Findings of LRHC study presented on Saturday

A state-sponsored study of the Lexington Regional Health Center resulted in several recommendations that were presented to board members and staff during a special hospital board meeting on Saturday. Bill Luke, an independent healthcare consultant, conducted the study last fall. He said LRHC is doing well financially. He said there was one year when it didn't do very well but, it has bounced back from that and there is no long term debt.

Luke added that Lexington has good providers along with a "well organized" and "engaged" Health Center board. He also said the executive leadership team seemed to be "professional" and "well trained." Luke gave strong marks for the new construction and upcoming renovation of the hospital campus. But, he also cautioned the Health Center to guard against "change fatigue".

Among his suggestions was to develop an active volunteer program with the Health Center. He said "there are a lot of people in the community that are looking for how they can give back to the community and how they can serve in some way." He said he's observed some "really creative ways" that hospitals have found people in the community that have skills, abilities, talents and some time to benefit local healthcare.

Though only a small part of his overall recommendations Luke did note the rift between the Health Center and providers with the Plum Creek Medical Group. "In rural healthcare," he said "our biggest problem is not having enough healthcare resources and so to have the rift, them being divided up, is just something that really hurts everybody." He add that "hopefully they can find a way to get some traction and get back together to work for the community good." He suggested hiring a mediator with the costs of mediation split between the two organizations. Luke also recommended the Health Center improve it's communication channels and effectiveness.

Following the session, Health Center Board Chair Kerry Teetor discussed some of his thoughts on the Organizational Assessment report. He noted that Luke suggested that it was "essential" that the health center, the community and the providers pull together for a unified healthcare community. Teetor said the organizational assessment was suggested and paid for by the state department of health. He believes it will be helpful with the Health Center's strategic plan and noted that the patient is the ultimate focus of the decisions they make.

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