Chief Executive Officer Leonard Hernandez is quick to emphasize the word 'team.'
"This award is a rousing endorsement of five years of hard work and dedication," Hernandez said. "I always point out the most important word in that title: 'team.' It's not CEO or board or any one department. We are a team and these people represent some of the finest professionals with whom I have ever worked."
To understand Coffey Health System's success of today, you really have to look back. Five short years ago, Coffey County Hospital was nearly a statistic—another rural hospital closure on a map with far too many red pins. An unfortunate series of CEO turnovers and financial mismanagement left the organization with several million in debt. The board of trustees had voted to close the long-term care unit, leading to tension with community leaders and staff. To top it all off, 2014 saw a $4 million loss and technology issues that haunt CHS even today.
Fast forward to a new CEO, new organization structure, and a board of trustees and county commission working together to achieve financial stability. In 2018, finances broke even. Proving the outstanding clinical care, the hospital earned a CMS five-star rating in 2018 and a four-star rating in 2019, well above the national average. Coffey County Hospital also earned its first national accreditation in the hospital's 65-year history.
That same long-term care unit that was doomed to closure a few years ago now holds a CMS five-star rating and is ranked number one in Kansas according to the Great Plains Quality Improvement Network.
"When I came here in 2015, I wasn't drawn in by the buildings, equipment, or data sheets," Hernandez said. "Joni and I could immediately see that it is the people who make CHS a special place. Few can truly understand the precarious situation Coffey Health System found itself in six years ago, but I can assure you that the leadership staff sacrificed a great deal to assure that Coffey County Hospital would be here for generations to come."
Since 2014, Coffey Health System's annual gross revenue grew more than 24 percent from $31 million to $41 million in 2018. (Since the nomination was completed, gross revenue for 2019 came in at $43.4 million.) Annual net revenue increased from $21.8 in 2014 million to $25.5 million in 2018.
"This $3.8 million increase was the result of everyone working together to establish and hold firm to budgets," Hernandez said. "This led to a $4 million improvement in our performance."
After a net loss of $4,048,855 in 2014, Coffey Health System broke even in 2018 and met a number of significant milestones along the way, including:
Access to Quality Care
"In order to be considered for this honor, we had to demonstrate access to quality care and community involvement/outreach," Hernandez explained. "We wouldn't have such exceptional quality of care scores if it weren't for every single member of the CHS family working together to give our patients and residents the best care possible. Our community is better served today than ever."
Clinical highlights include:
Coffey Health System faces an additional challenge shared by very few Critical Access Hospitals: it is the first line of medical assistance for a nuclear power plant located six miles away. Staff from all departments have performed impeccably in drills and training exercises implemented by local emergency preparedness and by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Another key element in the nomination was the hospital's partnership for ongoing Coffey County Community Health Needs Assessment. This work—conducted by CHS Director of Marketing Tracy Campbell and Coffey County Health Department Administrator Lindsay Payer—shined a light on the prevalence of mental illness throughout the county, in addition to other key findings. The Coffey County Commission reviewed the work and challenged Campbell and Payer to address mental health. Armed with a $200,000 grant from the county, they formed an advisory board with representation from schools, the hospital, clergy, a district judge, and the county sheriff. In their first year, this group provided 1,236 hours of mental health training to 175 Coffey County residents, including educators, health care professionals, and law enforcement officers.
Coffey Health System also partners extensively with schools throughout the region to provide opportunities for students to job shadow in all departments. CHS recently partnered to provide employment screenings for the Burlington school district. The newest venture in working together is called Bridges 18-21 program. The program will provide social and vocational services for young adults.
"We also share this honor with our community partners who have stood by us through the rebuilding process," Hernandez said. "Special thanks go to everyone who provided a letter of support on our behalf: the Coffey County Board of Commissioners (Don Meats, Robert Saueressig, Fred Rowley, Cody Haddock, and Tom Hugunin), Coffey County Health Department Administrator Lindsay Payer, and U.S.D. 244 Superintendent Craig Marshall."