Quorum Health Resources has made several on-site visits to South Central Kansas Medical Center during the past month as the health care consulting firm gathers information in preparation for an operational analysis of the hospital.

Photo by JENI McGEE

Photo by JENI McGEE

The study is a requirement of the Arkansas City Public Building Commission’s bond document related to construction of the replacement facility.

“Quorum is here to help us build some efficiencies into the operation,” said Holly Harper, SCKMC’s chief financial officer. “They will help us streamline a lot of our processes — be able to do more with less time, being able to get more done in a day then we are now.”

Quorum has provided hospital management and consulting services to more than 700 hospitals across the United States, and it owns a number of hospitals primarily located in cities or counties with populations of 50,000 or fewer.

“I think Quorum has been a real partner in this process. They haven’t tried to dictate to us,” said Virgil Watson, SCKMC’s chief executive officer.

“They’ve requested a lot of information in order to have the data they need to do their analysis. I think it will be a good top-to-bottom look at SCKMC and how we compare to hospitals our size.”

Most of the time spent at SCKMC by Quorum staff has been used to interact with hospital staff in order to get a better understanding of the specific challenges faced at the medical center.

“It’s been a very positive experience,” Harper said. “We have had many people on site who have actually sat with the staff and not just interviewed them, but have given them ideas to weigh things — showing us how we need to look at things really from every level, from what the manager needs to be focused on and the metrics that mean more to them, and speak to what they can do and change.”

“Then from the intermediate level, what those managers should be looking at and administration, at the 30,000-feet view, should be looking at,” she added.

The information gathered by Quorum will be compiled into an extensive analysis report that will allow hospital management to set measurable goals moving forward.

“Everything they have spoken to us about, they have provided some type of reference point for benchmarks. You have to be able to measure yourself at some point,” Harper said. “But they are not only giving us goals, they are giving us ranges. So we are able to hit a range and develop a score card to drill down to why we may not be hitting a metric.”

The final analysis is expected to be completed in early October. Watson said he hopes the end result will be a document that is able to be the foundation for the hospital’s strategic plan for many years to come — a “road map” that improves the financial stability of the facility, but also improves patient care.

“We are changing the culture of SCKMC and we want to be more customer-friendly,” Watson said.

“We want the customer to have a good experience here, and make sure we are right-sized in terms of how many people we have that are trying to take care of the various responsibilities and duties we have assigned to those areas of the hospital.

“We have to be able to live within our means. The whole point of this is to try and road-map a process of sustainability for the long term of SCKMC.”

This information was provided by South Central Kansas Medical Center Director of Marketing Clayton Pappan.