The future holds many challenges for local healthcare providers, including the state’s fiscal crisis; Medicare and Medicaid reform; the impact of transitioning from fee-for-service to value-based reimbursement; rising costs for personnel, medication, technology and supplies; and the pressure to deliver quality and safety at a lower cost.
These challenges have far-reaching implications, not only for those directly involved in the healthcare industry, but throughout the community. Consider that the area’s two largest healthcare providers are also among its four largest employers. We are very aware of our role as a vital part of the economic engine in the Peoria area, and know it is in the best interest not only of Methodist, but of our community, that we be prepared not just to survive, but to thrive in the face of the challenges ahead.
Our plan starts with using Lean methodology to improve processes, reduce variation and eliminate waste. By training and empowering our employees to form Lean teams in their workgroups, we have already identified and implemented ways to deliver better service, more quickly.
We have long been committed to improving quality and safety and reducing complications through evidence-based care. We have a strong history of improving our results in these areas as evidenced by both internal and publicly reported data. As a senior affiliate of Iowa Health System (IHS), we now have access to best practices throughout the organization. Our emphasis on delivering the highest-quality care positions us well for a future of performance-based reimbursement.
Holding down costs is also key to a sustainable future. Our affiliation with IHS has already returned dividends in the form of shared savings. For example, Methodist is now the first in the area with the latest cancer-fighting technology—the TrueBeam™ linear accelerator—acquired at substantial savings, thanks to the combined buying power of IHS.
We also know that talent development and retention is critical. This is a commitment I believe in strongly—not just for leadership, but for all employees. One of the most rewarding activities for me personally is the Methodist Breakfast of Champions. This quarterly event gives me an opportunity to sit down with top performers from across the organization and talk to them about the things they are most proud of. These outstanding employees are worth investing in.
Finally, growth is essential to economic development—not just for Methodist, but for the community. We continue to develop new services to improve the health of central Illinois residents, and Methodist Medical Group continues to grow, with primary care and specialty providers throughout an eight-county region. We are also among the IHS affiliates participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program Accountable Care Organization—a new, voluntary care coordination program created to offer high-quality service and care to beneficiaries through partnership with Medicare.
The next decade will bring continued pressure on all of us in the healthcare community. But through careful planning, and with an eye on the future, I believe we will be well prepared for those challenges, so we can continue to be a leading healthcare provider as well as a major economic contributor in central Illinois. iBi