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Jeff Miller, chief operating officer; Donald Babb, CEO and executive director; Gary Fulbright, CFO; Denni McColm, chief information officer; and Renee Meyer, foundation director of finance
Jeff Miller, chief operating officer; Donald Babb, CEO and executive director; Gary Fulbright, CFO; Denni McColm, chief information officer; and Renee Meyer, foundation director of finance

2013 Dynamic Dozen No. 8: Citizens Memorial Healthcare

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Bolivar’s Citizens Memorial Healthcare has achieved consistent growth on par with the larger tertiary health care systems in southwest Missouri due to a focus on community needs and strategic services designed to meet them. The health care organization’s revenues approached $300 million in 2012, culminating in overall expansion of 20 percent since 2010.

With southwest Missori’s two health care titans – Mercy Springfield and CoxHealth – just miles down the road, CMH President Donald Babb says despite perception, the close relationship benefits CMH.

“It really is a plus for us to have (them) as close as they are,” he says. “They help by filling in some gaps that we can’t fill on our own, but more importantly it allows us to more closely focus on the unique needs of Bolivar and the surrounding area.”

Since first opening its doors to patients in 1982, CMH has grown to provide care for more than 30,000 in Polk County. The hopsital’s long-term local focus has uniquely prepared it to accommodate the needs within the greater Bolivar community, which includes a higher-than-average 30 percent of residents over 65 years old, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Targeted senior offerings such as home health, residential care, long-term care and independent living have been part of CMH’s long-range plan, including the current expansion of its Parkview Geriatric Wellness unit to 20 beds from 10. A key component to the health care system’s success began in 1999 with a then-innovative idea – electronic medical records.

Long-deferred information systems updates led CMH to pursue its own EMR system, which CMH implemented in 2002, far earlier than most health care entities in the country. The hospital went completely paperless in 2003. Chief Information Officer Denni McColm said the initiative paid hefty dividends and continues to do so.

“The unique thing about our EMR, besides that we did it early, was that we did it deep,” she says. “By that I mean we included the hospital, physician practices, home care and long-term care facilities from the get-go, something you usually don’t see even in bigger hospitals.

“At the time, we weren’t thinking about having 600 long-term-care beds and delivering 2 million doses of medicine each year, but today we do.”

Being ahead of the EMR curve allowed for a patient-focused strategy to be fully integrated into every expansion, McColm says. The innovation also has drawn lots of attention, including eight-time inclusion in Hospital & Health Network Magazine’s list of the nation’s 100 Most Wired Hospitals. CMH is one of four Missouri hospitals on the list, and the only one in southwest Missouri.

Aiming to continue on that path, Babb says the current CMH strategic plan is centered on expanding clinic services, attracting new physicians, streamlining patient utilization and increasing senior health services. The hospital kicked the year off with several major projects including expansion of the Dallas County Medical Center; construction on the Kerry and Synda Douglas Medical Center expansion, which includes 80,000 square feet of surgical suites, perioperative services, advanced imaging, a women’s center, endoscopic lab and physician offices; and the grand opening of the Tremain Family Hospitality House for oncology patients.

“Creativity is required to provide services that make our revenues streams work,” Babb says. “We have a busy few years ahead of us.”

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