No end in sight on Lexington health care rift
Senior staff members of Lexington Regional Health Center expressed their frustration Wednesday evening with an ongoing rift with the local physician's group. Discussion lasted for a full hour on the subject during the Health Center's monthly board meeting. CEO Leslie Marsh says she only raised the issue with board members in an open meeting because she continually hears feedback from community members and health care professionals across the state, that the Health Center doesn't communicate with the Medical Group physicians. An issue she and other hospital staff strongly disagreed with. She also said she learned that physicians with Plum Creek Medical Group have expressed an interest in seeking hospital privileges in Cozad.
Human Resources Director Jill Denker says the rift is really concerning "because we have a lot of concerned, upset community members not understanding why they're being sent out of the community for their healthcare. And not understanding why providers are not working with the hospital." Denker said the Health Center needs to address that and let people know that they have many of the same services as those offered in other communities. One statistic mentioned during the discussion was that as much as 58% of Lexington area residents seek their health care outside of the community.
Marsh noted that one of the recommendations of an outside consultant, who studied the LRHC operation, was to pursue mediation between the hospital and Plum Creek Medical Group. Marsh said the consultant felt the health center and medical group "didn't see things the same way. That we needed a little bit of help to figure out how to move forward." Marsh said she had communicated the mediation idea with the Medical Group a couple of times but, had not heard back from them up to that point. The study, called the Organizational Assessment, was formally presented to LRHC board members by the study consultant on Saturday.
Senior staff members discussed many examples where communications with the physician group were not successful but, they also admit there may have been some mistakes on their part too. Chief Operating Officer Jim Hain said Health Center officials try to do their best to communicate. Hain said they try to include PCMG physicians in their hospital committees, particularly when it comes to regulations or patient care. He said that although the physicians do attend their meetings "sometimes their record(about attending them) isn't very good." He added that it's "all about communication. We want our providers to know what we are doing in our hospital." Hain said health care is changing and transforming and "it might be the message that's communicated" that creates division.
Denker commented that employees have remarked how the culture and communication has changed in the past five years. She said LRHC "truly is a great place to work due to the leadership team that has turned things around."
Board Chairman Kerry Teetor remarked that the Health Center is not out to take the Medical Group down, "we're out to work with them. To make them prosperous, make the hospital prosperous and give the patient a place to go that's at home so they don't have to travel and that's not happening."
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