"The Ronan Report" provides insight about the activities at the Western Maryland Health System in Cumberland, Maryland, and about the changes taking place in healthcare today from a CEO's perspective.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Remaining Relevant

The other day, I had a conversation with an employee who was complimenting me on ensuring that WMHS has remained relevant in this ever changing field.  My response was “it takes a team of people to accomplish what we have at WMHS and you are an integral part of that achievement.”  I meant every word of my response as it is so very true.  Leadership can have a vision for the organization, but it takes a board of directors to support that vision and a team of managers, providers, staff members, volunteers, contractors, students and others to execute that vision. 
When I arrived at work this morning, there was an article on what is the most important characteristic in a CEO that had been emailed to me overnight .  According to the article, it is ensuring organizational relevance.  Very timely.  The article talked about ensuring that the organization is in a better place as we deal with a resistance to change and an uncertain future in health care.  
At WMHS, we have certainly overcome any resistance to change.  First, there was the formation of the health system almost twenty years ago.  With the average tenure of a WMHS employees, many of us have been an integral part of that very historical change.  It was certainly a very challenging time for everyone involved, but it was certainly the right thing to do for the preservation of health care in western Maryland.  
Then there was building of the new hospital.  There was the recognition that continuing to operate two aging hospitals, Memorial and Sacred Heart, was not in the best interest in the future of the health system.  Many would have questioned our sanity if we would have put close to $200 million into a facility that was over 40 years old or even more money into one that was landlocked on seven acres and whose oldest campus structure opened in the 1920’s.  By having a new state-of-the art facility located on a site different from Memorial or Sacred Heart also eliminated any opposition from those who were against the affiliation from the start and were expecting us to use one of the existing campuses.
Shortly after the new hospital opened, we then transitioned to value-based care delivery……….talk about change, wow!  We virtually changed every aspect of how we deliver care.  That change took a while, but eventually our staff got on board and now change is embraced system wide.
For all health care providers, the uncertain future is still in play, but at WMHS, we are working every day to ensure that we remain relevant well into the future.   We are continuing to preserve and grow our market share, which is a requirement of the Total Patient Revenue payment methodology established by the HSCRC.  There are several providers from outside the area who are flexing their strategic muscle in an attempt to move market share away from us and in their direction.  As revenues continue to decline, such encroachment will continue, but it is up to us to ensure that doesn’t happen. 

Remaining relevant has never been more critical for hospitals and it is up to all of us to ensure that we are both focused and optimistic about our future.  As I told the complimenting employee, it takes a team and I can’t think of a better group of people to make sure that we continue to be relevant well into the future.

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