Healthcare is changing at a frenetic pace, so how does SCL Health survive and thrive during such challenging times? By holding on to “no regret” strategies, according to SCL Health President and CEO Mike Slubowski. These are tried and true strategies, rooted in our core values, that are built to weather storms. As associates, we must work to:
- Respond to the requirements of the patient
- Develop trusting relationships through consistent, predictable action
- Support partnerships
- Deliver value (low cost and high quality)
- Innovate, pilot and experiment with new processes and technology to respond to patient needs
- Engage everyone as One SCL Health
- Keep the long view in mind
- Remain curious and try to work from the perspective of a “beginner’s mind.”
Mike outlined this plan in his State of the System update during recent quarterly Town Hall meetings for system services. Here’s a roundup of other items he covered in this month’s Town Hall meetings:
Support for Our Communities: Increase in Community Benefit
SCL Health increased its spending on community benefit from $208 million in 2014 to $222 million in 2015. This money helps those who are poor and vulnerable through financial aid and charity care programs, covering shortfalls for those covered by Medicaid as well as programs, services and direct care for patients.
We don’t just track this money as part of regulatory requirements, although that is important. As Mike put it: “Charity is who we are and what we do.” Tracking community benefit data allows SCL Health to enhance these benefits for all we serve year after year.
SCL Health Structure and Governance
Two new board members — Paul Hughes-Cromwick, a health economist, and Sr. Constance Phelps, a consultant for women religious and health system governance — will join SCL Health shortly. Three additional board members are currently being approved by the governance committee and will be announced soon.
Topeka has been on all of our minds since the end of May when the board voted to seek and transfer operations of St. Francis to another healthcare organization who will be able to strengthen the ministry. “St. Francis is still a part of our family,” Mike said, and it is business as usual until we learn otherwise. As a system we will continue to support them throughout the transition, which is expected to be a lengthy process.
These community hospitals are 40,000-square-foot facilities with full emergency departments, imaging, limited laboratory, surgery and eight licensed in-patient beds, all in a convenient location for these communities.
SCL Health remains committed to pursuing population health, or accountable health strategies, as healthcare continues to shift to more holistic business models focused on health improvement.
Population health means taking responsibility for both costs and outcomes of care for a defined population. While fee-for-service care is episodic, population health is more holistic with the ultimate goal being health improvement. A number of population health initiatives are already underway within the system, including Medicare Shared Savings Programs in Montana and Kansas, Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement in Colorado and Kansas, self-insurance of SCL Health associates and their families and commercial products.
“As the old phrase goes, ‘You can manage the old way; you can manage the new way. It’s the transition that will befuddle you.’ We are in the middle of the transition,” Mike says, “but we are on the right path and we will all have to work together to make it successful.”
We are financially strong, but there are things we can all do to keep our budget on track. Each of us has a role to play in stewardship, for instance cutting back on external consulting and contracted services. If you have ideas for ways SCL Health can improve efficiency and reduce waste, speak up!
As we shared previously, associates achieved an impressive 78 percent response rate in the recent “View From You” associate engagement survey, one of the highest response rates among Press Ganey’s clients! Overall associate engagement improved significantly, with complete results expected later this summer. Overall, great news and improvement for our system!