Letters to the editor

(Editor’s note: Hospital board candidate Dave Irwin submitted two letters simultaneously. We present both of them here, as submitted.)

Dear Editor:

I live in Sumner,Neb.  I graduated from Lexington High School in 1965, and graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan University in 1970.  I retired after 43 years in education (teaching/coaching).  Now I am the pastor at Orleans Presbyterian Church and have been for almost 9 years.  My wife, Debra, is a nurse.  My mother was an RN at the old Lexington hospital, and my father was a Methodist pastor here at Lexington.  I have three daughters, all married and working here in Nebraska.  One is a full-time dentist.

I am running because I believe I can make a difference and I want to keep our healthcare dollars here in Lexington.  I know the voters in the Lexington hospital district are tired of this constant civil-war type thing going on.  They want it done with and over.  We are being made fun of at other medical institutions in the state, because of this constant strife.  I have heard this first-hand.

We cannot close the new urgent care or the new clinic, because they have to be paid for now.

I am worried about the budget, as all of us taxpayers should be.  We can’t continue operating anything in the red, especially with large payments coming due soon.  I believe I can bring a positive attitude and positive ideas to the board.  I believe that it is time for fresh ears and fresh eyes on the board.  Change is good, and it is time for that.

I don’t know both sides really well yet, as I just kind of jumped into this election.  But, I’m trying to learn on the fly the issues of all people, and their concerns.  Then I can attempt to find answers to give them.

We need to turn all of this anger that exists in the hospital district into positive energy to move ahead and start making healthcare in this community the best for ‘all’ people.

I don’t feel it can succeed the way it is going, as split as it is now.

Patients should always come first.  Those who are going here and those won’t go here right now.  Our healthcare dollars are going to other places than here, and that needs to change if the new and remodeled facilities are going to financially succeed.

I have been up to the LRHC facilities, and spent several hours over two days, looking, listening, and taking notes on all the new renovations, and new clinic and urgent care.  It is a fantastic facility, with knowledgeable nurses, and other personnel, and such a clean, colorful environment.  The new machines and new techniques seem to be second to none.

I have talked to Leslie Marsh, Nicole Thorell, Jim Hain, and Wade Eschenbrenner, and I have asked a lot of questions.  I have been told to come back and ask more, and I will.  I want to get walked through the plan for paying off this facility.

I believe we have wonderful healthcare providers throughout our hospital district boundaries, and we need them all.

But it all needs presented better to ‘all’ of the taxpayers in this hospital district, and I don’t believe that has been done well enough yet.  And the ‘methods’ of including the public in all of this, I feel, need improved for sure.

My main thrust is that we must ‘all’ push “together” to make this work out.  Hoist up the white flag!  Hand out the olive branches to all!

And everyone stop using their energy to keep this fighting going on, and stop the anger and hatred, and get on the same page together.

Look around Lexington and the hospital district, and see all of the new and improved buildings and schools and businesses.  They got done and successful ‘because’ people worked together on them.  ‘Not’ against each other.

LRHC and the new clinic and urgent care and Plum Creek can all be successful and are necessary to this hospital district.  Not all in the same building, maybe, but in Lexington.

If patients can truly chose where they want to go for services, then let’s actually let them, without the mudslinging.

What we ‘can’t’ do is have 41 percent of the possible patients ‘not’ using these facilities, and having numbers in the red because of that.

Can I make a difference and help change this?  I would like to try.

-Can it be changed overnight?  Certainly not.  And it will take a determined, open accountability, honest effort by everyone to do so.

I am worried about possibly going back on the tax-roll as a taxpayer.  Everyone says it has been 1979 since it was on.  But I visited with the assessor, and you all can too, and was told that if the hospital board puts a tax call in their budget, and this can be approximately 2% above their levy, that there is no public vote needed to pass this, and it just happens when the clerk receives the request, if the hospital board votes it in.  Check it out like I did, and then be concerned too.  That is all it takes to implement this tax again.  Money has to come from somewhere.

And by the way, when we pay our federal taxes as we taxpayers do, every day, we ‘are’ paying taxes on the federal dollars going to LRHC.

I am not in favor of more taxes for anyone.

Dave Irwin chooses to take the high road, and not to respond to the inaccurate, untruthful, and accusatory statements that seem to be a daily occurrence for me as a candidate.  I am running to be helpful, if possible, and do what is needed.

This is a non-paying position being on the hospital board, and yet I have chosen to spend a good sum of money running for it.

Talk to me personally anytime about issues you have, or questions you haven’t gotten answered yet.  I will do my best to find out, if possible, and let you know personally.

I am asking for your vote to be on the LRHC board.  I promise to be positive, to be very active, and to push for the things I said I would.  It’s time for a change!

Mark your ballot for Dave Irwin.  Thank you.

God bless.

Dave Irwin, Candidate

Sumner

Concerning the situation between the Plum Creek Clinic and LRHC:

After several days of reflection, listening, and talking to others and both sides at their work sites, and enduring some sad personal attacks, whether it be out of fear, anger, disrespect, rudeness, or plain hatred, while just trying to help my home area out, I have come to these conclusions:

-It may or may not be a ‘healthy’ option at this stage of the game for the PC Clinic doctors and employees and the LRHC doctors and employees to “combine” together in the ‘same’ building as many citizens hope for.  The battle lines have been drawn so deep, that it might be a ‘toxic’ environment for all, with the patients, perhaps, actually caught in-between.

I have seen, heard and witnessed the present distrust from each side, after talking to both and knowing how damaged it is.  Who is responsible?  Will we ever honestly know?  Can it ever truly be ‘solved or fixed’ as it was years ago?  Can we ever get back to the ‘family’ feeling we all knew not really that long ago?

Not at the rate it is going!  And it continues to upset both sides thinking that they have the answers, pointing fingers, ‘labeling’ everyone including new board candidates, as this side or that side, instead of looking at it as new ears and new eyes to get a fresh look at things and try and unite everyone; and both sides not being able to amiably get together and solve this mistrust, fear and passion everyone seems to have.

So where do the Lexington hospital district citizens go from here?  How is this ‘civil war’ look-a-like settled, so we can finally get back to the best healthcare that ‘all’ local citizens deserve, and the common respect and trust healthcare providers all deserve?  And for the moral code all healthcare providers acknowledged when they received their degrees?

