LMH Health West Campus - A Year in Review
It seems not long ago we were opening the doors for the first time to our LMH Health West Campus. What started as a mound of dirt turned into a 30-year strategy—a state-of-the-art facility that has already served many patients from our community and beyond. As we reflect on the past year, we are excited about the growth we have seen and for what is to come in the future.
The LMH Health West Campus. Photo by Michael Robinson
The mission for the campus
When the plans for West originated, the goal was to have a facility that not only enhanced LMH Health’s ability to care for the needs of the Lawrence community and beyond, but to create a space with the latest technology to support our continued goal to remain patient first.
Russ Johnson, LMH Health President and CEO, said this past year has brought challenges, but our mission behind West has remained the same.
“We began planning the West Campus about three and a half years ago with a standpoint of being patient first in an environment that is easy and accessible to our patients,” he said. “We were looking ahead to what the future of healthcare should look like with programs and services that are convenient and offered in an outstanding clinical environment. The way our teams have grown this past year and have used the landscape to provide for patients in an efficient way has been amazing to see. Our hope was to bring more services under one roof to give our patients time in their day back and efficiency when receiving care. To see this come to fruition has been incredible and very rewarding.”
Johnson said we now see around 1,000 patients a day at the LMH Health West Campus, and he expects that this number will only grow in the coming years as we expand services and adapt to the needs and interests of our community and patients.
"We know healthcare needs to be more convenient and accessible for all. We are committed to the work of health equity and inclusion for our community as we move into the future. "
Russ Johnson, LMH Health President and CEO
“Already in the first year of this new facility, we are seeing incredible collaboration and outstanding results from our clinicians,” Johnson said. “A broad range of programs and services have developed, and we’re taking advantage of the outpatient setting and moving further in the future of medicine. Some of this technology includes outpatient robotic joint replacement and our integrated Women’s Center, which has helped create an outstanding experience for patients navigating their illnesses. These successes are all a testament to the fantastic staff and providers that work at the West Campus.”
The climate of 2020 and into 2021 has marked incredibly challenging times for healthcare in our country. Johnson said coming through a pandemic, LMH Health and its team members have learned much about what it means to respond as a community.
“We know healthcare needs to be more convenient and accessible for all,” he said. “We are committed to the work of health equity and inclusion for our community as we move into the future. I am grateful for being a part of LMH Health and our community over the last five years and look forward with confidence and optimism.”
Having a new, larger facility has allowed our providers to make room for additional services and technology. Expanding our services has allowed us to fulfill our financial goals as a non-profit, community hospital who can provide a regional level of care.
“I am so happy to announce that we are meeting and exceeding our budget predictions so far since the West Campus has been open,” said Deb Cartwright, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for LMH Health. “Despite opening a new facility during COVID-19, we have been able to provide our patients with the best care while staying in a fantastic financial state. We absolutely could not have done that without the support of our donors, patients and community members who have trusted us with their care and to keep them safe during this scary time.”
Thankful for our supporters
Simply put, the LMH Health West Campus would not have been as successful without our incredible community support. The gifts provided to fund the building and technology have given us the ability to care better for our patients and serve out our mission.
“The LMH Health West Campus ensures we can deliver an ever-increasing quality of medical care for our patients,” said Rebecca Smith, VP of Strategic Communication for LMH Health & Executive Director of the LMH Health Foundation. “The West Campus is also a vital part of our efforts to strengthen the hospital in ways that help sustain our mission. As the largest safety net entity in our community, LMH provides more than $25 million in financial assistance each year, ensuring everyone in our community has access to primary and specialty care, regardless of their ability to pay. The patients who chose to receive their care at LMH also support community outreach and crisis care for mental health and substance abuse—services that are absolutely essential for community health.”
Private donors played a vital role in funding the construction of the LMH Health West Campus, generously providing more than $5 million to the facility. Smith said donors know that this facility is an important resource for our community and were eager to help.
“There’s a caring, proactive approach to healthcare at LMH — rooted in excellence and aimed at continuous improvement,” she said. “Our donors’ gifts toward construction of the West Campus signal understanding and support for that approach and ensures LMH Health can fulfill its newly envisioned purpose as a partner for lifelong health.”
Advancements in Women’s Health
Last year, we talked with Dr. Scarlett Aldrich, a plastic surgeon with Plastic Surgery Specialists of Lawrence, just before the new Women’s Center opened at West. The excitement for a new, bigger space with the capabilities to tend to patients more diligently was very real. So now that the spaced has been lived in and worked in, how is it working out?
“Our space at the West Campus is wonderful,” she said. “It is a beautiful campus that is becoming highly efficient as we settle into the new rhythm. We have already begun to reap the rewards of the Women’s Center as a multidisciplinary clinic. There have been several instances where a patient who needed imaging or evaluation from another provider was able to just walk to the next hallway and get it taken care of right away.”
Dr. Aldrich said that the goal to bring more care under one roof for our patients is coming true and it is incredible to see.
“The West Campus and the structure it provides is so convenient for our patients and gives them a peace of mind to get tests and results faster,” she said. “We have also been able to coordinate appointment times so that patients can minimize their time away from their daily routine. I love the convenience and efficiency we can provide. Our goal is always to provide the best care possible and I feel like we have made a giant leap forward.”
OrthoKansas at LMH Health West Campus. Photo by Michael Robinson
An inside look at the past year at OrthoKansas
One of the most notable clinics that moved out to the West Campus last year was OrthoKansas. The space touts a 16,000 square foot facility with amazing new equipment and technology. It was built on the basis of providing better care for our patients to aid in their most optimal recovery time and healing, in a next-to-real life setting. Dr. Douglass Stull, an orthopedic surgeon with OrthoKansas, said in this new setting, all musculoskeletal needs of the patient can be managed and met under one roof, from clinical evaluation, advanced imaging, physical therapy and ultimately, surgery.
“The sheer increase in size in both our office and clinic space and the dramatic increase in our therapy space has made it possible to accommodate more patients and their musculoskeletal needs,” he said. “The clinic design has also allowed for operational efficiencies when managing a high volume of patients.”
Dr. Stull commented on the significant growth the clinic has seen since the opening, and in the past few months alone.
“We have seen significant growth in the past year, in fact, we had the most number of clinical visits we have ever had during June 2021,” he said. “We have yet to open two clinical pods and hope to do so soon, as we plan to add providers in the near future to care for our growing community.”
One of his favorite parts about being at West has been witnessing the reactions of his patients and their family members. He said it’s been rewarding to see their positive responses entering and using the building.
“Our patients are getting the facility and the care they deserve. It’s a beautiful building, but it’s the people who work in the building that make it so special,” Dr. Stull said. “Not only does it inspire our patients, but it inspires our staff and physicians by being a space that we love to work in. It is an art gallery, which showcases local artists; it can host community events with its upstairs outdoor patio space; and it has a space that is available for the expanding healthcare needs of our community and region in the future. It is part of the community bus route, and the walking trail has one of the best views of the Kansas sunset in town. We have been and will continue to be able to care better for our patients, while providing a space that is the future of healthcare.”