How 3 hospital CEOs put their community's needs first

Community hospitals have a unique challenge to ensure the services they provide reflect the needs of the communities they serve. 

Three CEOs discussed their strategies for addressing these challenges during the Becker's Hospital Review 8th Annual CEO + CFO Roundtable in November.

The panelists were: 

  • Brian Peters, CEO of Michigan (Okemos) Health & Hospital Association
  • Katherine Bunting, PhD, CEO of Fairfield (Ill.) Memorial Hospital
  • Timothy Egan, President and CEO of Roseland Community Hospital (Chicago)

When considering whether a community hospital or health system should add a service line, the panelists agreed that it's important to make decisions based on what makes the most sense for the community versus choosing what would bring in the most money to the hospital. 

To figure out what a community needs, hospitals must be engaged outside of their four walls. 

Dr. Bunting said Fairfield Memorial shut down its obstetrics department because the number of childbirths was declining significantly. It decided to focus on recruiting more primary care physicians to meet the community's greater needs. 

"We look at our different departments and ask ourselves, are they benefiting the overall mission, or are they putting our mission in jeopardy because of a lack of usage and utilization?" Dr. Bunting said. 

Dr. Bunting also said Fairfield Memorial is enhancing its emergency room to serve as a makeshift psychiatric hospital to combat a mental health crisis facing Southern Illinois, which she said is a desert for psychiatric services. 

Dr. Egan said Roseland has started to offer dental services because there were no dentists operating anywhere near the hospital. 

"Your community is where your mission is, and your strategy should be to follow your mission above all else," Dr. Egan said. 

Dr. Peters added that for his health system, ensuring access to the 340B drug-pricing program is a high priority to serve the needs of the community. 

More articles on leadership and management:
Why CEOs should solve problems outside their organization
WSJ: Executive assistants are a dying breed
What healthcare boards can take from baseball's sign-stealing scandal

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