I believe we move forward and progress by everyone calling a spade a spade, and realizing our ‘best’ path ahead is to decide that each supposed medical care ‘side’ is vital and needed for citizens, and certainly important to all area citizens, by keeping where they are, but ‘communicating’ with each other respectfully and compliantly, as patients are admitted from either side to the beautiful, well-equipped facilities at LRHC and talented staff.

By each current ‘side’ waving the white flag of surrender, and the olive branch of peace, and starting over by honestly considering each other equally for the benefit of all citizens who deserve and need the very best healthcare they can get locally.

Keep our dollars local as much as possible, but also realizing that each of us as taxpayers, also have the right to the best medical care ‘we’ feel we can get, ‘where’ we can get it.

Patients build up a huge trust factor with their doctors and staff, and no one can ignore the fact that the doctors at Plum Creek have been the longest of most providers, and have a large fan base of patients they serviced over all those years.  To alienate them, or these patients, is not serving the regional center’s best interest, nor addressing their words of providing the best ‘patient’ care to ‘anyone’ who walks through their doors.

So my suggestion as a candidate is that LRHC realize they that they may have a wonderful family going on up there, they may have excellent service providers, they may have excellent, updated and high tech new machines, they may have equipment that is state of the art that no one else in Nebraska has yet, but something “has” to be done to bring everyone in this hospital district, into the fold so to speak, by revising and re-directing their anger, hate, fear, or passion, as both sides have expressed, into a meaningful campaign and concerted effort to bring all citizens in our hospital district together somehow.

It would be remiss of all parties concerned if this does not happen.

Does everyone in this hospital district, young and old, deserve this united effort?  They most certainly do!  Everyone!!

Will it be easy?  No it won’t.  But until the energy used to fight each other, and continuing this path of saying and doing ugly things to each other stops, nothing positive in a big way, a united way, is going to happen for many, many years. 

If either ‘side’ thinks they are just going to wait until all on the other side are phased out by age or loss of energy, I believe that also is the wrong approach.  The time is now to start changing this approach, and start working on doing as I am suggesting, and that is to actively, and district-wise, put the war to rest, and start re-using that lost energy to communicate better, advertise better, work to unite all healthcare recipients and providers in an aggressive manner, and in a positive way, by either hiring someone to just work on this image and unification, or using current staff to go out into all district communities and in a greater fashion, bring all taxpayers and their families into knowing more about things, and in feeling better about what is happening.

One of the greatest needs of any patient is to improve their mental healthcare and well-being, by ‘feeling’ things are positive and good.  No buildings, or machines, or window dressings are going to do this, without all providers in our communities working together to provide this mental healing.  Isn’t that what the good book says for us to do, to reach out to all with love and compassion, admit we all have sinned or done wrong, and move to working together to benefit the whole.

I think so.

And my running for the board is not only to see that the daily processes of the LRHC are doing what they should be doing, and that things are running well, but to ‘unite’ all citizens in this effort of affordable healthcare for the future.

Do not ‘label’ me this or that!  For two straight nights I have felt this wrath, and anger, and fear from many, and this is not a positive for either side:  those giving it out, or those receiving it.

God bless America, God bless all of the Lexington hospital district citizens, and God bless healthcare and its area services in the upcoming years.

Thank you.

Blessings,

Dave Irwin,

Sumner

Past, present, and future

As you are making your way to your local polling place next week to vote for 3 candidates for the board of LRHC it may be difficult to know just how to approach the important task of deciding on the right candidate. There is a lot of information to digest and it can be hard to know who the best option(s) might be. If I may I would like to offer a template of three “tests” that I have found to be beneficial. I believe if you put each candidate through each of these tests you will come to what I believe is best answer for you. These are the “past, present and future” tests. 

The first “test” is to consider the past actions of a candidate running for office. This is the test of research. Ask yourself what specific actions in a candidate’s past truly reveal their character? Naturally then the next question for you then is does that person’s character align with my personal values? Your vote is your endorsement of that candidate’s character, how they manage themselves, their respect for legal governance, personal ethics, and ability to be a sound financial manager. Your vote is your way of saying you approve of their approach. For example, if a candidate has a history of ignoring legal orders can you assume they will respect the bylaws and rules of the board in the way you would? If a google search of public records finds there is a candidate who has struggled in the management of their finances do you think that person will manage the budget of the hospital as you would like? If a candidate has been adjudged by a court of law to be in “neglect of duty” in a previous occupation, do you have confidence this person will serve your best interest in an unpaid role? Some candidates currently running for the board when asked difficult questions have become confrontational, aggressive and resorted to name calling. Is that how you would like to be addressed if you voice your concerns with your representative over lunch downtown? At the same time there are candidates that are well respected business professionals that have formal educations in the arena of finance and accounting. There are candidates that have a proven track record of being successful small business owners/operators and well respected community members. There are candidates who are well trained in the governance of law and make vital decisions that protect our community every day. Who of these candidates will best represent you? 

The second “test” is that of the present. It is vital that we identify the landscape of business and how success is measured today. In this instance, this test requires you to know the business of the hospital. These measures will tell us if we are doing well or if we need to improve… or both, which is much more likely. In today’s business world we are called to celebrate our successes and then move quickly beyond them to address our shortcomings. This is particularly true in the high tech and ever changing world of medicine. The amount of continuous improvement and innovation required in the medical arena is simply awe inspiring. It forces us to move from the status quo of yesterday, every day. A simple tour of our new facilities is a great illustration of these principles.  The new facility is first a celebration of success. We now have a vital tool that positions our hospital to stay current with the ever increasing speed of innovation, meet patient’s expectations and recruit new talent.  Improvement cannot happen without change. Yes, there is a bill to be paid for improvement. 

