first two years Meyer was here.
“Gene brings a positive attitude of communication, collaboration and commitment to the community every day,” said LMH Board of Trustees Chairperson Rob Chestnut. “He inspires the Board, the physicians, the staff and volunteers at LMH to give their best because he expects the best from himself. LMH is one of the best community hospitals in the country. The Lawrence community is grateful for Gene’s leadership in raising the bar for the quality and depth of healthcare services provided by LMH.”
Meyer attributes LMH’s success to a strong leadership team. Many of the executive and management staff members have served with him for a long time and he credits them for their commitment to putting in the extra effort that’s been required to achieve the outcomes and recognition LMH has received over the years.
He said, “The team that I have worked with has been an inspiration to me in their commitment and dedication. Many who have been with me for years and others who have moved on have made LMH what it is today. I cannot thank them enough for being part of this journey.”
Today LMH is known for its financial stability, quality care and caring attitude. Meyer has led expansion of patient care services and facilities to better meet the community’s healthcare needs. Total patient visits have grown from nearly 85,000 in 1997 to 211,289 last year. Through Meyer’s leadership, LMH has added oncology services, an interventional cardiology program, an acute rehabilitation unit, and a wound healing center – all services developed to allow patients to receive care closer to home. The LMH Regional Oncology Center offers patients access to more than 150 clinical trials, placing LMH among the top hospitals in the state for cancer research. LMH achieved designation as a Level IV Trauma Center in 2014 and a Primary Stroke Center in 2012.
Meyer has overseen more than 200,000 square footage in new construction at the LMH campus that includes a medical office building, new emergency, surgical and oncology center facilities, and expansion of the critical care, maternity, medical and surgical nursing units. Currently under way is a renovation of the hospital’s fourth floor rehabilitation unit. Since Meyer’s arrival, LMH has expanded services to a freestanding outpatient facility – LMH South – and extended its presence regionally with family care clinics in Eudora, Baldwin City, McLouth and Tonganoxie. From employing just one physician practice in 1997, Meyer has led LMH to employment affiliations with 16 physician practices today encompassing primary care and specialty care providers. Overall LMH’s workforce has grown from 850 in 1997 to 1,411 today.
During Meyer’s tenure LMH has reinvested more than $201 million back into the hospital for capital expansion and improvements. Meyer led LMH to an outstanding A1 credit rating with Moody’s Investors Service, one of the nation’s leading credit rating agencies. LMH is among the country’s smallest hospitals in terms of net revenue with this credit rating. In 2014, LMH recorded an adjusted 5 percent financial operating margin and 12 percent operating cash flow margin. With the support of the community, the LMH Endowment Association has transferred more than $23 million to LMH and grown the endowment from $1.9 to $11 million.
Meyer’s outstanding service to the Lawrence community and LMH and his dedication to improving health care at the local, state and national levels encompass contributions too numerous to list. Meyer has led LMH to these recognitions:
· In 2015, 2014 and 2013 LMH was recognized nationally as one of the 100 Top Hospitals® by Truven Health Analytics.
· In 2015, 2014 and 2013 Becker’s Hospital Review named LMH to its 100 Great Community Hospitals list.
· In 2014 The Joint Commission named LMH one of the Top Performers on Key Quality Measures® for performance data in heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia and surgical care. This was the third year in a row LMH was a Top Performer.
· LiveWell Lawrence recognized LMH in 2014 with its Culture of Health Action Award, one of five awarded to organizations demonstrating commitment to LiveWell’s goals to eat healthy foods, be physically active and live tobacco free.
· In May 2014 the Kansas Department of Commerce named LMH one of its 24 Regional Business Excellence Award winners recognizing contributions to their communities and the state economy.
· Ingram’s magazine in Kansas City recognized LMH as one of the region’s Best Companies to Work For in 2012.
· LMH named among Health Care’s Most Wired Hospitals for the past five years.
· VHA awarded LMH its Clinical Excellence Award in 2005, 2007 and 2008.
· LMH has been the winner of five awards from the Kansas Award of Excellence Foundation, including being awarded the highest level of recognition in 2003.
Meyer has been an active contributor to many professional, civic and community organizations, serving as an ambassador for LMH in a variety of leadership roles, including with the Lawrence Noon Rotary Club, Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, University of Kansas Chancellor Search Committee and Lawrence Community Health Improvement Partnership. For his leadership in community health care, Meyer has achieved the following recognitions:
· Last week the Kansas Hospital Association announced that Meyer will be the recipient of the Charles S. Billings Award, which is the top honor given by KHA and recognizes a hospital leader for his lifetime of service and continuing contribution to the health care of Kansans.
· In 2014, Meyer was named one of Ingram’s magazine’s Heroes in Healthcare.
· In 2013, he was recognized by the Lawrence Kiwanis Club with its Substantial Citizen Award.
· Meyer served on the American Hospital Association Regional Policy Board and was the 2011 recipient of the AHA Grassroots Champion Award.
· In 2008, Meyer and his family established the Meyer Family Scholarship Fund to annually award two scholarships to LMH employees’ children pursuing healthcare careers.
· Lawrence Junior Achievement inducted Meyer into the 2011 Business Hall of Fame.
· In 2005, he was elected into the Oak Park High School Hall of Fame for his leadership in the healthcare industry.
· In 2002, Baker University honored Meyer with its Lawrence Business Person of the Year Award.
Meyer has been an active supporter of the Kansas Hospital Association and has participated on many committees, including serving as Chairperson of the KHA Board of Directors.
For many years he taught in the health services administration program at Webster University in Kansas City and has served as a mentor to many aspiring health care professionals. He is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives. He currently serves on the Advisory Board for the Hall Center for the Humanities at KU, on the Board of Directors for the Kansas Medical Mutual Insurance Company (KaMMCO) and Commerce Bank, and on the Baker University Board of Trustees.
Before joining LMH, Meyer served as Senior Executive Officer for Saint Luke’s South where he was responsible for the planning, construction and medical staff development of the new hospital in Overland Park. He also served as Senior Executive Officer for Saint Luke's-Shawnee Mission Medical Group.
Meyer began his health care career at Spelman Memorial Hospital in Kansas City as Director of Personnel in 1980. He became CEO of Spelman Health System in Smithville in 1984 and was involved in many key initiatives during his 12 years there. He successfully led Spelman to an affiliation with the Saint Luke's Health System and was instrumental in the founding of Spelman-St. Luke's Hospital.
Meyer’s retirement plans include teaching and serving as the Executive in Residence for the University of Kansas Health Services Administration Program. He is also committed to volunteer opportunities in Lawrence as well. Meyer and his wife, Carol, and their four children and three grandsons have lots of plans for times together.
The LMH Board will be conducting a national search for Meyer’s replacement in the near future.