Notes from the Board - March 17, 2021
Strategic Clinical Relationships
The main focus of today’s Board of Trustees meeting was on strategic clinical relationships. Over the past 18 months, a steering committee made up of clinicians, administration and Board of Trustee members have been discussing this idea and how it could benefit the patients and communities LMH Health serves.
But what is a strategic clinical relationship? It’s a collaborative commitment to shared success between LMH Health and another organization(s) with whom we will develop a committed relationship focused on clinical, strategic and operational improvements. We will align clinical programs wherever it is in the best interest of our patients and to explore models that expand our scope and yield higher value to patients/consumers. Respect, trust, innovation and commitment to mutual success will be vital.
A strategic clinical relationship is about:
- Growing and improving our services for the people in our community so our patients can get the care they need, close to home
- Being intentional around what we want to improve through a strategic clinical relationship with another health system
- A long-term commitment to keeping and growing the local, independent healthcare system our community wants
A strategic clinical relationship is NOT about:
- Telling our clinicians where they must send patients for service. Providers won’t lose the ability to choose the best course of treatment for a patient.
- Selecting the provider or system that already does things the way we want them to
- Selling the hospital or changing our ownership, governance or management to another entity or health system. LMH Health is not for sale.
“We are not planning to sell LMH Health,” said Russ Johnson, LMH Health President & CEO. “I can assure you that this board, administration team and medical staff want to continue to provide this heartfelt, neighbor-to-neighbor care in this community.”
What are our guardrails – our must have agreements to enter into a strategic clinical relationship?
- We will not relinquish our independent ownership or governance
- No relationship will impede the Medical Staff from making referrals to the most appropriate and best place for a patient’s care.
- LMH Health is always the final authority for healthcare decisions in our service area.
- No relationship will inhibit our purpose or conflict with our strategy.
This is a long-term strategic process, one that will support our mission as a tax-exempt charitable trust providing millions in charitable care each year. Providing exceptional healthcare for all is at the heart of all we do.
It’s the beginning of a conversation to explore a long-lasting relationship, not yet a commitment. It won’t be done tomorrow, next week or even next year. And we’ll keep you informed every step of the way. We will ensure our stakeholders have the necessary information to support LMH Health in discussions they encounter with patients, peers, co-workers, family and friends.
Bob Moody, Chair of the Board of Trustees, affirmed the board’s commitment to transparency.
“We will make a commitment as a board to keep clinicians and staff informed about how we’re proceeding with a strategic clinical relationship and how it might impact them,” he said.
In other news:
Orthopedics earns Joint Commission accreditation for Total Hip and Knee replacements
We are pleased to announce that the team at LMH Health OrthoKansas has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for Advanced Total Hip and Knee Replacement Certification.
The certification, in collaboration with the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, recognizes the advanced standards of care during a total hip and total knee replacement, from pre-surgical orthopedic consultation to the interoperative and post-surgical follow-up care.
To earn the certification, LMH Health underwent an on-site review on March 10, 2021. During the visit, Joint Commission surveyors evaluated compliance with related certification standards developed in consultation with health care experts and providers, measurement experts and patients. The reviewers also conducted onsite observations and interviews.
“We are extremely proud of the team and the work they have put in over the last few years to attain this certification,” said Johnson. “I am grateful to work with outstanding clinicians and staff dedicated to providing high-quality orthopedic services for our patients and communities.”
New name, same outstanding service
The LMH Health Oncology and Hematology Center, which opened its doors 21 years ago, has grown as a regional destination for integrated cancer care. In 2020, the program had more than 15,600 patient interactions.
In the coming weeks, we will be transitioning to a new name for this program: The LMH Health Cancer Center. This new name more accurately represents the comprehensive and progressive cancer care offered at the hospital, as the center is home to physicians trained at NCI-designated cancer centers, multidisciplinary care teams, and strong regional healthcare provider partnerships. We are excited for this name change, which we think will bring increased awareness to the exceptional quality of care available to patients, right here at home.
In 2020, the LMH Health Cancer Center earned official accreditation from the Commission on Cancer.
- This prestigious recognition, which is only awarded to institutions that can demonstrate a multidisciplinary approach to treating cancer as a complex group of diseases, comes after a rigorous, two-year survey process that monitored protocols, treatments and outcomes in LMH Health’s cancer care units.
- Only 25 percent of U.S. hospitals have this level of accreditation; LMH Health joins just eleven other hospitals in Kansas with this outstanding credential.
Cancer patients can find complete care at LMH Health, with access to leading-edge clinical trials, genetic testing, comprehensive support programs, lifelong survivorship resources, a cancer prevention program and much more.
We ended 2020 on a strong financial note, despite unexpected operational disruptions related to the pandemic; revenues exceeded expenses by more than $4.06 million. While revenue was lower than expected in January, due to lower volumes and a continuing drop in Emergency Department visits – as is true across the country, February showed improvement. We saw a strong volume in care for higher acuity patients with longer stays and we had good flexibility for staffing. March is looking very strong and we anticipate this trend to continue in the second quarter.
“We’re pleased that in the midst of a challenging time, there’s some stability, strength and excellent results on the financial front,” Johnson said.
Deb Cartwright, LMH Health CFO, shared that we could see a permanent transformation in emergency care due to the COVID pandemic. Patients were encouraged to seek primary care for evaluation instead of coming to the Emergency Department for all of their care.
“We’ve seen a 15 - 18% reduction in emergency visits, which is lower than the average decline in the U.S. That’s sitting at about 20%,” she said. “We will continue to monitor how this will change our system of care and our financial performance going forward.”
Brian Bradfield, LMH Health vice president for ancillary services, shared that beginning next week Kansas will be launching Phases 3 and 4 for COVID vaccinations.
“There are roughly 11,000 people in this phase, but we anticipate this number growing as people realize they qualify in this group,” he said.
While we’re headed into new phases, there are still about 4,200 people left to be vaccinated in Phase 2. Unified Command will send a code to the entirety of that group to come out to the clinic and receive their vaccination.