Yes, the bill is sizeable. Yes our board will need to assure the improvement is paid for over the long term without straining resources. But in the present what corporate executive, ag operator, small business owner or even individual consumer would turn down a 40 year fixed rate loan at 2.87% for improvement?  After all, if you had to do a home improvement project would you turn down such favorable terms? I believe that financing of the improvement is another resounding indication of success if not just for the terms on which they negotiated and agreed. As we look for other measures we currently have a board that has fostered growth in local staffing, brought new young talent to Lexington, increased the number of services offered by our local hospital and built a staff that has been recognized with numerous state and national awards for their achievements. These achievements are well documented and can be found easily by looking through the hospital’s web page or Dr. Buser’s letter to the Clipper-Herald 2 weeks ago. By an overwhelming number of measures, I suggest that our current board has met the obligations of leadership and demonstrated their service of the public interest.

As we look to the vote for new board members we are called to forecast what this world will look like in 5 – 10 years. The third “test” is the test of the future. Rest assured that this is the most difficult test as this test tells us we have to rely on our heads and our hearts using the information gained in the first 2 tests. Change is the only constant in business. The world of limited regulation and high levels of compensation has been replaced by a world of burdensome and heavy compliance that rewards only the rule followers.

At the same time, the reward for following the rules is compensation and it is becoming smaller and smaller. Has the board member you are considering only referred to the past and expressed a wish that the world was like it “used to be” without outlining their goals for the future? To run on a platform of simply getting the doctors at PCMG practicing at the hospital again is a limited view that doesn’t quite scratch the surface of the many challenges presented within the “future” test. If that is all a person can say when asked about their goals, I maintain that candidate has not demonstrated their vision for the future and more than likely is not ready to serve on this board.

A candidate that deserves your vote should speak to their ability to see other trends within the business in the future. As the saying goes “those that stay behind are left behind”. We need a board that is looking to the future with tangible plans and is ready to lead the way in a professional manner. In this environment it is not enough to simply keep up. We need a board that will lead and not just take orders. We need a board that isn’t afraid to tackle for example the doctor and nursing shortage facing rural America. As America ages, and along with it many of their caregivers, how do we recruit young new talent to Lexington? Is there a plan for the next 5 and 10 years from now when many caregivers will be looking at retirement? It is by providing the best tools that are currently available. It is in the offering of a dynamic and endearing business environment that provides fair compensation. It is realized in the proper management of finances and assurance of financial strength and stability for days, months and years to come. I encourage you to ask your candidate about these issues and find out what their plans are for the future.

Placing your vote next week is not something that should be done lightly. Because of the role that I have here at Pinnacle Bank (and because I am sending this from my work email) I also want to make sure that I specifically state that this letter is from me and does not in any way reflect the views and opinions of Pinnacle Bank or any other employees of the bank. The opinions expressed within this letter are mine and mine alone.

I believe there are candidates that have a difficult time standing against this 3 test review. At the same time, there are individuals that can bear the burden of these three tests and would make outstanding board members. Those are the candidates that will stand out and best represent you on the hospital board and should be considered for your vote.

Adam W. Tufford

Lexington

Weston letter

I am writing to you, the citizens of the hospital district, about the current deep and surprisingly bitter controversy involving what used to be Tri-County Hospital, that is now the Lexington Regional Medical Center, and the Plum Creek Medical Group.

I first learned of the controversy when I heard that the Plum Creek Medical Group had all resigned their privileges at the Lexington Hospital.  The doctors were admitting their patients to the Cozad Hospital.  I was stunned to say the least.  I could not believe it.

In talking to the doctors, they agreed that they got along with Ms. Leslie Marsh, the hospital administrator, until after she offered to hire them to work for her.  She approached them one by one and did hire Dr. Carlson.  When the doctors refused to work for the hospital, the relationship suddenly became hostile.  This all happened several years ago.

In October of 2014, I am told in a conversation with a PCMG doctor, that a group of nurses that were employed by the hospital approached the PCMG doctors and informed them that they were “watching them, and they were out to get them.”  This occurred at a medical staff meeting. This is astounding and almost unbelievable, but was reaffirmed to me.  This was done in a hostile manner.

Q`Dr. Jones told me that he was severely chastised for sending a patient to Kearney for an MRI that cost $500.00.  The same MRI here in Lexington was $2,500.00.  He was told by the Lexington Hospital personnel that the Kearney MRI machine was inferior.  He checked it out, it was not inferior. This happened again in an open public meeting.

When the PCMG doctors realized that hostilities were getting out of hand, they made repeated requests to talk to the board that were refused.  Finally two requests were granted, two short meetings at which they were not allowed to present their concerns, but were severely chastised with open hostility.  They  requested follow up meetings  and  were turned down by the board. 

 I could quote other examples of these types of actions, including hospital nurses refusing to carry out prescribed orders on patients.  I could write a book.  Plum Creek Medical Group doctors consulted other consulting doctors and their lawyers.  They were advised to leave the hospital.  It was simply too “dangerous” for patients and themselves to stay.  They left. 

I have attended public meetings in Sumner and Elwood with other board candidates: Dave Irwin, Paul Homan and Theresa Stuart.  These meetings were for local citizens in those communities to question us about our candidacy.  At both meetings, the vast majority of attendance were hospital employees.  They were both hostile and aggressive.

They accused us of being there to represent the doctors.  I can see how they would think it of me, but certainly not the other candidates.  They dominated the questioning and the meetings.

After releasing their hostility at these meetings, they would state that they were not meaning to be hostile to us, but were there representing their concerns for their patients.

Have the doctors all turned bad?  If so, why did Ms. Marsh try to hire them before turning against them?

They have spent their entire practice, and lives here, except Dr. Unterseher, who was also in the Navy before coming to Lexington.  They raised  their families here and have been a very great asset to our community, its economy, and welfare. 

Ms. Marsh built a family practice clinic and hired her own physicians and ancillary health providers to compete with PCMG.  This was done with public money. 

Would you like a branch of the government to tax you to build a business to compete with you?

At the meetings in Sumner and Elwood, the employees of the hospital told us, as a group, that if we were elected to the board of the hospital and were to let Ms. Marsh go, half of the hospital employees would quit with her.

Their loyalty to her is intense.  Where is their loyalty to the people of the district who need to use the hospital, who own it, and are basically paying them for their services.

Because of this unnecessary strife, Many people approach me stating that they want to be able to see their doctor and be admitted to their hospital without worry of the conflicts endangering their care or them.  They do not want to have to be hospitalized in another town.

If you elect me to the board of the hospital, I will do everything within my ability to get the parties together to heal the rift and return the hospital to the people who own it.

