KSB Hospital: David Schreiner, President and Chief Executive Officer

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David-Schreiner-thumbWithout the resources and connections that come with being a large, academic medical center or being affiliated with a regional healthcare delivery system, independent rural hospitals rely heavily on each employee to ensure success.

In Dixon, Ill., a small town of about 15,000 city residents, Katherine Shaw Bethea (KSB) Hospital has maintained exceptional patient satisfaction scores mainly because of its care team. The hospital has received the HealthGrades Outstanding Patient Experience Award three years running.

Building employee development and satisfaction

The 80-bed hospital is one of the largest employers in the community and employs more than 70 physicians. Mindful of this fact, KSB Hospital has managed to avoid layoffs during the country’s economic downturn by implementing Lean processes and reducing staff through attrition.

President and Chief Executive Officer David Schreiner also places a heavy emphasis on employee development and communication, which in turn leads to patient satisfaction and high quality.

“We are proud of our quality statistics, and we are highly transparent with those,” Schreiner said. “Our service gives people a reason to stay at home, rather than travel to Chicago suburbs. We want them to know that bigger isn’t always better.”

To stay in touch with employees, Schreiner writes for his blog a few times a week, sharing patient stories, recognizing employees, and sharing awards or general information about the health of the organization.

“My goal was everyone knowing where we stand from a patient satisfaction, quality, and financial perspective,” he said. “Our employees need to know what is going on and know that we are all in this together.”

In addition to transparency with staff and clinicians, KSB has a young professionals group, the goal of which is to develop those employees who have the desire to enter into management positions. KSB leadership received 25 employee applications for 16 slots in the program to attend an evening meeting, unpaid, once a month, where healthcare and community leaders come in to talk about professional development topics.

The hospital’s board also has education opportunities during board meetings. Schreiner said bringing in speakers to board meetings has been more successful than off-campus retreats or other training opportunities presented in the past.

KSB Hospital also has a family-medicine residency in association with the University of Illinois. The hospital hosts two residents each year and is in the 11th year of the program, and some graduates are beginning to stay in town.

Building a strategic plan

KSB has a four-point strategic plan for growth and sustainability over the next three to five years. In an effort to continue avoiding layoffs, one of the organization’s main goals is achieving Lean sustainable operations to take $1.2 million out of the expense structure. About two years ago, the hospital recruited a chief nursing officer out of Iowa with experience in Lean processes who has taken the lead in implementing those programs.

KSB is also working to improve its electronic medical records system, moving from multiple separate systems to one integrated medical record. The hospital is implementing a new EMR and revenue cycle management system by Siemens.

Patient and employee satisfaction and growth make up the remaining half of the hospital’s strategic plan. KSB aims to build the best team possible to enact its mission and to embrace patient-centered care models and develop a culture to build great systems and avoid individual blame.

“We want employees to feel comfortable coming forward and saying that a mistake was made so that we can evaluate the system and fix shortcomings in our process,” Schreiner said.

Trying to stay independent

Remaining independent is important to the hospital’s board, but Schreiner recognizes that partnerships may be a vital part of the future.

“Our mission is to take care of the community, and we have to do that in the way that is the most viable,” he said. “Our future may be as a standalone, but we may need to partner with other organizations.”

The demands on healthcare leaders and hospital operations are rapidly changing. Schreiner has been CEO of KSB Hospital for two years and is working with staff and leadership to carve a new path forward.

“What was successful in the past may not necessarily be successful for us in the future,” he said. “We are always focused on patients, but we have to also focus on metrics to be viable. Community hospitals are important, and we want to be among the top 100 hospitals. The people in our community deserve to receive the best healthcare in the country, and I think we can deliver that with the resources we have.”

-by Patricia Chaney

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