|Leading Growth in Lean Times|
There is no doubt the pandemic has challenged even the
strongest hospitals and health systems, exhausting staff, destabilizing
finances and putting growth plans firmly on the back burner.
Though McLaren St. Luke’s is not immune to these challenges, the 300-bed
community hospital is also primed for growth. With strong quality outcomes,
engaged employees and tremendous community support, St. Luke’s has served the
growing Toledo, Ohio, suburb of Maumee for more than 100 years.
In August, the hospital was acquired by McLaren Health Care, an integrated
health system with 15 hospitals and health plan operations across three states.
The partnership provides additional resources to support the hospital’s long-held
vision of expanding services to allow more people to receive care close to
home. By seeking out partnerships with small, independent hospitals and large
physician groups, McLaren St. Luke’s senior leadership is working to expand
services to fill unmet community needs in a fiscally responsible manner.
A hospital’s success for achieving growth in uncertain times hinges on its
ability to earn and maintain the trust and support of its employees and
physicians. This is even more important during the pandemic, as caregivers make
significant sacrifices to care for patients and one another.
Employees and physicians need to know that the administration is in their
corner and that growth will not come at their expense. Clear and decisive leadership
communication builds consensus quickly and shares not only the organization’s
broader vision but also a road map for getting there. McLaren St. Luke’s values
empowering leaders and using their knowledge to form a complete picture that
allows leadership to make informed decisions and effectively communicate with
their teams as they navigate uncharted waters.
Clinical Excellence as a Cornerstone
While it may not be a typical growth strategy, McLaren St. Luke’s is making the
standardization of clinical practices a cornerstone of its expansion plans.
Anchored by the belief that adherence to evidence-based protocols produces
better outcomes, the hospital is pursuing several important designations to
support staff in their efforts to deliver a higher level of care, safely and
In addition to becoming one of only 13 hospitals across the country to
earn certification from DNV GL Healthcare as a Primary Plus Stroke Center,
McLaren St. Luke’s will be pursuing national verification of its trauma program
from the American College of Surgeons. These certifications ensure caregivers
have received rigorous training in care protocols proven to yield the best
patient outcomes. Our leadership team regards these designations as not just an
opportunity to expand key service lines but, more importantly, an opportunity
to strengthen core competencies to meet vital and often time-sensitive patient
Responsibly Meeting Community Needs
As part of McLaren Health Care, McLaren St. Luke’s now has the ability to leverage
the system’s collective size and scale to reduce expenses and improve
efficiencies. This allows the hospital to achieve greater purchasing power,
improve supply chain operations and add technology.
These advantages cannot be underestimated in today’s environment, but looking
beyond the balance sheet to achieve growth amid limited resources is a wise
strategy. For McLaren St. Luke’s, that means a focus on enhancing (not
duplicating) services that already exist in the market. By seeking out
partnerships with small, independent hospitals and large physician groups,
McLaren St. Luke’s senior leadership is working to expand services to fill
unmet community needs in a fiscally responsible manner.
For example, the hospital is leveraging clinical resources available through
the McLaren Health Care network to explore adding of needed oncology services
and rebuilding its cardiovascular program. Though no organization can be
everything to everyone, concentrating expansion efforts in areas where McLaren
St. Luke’s can add clinical value allows the hospital’s leadership team to make
the most of limited resources.
As the pandemic tests the limits of many organizations, the crisis does not
have to be a deterrent for growth. With a strong vision and a commitment to the
fundamentals, McLaren St. Luke’s is seizing this moment to execute strategic
growth opportunities and find new ways to fulfill its mission.
--Adapted from “Leading
Growth in Lean Times,”Healthcare
Jennifer Montgomery, RN, FACHE, president and CEO, McLaren St. Luke’s, Maumee,