If the rift cannot be healed, I also will do whatever is necessary with other responsible board members to do what else must be done, so you can see your doctor and be admitted to your hospital in a hospitable manner.

If you should choose to vote for me, please also vote for Theresa Stuart, Pastor Dave Irwin, and Paul Homan.  We are  of like mind on these matters and would create an effective board.

Sincerely,

Wayne K. Weston MD

Lexington

Get it together

This past weekend my wife, Dee, suffered a situation with her heart that made a frantic trip to the emergency room of the Lexington Regional Health Center and an overnight stay imperative.

As I sat close to her and observed what was going on I had several thoughts that kept going through my mind…

1.         The care she was receiving whether it was from the emergency room staff to the floor PA to the dietary/housekeeping was as professional and thorough as any we had ever encountered in a hospital setting.

2.         Dr. Ed Ford, a fine young physician who has earned the trust and confidence of Dee, apparently could not visit her in the role of her family physician.

3.         If this situation is allowed to continue, there will be no winners, only losers.

4.         If the incumbent board members cannot or will not remedy the situation, maybe some new faces on the board are needed.

5.         If the doctors at the clinic cannot or will not remedy the situation, I understand that there are some really good tee times available on weekdays.

Rick Walton

Smithfield

Why are the doctors treated unfairly 

The Doctors of PCMG started this hospital and to see them treated (in my eyes) so unfairly is very sad to see.

If after all these years (before L.M.) the doctors and hospital worked together for their patients and the good of the community. WHAT HAPPENED??

To Barb Foss, if all the Doctors were so mean and cruel, why didn’t she go to the powers that be above the CEO?

L.M. wanted the Doctors to sell PCMG to a larger hospital. The Doctors did not want to sell! The PCMG wanted their independency and to answer to their patients, not to a larger hospital 250 miles away!!

This is when L.M. started her vindictiveness toward PCMG.

To the Doctor that wrote about his Mission Accomplished, he should check his notes, as it was Dr. Jones who ordered the Wound Vac for his patient.Mission Accomplished????

I too love my doctors and staff at PCMG.  We thank God for such caring and healing helpers on this road called life.

Nola Reed

Lexington

P.S. Why was Dr. Weston charged for his letter in the paper 2 or 3 months ago and employees of the hospital can write columns with no charge?

Hospital is second-family

Lexington Regional Health Center (LRHC) has been my second family during the last six and a half years.

When I first began my career at LRHC, I immediately felt the sense of family and was welcomed to the team. During the week you often spend more time with your work family than your own family; it’s important that you truly enjoy working with your colleagues and look forward to coming to work each day. I am blessed to say I LOVE working at LRHC and can’t wait to see what each new day will bring. My LRHC work family has been there to support me during life’s challenges and celebrations. LRHC is the home where our two children were welcomed into the world; I couldn’t imagine sharing those two life-changing events without my LRHC work family. LRHC has been influential in my personal and professional GROWTH.  

Lexington Regional’s Administration and Board of Directors have been instrumental in the GROWTH of the organization. In 2010, a market analysis showed that 58 percent of the community was leaving Lexington to receive health care services. By listening to the community and responding to their requests, LRHC opened an Urgent Care and Family Medicine Specialists Clinic to offer people more choices when it comes to health care. LRHC continues to add more service lines and recruit healthcare providers (doctors, specialists, physician assistants and nurse practitioners) to Lexington. Among the changing environment and turbulent times of healthcare reform, LRHC has remained committed to providing high-quality, evidence-based health care right here in Lexington. This is vital so people can receive health care services right here in their hometown without having to travel. The recent grand opening of the Outpatient Services Center is a testament to the Board and Administration’s vision and understanding that the future of healthcare services is shifting from an in-patient model to that of outpatient services.

I am proud to work for an organization that believes in the GROWTH of their employees, beginning from the top. Leslie Marsh, CEO, values education and provides numerous opportunities for leadership and front-line staff to participate in trainings such as TeamSTEPPS (evidence-based communication tools), Just Culture, Studer, leadership development institutes and most recently, our Virtuous Organization journey. By fostering employees to grow personally and professionally and giving them the tools and resources to do so, creates a happier, more harmonious working environment, thus adding to the ability to consistently provide excellent patient care. Employees that are happy at work are more likely to be happier at home too. It has been an absolute pleasure working with the Board of Directors and Administrative team and I truly appreciate the open-minded environment they have created that encourages out-of-the box ideas from everyone across the organization. Each employee’s opinion matters and collaboration between departments is evident. The sense of family is undeniable.

If you like the direction the hospital is going and you would like to continue to see progressive, evidence-based high-quality healthcare GROWTH, which in turn aides in the GROWTH of our community, then please vote on May 10 for the future LRHC Hospital Board of Directors - vote for three of the four candidates: Kerry Teetor, Rob Anderson, Tara Naprstek Anderson, Tara Naprstek and Tucker Case.

Sincerely,

Jill Denker,

Lexington

It’s about money

I don’t live anywhere close to Lexington.  My only involvement with your community is that I was asked by the hospital to work with them and the physicians at the Plum Creek Medical (PCM) group to help resolve the conflict they were experiencing.  To my surprise, I learned that the doctors had quit three days before I arrived. That was roughly 17 months ago.

What I have learned since then causes me grave concern for your community. Frankly, if this upcoming election does not go well, you risk being without a hospital.

Let me tell you some of what I’ve learned since I started to work in your community:

1.         The primary source of the dispute between the PCM doctors and the hospital was money.  This was confirmed by the past manager of the PCM group. The doctors wanted more money to provide patient care in the ER than the hospital believed legally could be provided.  After considerable acrimonious discussions, the hospital approached another physician group.  They were able to come to an agreement regarding compensation. This amount was less than the PCM group was asking and the other group of doctors said they would go so far as to provide someone 24/7 to work in the ER.  Once this offer was negotiated, the hospital again returned to the PCM group.  PCM refused to accept what the other group would accept. As one who has negotiated many compensation agreements, I can say that this is just the way business is done.  This is a sign the administration of the hospital is doing a good job.

