Robinson Memorial Hospital: Richard Clough, Chief Operating Officer

by HCE Exchange on August 19, 2010

The second largest employer in Portage County, Ohio, is the community hospital that can trace its roots back to a Main St. home in 1894. Today, Robinson Memorial Hospital has 11 locations throughout the county, including physician practices, and the organization tops 1,600 employees. Last year, hospital revenues totaled $143 million. Funds available to reinvest in patient care amounted to about $10 million.

Robinson’s main campus includes a 150-staffed-bed, full-service hospital in Ravenna. The Kent campus has a freestanding ambulatory surgery center and imaging center. The organization also has facilities in Aurora and Brimfield, and has recently opened a campus in Streetsboro that consolidated many physician offices and includes urgent care services, a sleep disorders center, an imaging center and rehabilitation services. Robinson also hosts a broad network of physicians.

Partnering to Leverage Dollars

Robinson is an affiliate of Summa Health System, one of the largest healthcare delivery systems in Ohio. “Through our affiliation with Summa Health System in Akron, Ohio, we’ve been able to reduce costs throughout the continuum by working with Summa and adding our purchasing dollars to theirs,” says Richard Clough, Chief Operating Officer of Robinson Memorial Hospital.

The hospital does as much group purchasing, materials management, and supply chain purchases as possible through Summa and looks to save around $4 million in the next five years. “We are also working with them on other initiatives in the human resource area and with our revenue cycle in the finance arena,” says Clough.

The two systems work together to make sure they are not duplicating services in either market area. They share best practices and are working towards co-branding to position themselves as the regional leader in healthcare. In 2008, they made great strides in the area of heart attack management. “For severe heart attacks, there is a 90-minute window from door to balloon, and we are consistently meeting it,” Clough says. “We also provide the appropriate care for patients with less severe heart attacks.”

Patients with severe heart attack who come to Robinson are stabilized and transferred to Akron. Through the affiliation with Summa, the hospital has set up a team and a referral line for transfer to tertiary care. Helicopter access on the main campus assures that patients get treated as quickly as possible.

Growing and Going Green

The last several years have resulted in a lot of growth for Robinson. Beginning in 2006, several off-site buildings have been completed. The organization opened a state-of-the-art imaging center in Kent, as well as a second medical arts building on the main campus. A new facility in Streetsboro consolidates six previous sites into one 75,000-square-foot building.

“We believe it will create synergy among the physicians and the support staff,” says Clough. “It will help facilitate physician consults. We are cross-training staff so that they can work in all areas, not just the one practice where they originally worked.”

“The building was built for an environment of teamwork, particularly between the staff and physicians. It was built with plenty of room for growth because Streetsboro is one of our fastest growing communities in Portage County. The facility will handle not only today’s business, but business for many years to come.”

Though not LEED certified, the hospital also has a green strategy underway. The center in Streetsboro was built to maximum efficiency. “We went to extra lengths to make sure the building material was as energy-efficient as possible,” says Clough. “We have ongoing green strategies at the hospital with new air handling units, new lighting, and similar initiatives.”

Meeting Challenges

“I think the biggest challenge that we face is certainly with the new healthcare initiative coming out of Washington and what it will have in store for us. I don’t know if anybody knows at this particular point in time, but just being ready to be on the cutting edge and being able to still provide quality patient care is our focus,” says Clough.

The hospital is also preparing for a $30 to $40 million project that will result in total conversion to electronic medical records. Clough says, “For a community hospital, it will definitely be a challenge, and we’ve got to make sure that it’s done once and that it’s done right.”

“What Robinson does show as a community hospital is that we are an innovator,” says Clough. “Our staff truly treats their patients like family. I know a lot of people say that, but in a community our size, we really are serving our neighbors.”

“I think if I had to speak to one thing that makes Robinson what it is today, it would be the staff and the excellent nursing care that we provide.”

-by Tracy Million Simmons

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