LMH Health Announces 2020 Priorities
LMH Health President and CEO Russ Johnson provided a summary of 2019 initiatives and announced priorities for 2020 at the community hospital’s Board of Trustees meeting.
December 2019 financials showed a net loss of $1.6 million, and Johnson reported that LMH Health closed out the year $16 million below expectations in operations. In the first month of 2020, financials improved and the hospital reported $1 million above anticipated projections.
“The 2019 budgetary shortfall can be attributed to a few short-term issues, including a decrease in volume and reductions in payments from some commercial payers,” said Johnson. “It’s important to note that our overall market share continues to increase, and we’ve come to a new agreement with key payers in 2020—two reasons to be optimistic for the year ahead.”
“This leadership team is tackling the difficult issues—they aren’t just focusing on the bottom line; they're focusing on the patients. In every meeting I'm in, the focus is on patients. As a business person, it's so important to me to see that we're working on how to improve what we deliver. We aren’t leaving it to luck. We’ve rolled up our sleeves, and we’re working hard, day to day. We are being as proactive as possible, while ensuring the best for our patients."
Vice Chair, LMH Health Board of Trustees
Johnson said that LMH Health made two major investments in 2019 that had a notable budgetary impact. The first was consultative expertise that helped hospital leaders to identify operational efficiencies—this expenditure is already showing return and will continue to do so in the years to come. Additionally, 2019 brought significant growth in the hospital’s medical staff; Johnson said that the upfront cost of adding more than a dozen new providers is significant, but imperative given community need over the next several decades.
“Throughout the past year, we’ve shared the challenges LMH Health has faced because a strong financial position ensures durable, stable operations that allow us to invest in technology, programs and services for the benefit of our patients,” said Johnson. “Our primary goal remains providing exceptional patient care for all, regardless of ability to pay.”
Johnson commented on the outlook for 2020, and indicated that the hospital was already seeing positive outcomes of the investments made over 2019.
“Among the many operational efficiencies implemented, we have improved a patient’s ability to see a doctor when they want to with minimal wait,” said Johnson. “We have built stronger partnerships with payers to bring better health to our patients and more healthcare dollars to the community. We have reduced the number of vendors we pay to provide services for LMH, in favor of employing talented individuals, when practical.”
A Positive Start to 2020
In January 2020, LMH Health recorded nearly $625K in net operating income and closed the first month of the year about $1 million ahead of budget.
“Over the past three years, LMH Health has chosen to take bold steps to affirm our position as a leader in quality and affordable care for patients into the future,” said Johnson. “While we were already a strong community hospital, we understood that we had a window of opportunity—three to five years - to secure our place across the region and nation as a top performing independent community hospital through strategic investments in key initiatives to prepare for a future of greater competition, lower cost, and evolving patient expectations.”
Johnson also noted that through Destination Health, LMH Health’s strategic plan, hospital leaders developed a rapid cadence, advancing the organization through a number of notable achievements:
- Building the physician enterprise by 25 percent, adding more than 30 clinicians to the community in new and expanded specialties
- Growing community partnerships and relationships
- Expanding operating rooms and building a new sterile processing center
- Providing care for patients in the midst of behavioral health crises in tandem with community partners
- Increasing primary care access points with new providers and locations
- Forging a strategic relationship with OrthoKansas around a regional vision
- Breaking ground on the new West Campus facility, a 25-year investment that will ensure the hospital’s ability to provide charitable care for generations to come.
“We have moved quickly and accomplished a great deal in the last three years—all consistent with our Destination Health strategy and informed by changes in the market,” said Johnson. “We’ve positioned our organization such that we have a clear vision on the horizon; we can see the path we’ll take over the next five to seven years. As we look to 2020, we will continue to pursue this path while adjusting our pace. The next two years will be focused on execution and implementation of these initiatives—occupying the new West Campus facility, developing our points of access, and expanding our clinical service.”
Expanding Access to Care
3211 Iowa Street
In May, LMH Health will open a new primary care/urgent care clinic in south Lawrence. This year also represents the first full year of operations for the new East Heights Family Care Clinic and the second for the walk-in clinic at OrthoKansas. Additional priorities for 2020 include patient safety, fiscal stewardship and value for patients, and advancements in treatments including patient-centered technology initiatives like robotic surgery.
“The role of community hospitals is changing toward a broader role in health, as opposed to illness/injury,” said Johnson. “As a tax-exempt community hospital, we will take care of all, regardless of their ability to pay. That’s what makes this hospital special—the $25 million of charitable care we provide each year. Providing exceptional healthcare for all is at the heart of all we do. We are building new and innovative partnerships with community non-profits to address social determinants of health. We are also working with our exceptional medical staff—both employed and independent—to increase access to healthcare.”