2.         The culture of the hospital during much of the time that the PCM group was there was not good.  Many told me that they felt they were treated quite poorly by the doctors in that group. In fact, I was present the week after the PCM group left.  While there was certainly concern that the hospital would not survive, the predominant reaction I saw from hospital staff was relief and considerable happiness.

3.         The PCM group is made up of doctors that are mostly my age.  This certainly is a time that most practices I’ve seen would be aggressively recruiting additional doctors.  PCM has not recruited any doctors.  I understand they have added something like two physician assistants but have been unable to recruit any doctors.  The hospital pulled off what in most circles is seen as simply incredible.  They have recruited 4 doctors during this time and are talking with another.  They also have dramatically increased the number of physician specialists working in your community.

4.         The financial performance of the hospital has been striking.  The month before the PCM doctors quit, the gross revenue was $1.8M.  Last time I looked a couple of months ago, they were at $2.44M.  All but one part-time doctor quit the hospital and their revenues go up 36%--and this happened all in a little more than one year. That is beyond expectations of any who knows hospital administration.  Profits are down.  That’s to be expected as they are adding many physicians and buying necessary expensive equipment and incurring non-capital costs associated with their extensive construction. That appears to be changing.

5.         I have seen and heard some of the concerns about the hospital’s administration.  For example, I noted one lady had written to your paper and said that the administration clearly was incompetent because the audit report was not on-line for a few days — even though it had been on line for several weeks before that and the hospital had a credible explanation for why it occurred.  Once the error was fixed, the report went back on line.  Frankly, this is silliness.  This is not the kind of thing one would consider when evaluating the competence of a hospital.  I worked in administration of a hospital for 29 years — and one that went from being nearly bankrupt to highly successful.  I can tell you, the administration of this hospital is quite competent.  In many ways, they are exceptional.

6.         There is a severe shortage of healthcare workers. I noted in an article in the Grand Island newspaper a few weeks ago that the shortages in your area are especially bad. This is pertinent to your situation in that much of the staff has developed intense loyalty to the administration of the hospital.  Many have said that if the administration goes, they will quit. I think it’s fairly apparent that the PCM group is attempting to get people elected to the Hospital Board that will vote to eliminate some, if not all of the administration of your hospital.  If that happens, there is little doubt that there will be a reduction of services at your hospital.  This will happen due to turnover of staff that cannot be replaced in a reasonable length of time, if ever.  If the turnover that will come is severe, it is possible that you could lose your hospital. Obviously, no one has any way of knowing the probability that this will happen.  Even so, after talking with many people who work at your hospital over the past 17 months, I can tell you that it is a possibility.

There are those who will attempt to discredit my comments by saying such things as I’m just trying to ensure my consulting fees. First, the fees are not what anyone would regard as substantial.  Second, I do not sell my integrity for any amount.  I am writing this letter only because I am concerned for your community. 

I have become aware that there is a fair amount of information passing around your community right now about this matter; some of it is not accurate or is overblown. Undoubtedly, many are in need of credible information to make a good decision.  I am very impressed by the people of your community and have many friends there — not all of them associated with the hospital. As such, I wanted to be sure you had an outsider’s view of what is happening so that you have access to information with no real bias.

I checked to see who would be the people running for the hospital board that would best support the continued progress being made by the hospital.  Those people are Rob Anderson, Tara Naprstek, Kerry Teetor, and Tucker Case.  Consider this when it comes time for you to vote.

Sincerely,

Lee Elliott

Sioux City,Iowa

From the CEO

Six years ago I assumed the role of CEO at LRHC.  It has been one of the most rewarding times I've ever experienced.  I have had the honor and privilege of working with phenomenal people.  People that are courageous, kind, compassionate, highly skilled and fiercely dedicated to patient care.  These people are inspiring.  They have made my time here, in spite of challenges, well worth the effort.  I'm better for having worked alongside such brave, committed souls.

I know that this has been a struggle for so many in the community.  They want to see their physician from PCMG at LRHC, but they cannot.   The PCMG physicians and providers chose to resign their privileges and move on.  That happens sometimes but it doesn't have to mean that you cannot see your physician and still use the hospital.  Many hospitals now use hospitalists, including Kearney.  If you go to one of those facilities you will not see your doctor but the doctor that is taking care of you in the hospital will make sure that your physician knows everything they need to know so that you can have the highest quality care. 

Of course I wouldn't have chosen to have this divide; the Board of Directors would not have chosen to isolate or drive away the only physician group in the community.  Every difficult decision made was made in the interest of the community and in preserving the highest quality possible.  Some of the conflict stemmed from the rules and regulations that the hospital and the Board had to follow, some discontent and grief were a result of the need to change the culture to one that is team-based and some differences were that each organization had a different vision for the future.  PCMG had not been able to recruit a provider for quite some time. Over 50-percent of people were leaving the Lexington community and going to other communities for their healthcare needs.  Offering choices and adding services became increasingly important to be able to have a strong healthcare community in Lexington. It is the Board's duty to look beyond the time when the current physicians are no longer working.  The Board has to consider the needs of the community now and into the foreseeable future.  There are many communities that have a hospital, a hospital-owned medical clinic and private medical clinics where some physicians do not work or have privileges at their local hospital, just like the current situation in Lexington.  In these communities, all healthcare physicians, providers and facilities still work together for the patient, without fighting.   

I'm proud of the accomplishments that the LRHC team and the Board have made.  So much has improved - we have received numerous awards and recognition for the high quality of care we deliver.  That quality of care is measured against all hospitals large and small - think about that, right here in your own community you have one of the highest quality health care organizations in the nation.  The addition of an Urgent Care and a new clinic with new providers including physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants all increased access to care.  Specialty services increased; we have even more nationally recognized specialists providing care in our new outpatient services clinic. The new outpatient area has allowed LRHC to improve the patient's experience and allowed our specialists to provide care in a safer and more efficient facility.   This is so important to the community's economic health. It brings in new businesses, professionals and retirees.  People do not want to live in or do business in a community without these services.  Look at the video recapping the past six years on our website at www.lexingtonregional.org -it is truly impressive.  It drives home the point that this community really does have the best right here at home, with friends, family and faith at hand. 

As the election draws near I hope that you read the information on our website, ask questions if you don't feel that your questions have been addressed and cast a vote for the future.  Our current Board members up for reelection, Kerry Teetor, Rob Anderson and Tara Naprstek, have all demonstrated that they understand the importance of their role as a hospital board member.  This has not been an easy role for any of them but they care about their community so they did the right thing - every single time, even in the face of overwhelming challenges and difficulties they acted in the best interest of the community now and well into the future.   I hope you vote for health care for your children, your children's children and their children.  It takes true leaders to make difficult choices.  These board members and the entire team did what was right in spite of the personal price they paid. 

So, in closing I'll reiterate what I said at the start of this letter - my time here, in this role, has been incredibly rewarding because I got to see the very best in the people I worked with.  People that set aside their own interests to better serve all of you.  What a great team!  What and honor and a privilege it is to have worked alongside and for this team. 

Sincerely,

Leslie Marsh

Johnson Lake/Kearney

Choices, Changes and Conflicts

Although no one enjoys it, everyone has to abide by rules and regulations. Healthcare is no exception. Actually, this industry is so fraught with government regulations that you would think that the goal is to drive small, rural hospitals out of existence. Unfortunately, many in Washington do not understand the importance of small rural hospitals, and their value to their communities, medically and economically. They are used to having large facilities readily available, immune to the reality of blizzards and lack of access that we face in far flung rural settings.

The true focus of this board election should be that we need to maintain a hospital in this district. In order to do this we need board members that are going to advocate for rural healthcare. Otherwise folks, a large share of the taxes we pay for Medicare and Medicaid will go to other states.

LRHC has a more than a 50 million dollar positive economic impact on this area every year. Without our hospital and the services it provides, recruiting new, larger businesses would be made almost impossible. The recent expansion and renovation of LRHC is an accomplishment to be proud of and it is an asset to this district. This expansion keeps our hospital viable and relevant in this ever changing environment. This keeps an emergency room here, staffed and ready to care for you 24/7, even when weather makes travel to larger hospitals impossible. You won't be medically stranded.

LRHC is changing and growing to meet the changing medical needs of our area, looking forward ...not back. Just as the shift in healthcare has been to move toward more outpatient care, there has been a shift in the types of trained providers that are available to competently manage the medical care for all patients.  Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants and MDs share responsibilities for patient care in hospitals all across the country, from the Mayo Clinic to small rural facilities. Urgent Care Clinics care for patients that would otherwise have to be seen in the ER, at a much higher cost. These have been positive changes at LRHC.

The reality of government intrusion into health care is that the system strives to cut costs above all else. The payment to providers of services for patients has been reduced and made more difficult to receive, due to the burgeoning red tape involved with submitting claims for payment. New graduates frequently owe huge debts from the cost of their education and do not have the capability to buy into an established medical practice. Therefore, the current trend is to contract with either a large medical group or a hospital. It was mentioned by Dr. Weston that hospitals employing physicians could lead to increased and unnecessary procedures and tests. This concern has been studied and found to be completely untrue. The government actually reviews the in-house utilization of such tests and services, and many times the provider must obtain prior authorization of such tests.

The attacks on our CEO, Leslie Marsh, the LRHC administrative team, and all of the employees of LRHC since PCMG resigned their privileges have been unwarranted. I have heard grumblings about Leslie not attending this or that community event. I want you to know that, often, if Leslie Marsh is gone, it is because she is at a Nebraska Hospital Association meeting or in Washington D.C. ...advocating for rural hospitals. I WANT A CEO THAT DOES THIS!  If we are not staying abreast of the legislation that affects rural healthcare and looking forward, our hospital, and our community could be at risk. Many small rural hospitals across the country have closed down because of this.

I don’t know many CEO's that could have handled such unfounded attacks with such poise and grace and keep on working to build their hospital into an excellent health care center, such as the one LRHC has become. With her awards and being named one of the top 130 women in healthcare in America, she could easily take another offer and leave this harassment behind. She has not done so because she is dedicated to LRHC, this community and to her staff. She has fostered a positive work environment that values teamwork, while promoting honest and open communication.This is why we all stand behind her at LRHC and will work tirelessly to continue along our current path, striving to realize our vision for the future, and to fulfill our mission to serve our patients and our community's medical needs.

The PCMG physicians were not willing to comply with new Medicare rules and regulations regarding patient satisfaction in the ER. Our administration didn’t make up these government mandates. There are also federal laws about what a hospital can and cannot do regarding physician service contracts ...those needed to be followed.

Disruptive and abusive behavior within a hospital should never be tolerated. This behavior was counter- productive to safe patient care and could not be ignored. LRHC did not ask PCMG to leave, they resigned, abandoning the hospital, because they were unwilling to agree to fair peer review, and, as they stated, they have “Moved On”. So has LRHC.  The great majority of the nurses and other staff members do not want the PCMG back. (See last week's Letter to the Editor).

I would like to speak directly to attacks PCMG made to try to damage our financial well being. These started after PCMG chose not to renew their ER contract. Almost all of our visiting specialists were contacted either by a representative of PCMG or one of the MDs from the group. The specialists were told that if they continued to see patients at LRHC, do procedures and surgeries at LRHC then PCMG would stop sending them patients. Patients reported being told that they had to go to Kearney,North Platte or elsewhere for care that had always been readily available here in Lexington.

Members of their group bragged about sending "millions of dollars of medical business away" from LRHC.  I know many members of the community that were disturbed by this behavior and those of us in the Surgery Department and outpatient clinics were saddened. PCMG had chosen to wield their patients’ loyalty as a weapon, without true regard for the patients' medical needs nor for the ramifications of that action on the entire community. It was done in an attempt to restore the old ways, restore their control and to give themselves increased financial reward.

In stark contrast, there is now teamwork and common courtesy on open display. LRHC is now a great place to work and treat patients.There is a genuine culture of caring at LRHC, and it comes from the top down, from Leslie Marsh and her dedicated staff, and from the current Hospital Board Members.The whole group is dedicated to excellence, and there is no conflict of interest.

A high functioning, state of the art, modern hospital...here in Lexington; excellent, innovative medical care ...here in Lexington; these are what everyone deserves! Those of us who continue to serve our community at LRHC, want you to have a true choice in where you receive such care. We are here to provide that care 24 hours a day and 7 days a week!!

Choose well in the election next week. From my perspective Kerry Teetor and Rob Anderson have demonstrated their unyielding support of LRHC and all of our administration and staff. Tara Naprsek’s experience and knowledge makes her a strong and well placed on the board. Tucker Case showed much promise in his well articulated article about becoming a board member.

Respectfully,

Melissa Tufford CRNA,MS

Lexington,NE

It's time to move on

I’ve spent the better part of my life working at the hospital and living in the Lexington community.  The people I take care of are my friends and neighbors.  Roughly six years ago I moved into an administrative role, Chief Operating Officer (COO).  As the Chief Operating Officer it is my job to oversee the operations.  My goal in improving operations focused on creating the best environment for patients and for the people that work here.  Our people are the most important asset that we have – I wanted them to know how valuable they were.  Healthcare is unique – its mission is easy to get behind.  We help people.  Everyone jumped on board in creating this culture because every single person that works at LRHC wants to make the patient and their families feel as safe and comfortable as they can.  Everything we did, every decision we made, focused on the patient.  I’m proud to say that we have the highest employee and patient satisfaction that I’ve seen in my 35 + career here.  That increased satisfaction and improved morale means that patients get better care – the relationship between employee satisfaction and quality of care has been studied for a long time and the studies show that this relationship is strong. 

As a long-time community member I and my family have been personally affected by all of this.  Still, my responsibilities to the patient and the community meant that I might have to make some personal sacrifices and set aside my own needs.  Sometimes the right thing to do is difficult and it comes at a personal cost but it is still the right and ethical thing to do.  This time in administration has been difficult but incredibly rewarding.  We are a strong team, focused on doing what is best for the patients and the community.  I can’t help but feel proud of the work that this team has done and humbled that I was able to be a part of that transformation. 

Here are a few things I would like to address:

•           Dr. Jones has said multiple times that PCMG has moved on, that they are not interested in the hospi tal and in fact they don’t talk about the hospital.  If that is true then lets actually move on. The hospital has not been allowed to do that because we have to revisit everything every single month.  We have to continually address the inaccurate things that are being said about us.  So, let’s move on and follow our own paths in serving the community.

•           I’ve heard many people blame the hospital.  Blame specific people who work at the hospital.  These same people freely admit that they don’t have all of the information about what happened between the hospital and PCMG.  How can they judge?

•           I understand that it can be difficult to understand why everything is not completely ‘transparent’.  We have to, by law, keep certain information confidential.  The upside of that is that you know we will keep your information confidential and that we are committed to following the law.   The downside of that for us is that we are less able to defend our position.

•           I hear a lot about peer review and quality care.  This activity is not new.  It’s been in place for many years, at least since 2006.  Because of our hospital status we have to send a certain number of records out so that a doctor outside of the community can review them.  Recommendations are usually identified and then they are typically implemented.  We cannot just disregard regulations that protect the quality of care that you receive.  We didn’t before this administration and we don’t now.  Quality health care is our responsibility and our promise to the community.  The same processes remain in place today for all of the physicians and providers at LRHC – that oversight just makes all of us better!  It's a good thing.  

•           Healthcare today is different than it used to be.  When people work as a team, in a respectful environment, patient care is better and safer.  We encourage an environment where all employees feel safe, not afraid to speak up when they know that something isn’t right – that’s what airlines do and that is why they don’t have as many accidents.  When people are afraid to speak up is when bad things can happen. Respecting one another is key to a caring and safe environment.  it's the culture we insist on having at LRHC.

•           We realize patients of PCMG are caught in the middle of this.   We hear their requests of wanting  their doctors to take care of them at LRHC.  It doesn't seem to sink in that the PCMG doctors changed that course by pulling their privileges.  Their decision to leave this hospital resulted in their patients few hospital options  - Cozad.  Or going toKearney where they would be served by a hospitalist

            The Future is Bright

•           We are excited that we can recruit providers to Lexington.  Most physicians want to be employed now.  We are thrilled that our new and modest facility is attractive to providers and that it allows us to offer new services to the community.

•           Our culture is better than ever.  We are all working towards the same goal - excellent care for our patients.  Part of that goal includes offering new programs, services and procedures through advanced technology like telemedicine, new surgical interventions and new state of the art equipment from surgery to our patient's  bedside.  

•           We are excited about the future with our current board members. They have accepted the challenge to keep healthcare strong and safe in this community.  They understand that there are huge changes in the healthcare world and that they need to be prepared to adapt to creating opportunities out of challenges.  If they don’t the community suffers.  So, vote for progress by voting for board members:  Kerry Teetor, Tara Naprstek and Rob Anderson.  

•           What was in the past isn’t what is in line with the future - change is always occurring.  Think about this – the past brought polio, lower wages, no computers, and slower and less efficient farming techniques.  Everything in the world changes, sometimes we like the advances and sometimes the change takes some getting used to. 

•           We are doing the best we can do and we will not compromise quality of patient care or disregard rules and regulations for the convenience of providers who  have privileges at LRHC.  We do that not because it is easier for us – it isn’t.   But it is better for you and that’s  our greatest responsibility. 

These are just a few of the misconceptions I continue to hear.  I know and care about so many of you in the community.   I would not compromise my integrity and work somewhere or with/for someone that I thought was unethical.  I am proud to be a part of the administrative team and a part of LRHC. None of us are perfect but we are passionate about doing good and doing the right thing.  This has been a difficult time but we are strong people.  It's time to  move on to a better future.  Thank you

Jim Hain

Lexington

Vote for the BEST candidates

I'm writing this to the voters that will be electing members for the Hospital Board this coming Tuesday. Remember you are voting for people that you believe will do the BEST job of furnishing you and your family with the best local medical services possible.

It is important to have an emergency room that will provide a quick response to any situation. In many cases, this can mean the difference between life, death, and the quality of life after an injury, heart attack or a stroke. The recent blizzard that closed all of the roads in and out of Lexington recently put that into sharper perspective.

Regardless of who is elected, their job will be to help move the hospital forward into the next 40 years. The recent addition of the new Outpatient Center along with the renovation to the Hospital is a huge step forward and an asset to this district. I don’t know of an owner/operator that would turn down a 2.87 percent interest rate fixed for 40 years. This will help the board and administration to recruit more physicians, surgeons, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and nurses to this area. This is needed to keep our hospital healthy and viable and keep those emergency room doors open.

The current Board has been dedicated to this hospital district, if change happens on the board, you will want them to be just as dedicated, or more so.

When you vote, you need to pick the candidates with the best reputation, who are the best qualified to handle finances and understand that it is their responsibility to maintain the best management team possible for the continued success of Lexington Regional Health Center for now and the future.

Bill Shotkoski

Lexington

We don’t want you to choose sides

My name is Nicole Thorell and I have lived in the Lexington community for 25 years.

As a college student I moved to Lincoln, attended Bryan College of Nursing, and worked as an RN at Bryan Hospital.  I then chose to return to this community when my husband was deployed to Iraq for the second time to be near family, and a community I knew would support us. I went into the field of nursing to make a difference in the lives of the people of which I have the privilege to give care. When I am out in the community, I hear people asking others what side they are on, as a nurse and member of this community hearing these statements saddens me.

As the Chief Nursing Officer at Lexington Regional Health Center my primary focus is to ensure high quality, patient centered, compassionate care. This is the mission that was established by CEO Leslie Marsh, the administration and the previous board of directors.  Healthcare is not about sides it is about YOU, the patient. The nursing staff is not focused on who your primary care provider may be, they are focused on being able to provide you the best care when you are in their hands. A lot of people want to know what all the fighting is about. I can tell you what we are fighting for, healthcare for our community. We are fighting for each and every one of you, those who may use our facilities regularly, those who may use are facilities occasionally, and those who may use our facilities in an emergency. We want to be here for this community to provide high quality care close to home. We want to be here for you whenever you may need us.

We are not fighting for you to choose a side, in our opinion there are no sides. We are not fighting for you to change your primary care provider. In fact we advocate for every patient to have a relationship with their provider and see the provider they trust. Trust is the essence of a patient provider relationship. We are fighting for progressive, high quality, compassionate, patient centered healthcare you can receive close to home. 

After attending both town hall forums, and then personally speaking with the other candidates running for the Lexington Regional Health Center Board of Directors, I am asking you to be informed voters. Not all of the candidates have plans or ideas of how to continue to improve healthcare for this community. We need board members on the Lexington Regional Health Center Board of Directors who are looking to grow, expand, and change with the forever shifting healthcare environment.  So this hospital can remain a staple of service for generations to come. I urge you to be informed voters, vote for continued progress for your community hospital, vote to have high quality healthcare in your community, and  vote for board members who will support these statements. From my personal interactions the candidates who will support growth in our community are; Kerry Teetor, Rob Anderson, Tara Naprstek, and Tucker Case.

Nicole Thorell RN, MSN, CEN

Lexington

Former board member perspective

With elections drawing near, voters need to consider the duties and qualifications of the candidates they are voting for.  Having served on the Lexington Regional Health Center Board of Directors for six years prior to my recent resignation, I speak from experience regarding LRHC board membership duties and qualifications.

Board members, with guidance from an informed and visionary administration, make decisions which impact health care in the Lexington region for many years to come.  This is called strategic planning.  It is the most important responsibility of a board member.  The decisions which have been made are all about the future; facilities for the future, providers for the future, and health care services for the future.

To do this well, board member must be informed and open minded:

*They must attend and prepare for board meetings.

*They must accept committee assignments.

*They hire and evaluate the C.E.O.’s performance.

*They advocate to legislatures, state and national, on rural health care issues.

*They must be trustworthy and hold executive sessions in confidence.

*They must be loyal to the organization they represent.

These qualities are in place with the incumbents running for reelection; Kerry Teetor, Rob Anderson, Tara Naprstek.  In addition Tucker Case applauds the progress LRHC has made. 

I urge you to view a video about LRHC at www.lexingtonregional.org.  Click on LRHC Committee to Building a Brighter Future in the lower right hand corner of the screen.

Your vote has never been more important.  Vote for the future of cutting edge of health care at LRHC.  Vote for your health care at home.  Vote for three of four; Kerry Teetor, Rob Anderson, Tara Naprstek, Tucker Case.

Kathy Neil

Lexington

Tipping point

In May of 1996, I graduated from physical therapy school and began looking for a job.  Physical therapists were in high demand so the options were wide open from the panhandle to the capitol.  I remember thinking that I didn’t know much about Lexington, but I’d ‘have a look’. The gentleman I interviewed with, Jim Hain, was such a sweet man and absolutely funny.  There was ‘something about the place’ that really made me have to relook at all of my options.  Fast-forward 20 years down the road, I am still at Lexington Regional Health Center working as a physical therapist and couldn’t imagine working at another facility. 

The community of Lexington is a very progressive and resilient community.  It is a community that resembles much that of a larger city in its diversity as well as its commitment to withstanding change.  Whether it was the initial influx of the Hispanic population or the latter influx of the Somali population, this community educated themselves and has remained committed to adjusting to change.  Your commitment to improving your school systems is commendable.  The restoration and expansion of your school systems, even though it would levy a tax on the community, moved strongly forward and you have so much to be proud of.  The dual language program is another example at how Lexington is commended for being progressive and innovative.   The fact that the youth who complete this program will be graduating with a minor in Spanish will move them to the top of any list when seeking employment. 

The community of Lexington has so much to be proud of, including its health care system.  Last week, the University of Nebraska Medical Center ran an article of how they are utilizing a doctor with a sports medicine specialty in their orthopedic clinic and addressed how this has really allowed their orthopedic clinic to grow.  I was filled with pride knowing that in Lexington, we already have this set-up with Dr. Priebe in our very own orthopedic clinic.  When I read Dr. Buser’s editorial on how our hospital was one of the first to use the VAC device for wound healing after surgery, it again reminded me of how progressive our hospital in Lexington actually is.  When I read about the new technology in our new surgery area that is used with colonoscopies and how we are the only place in Nebraska that has this, I am proud. 

When the community commented on how they wanted an Urgent Care and how many were driving to Kearney to those Urgent Cares, LRHC delivered.  When people were traveling out of this town to see orthopedists, urologists, and back specialists, the team sat down and looked at if these services could be provided right here at home.  They can and are.  We recognize that there are also limitations on what we can provide, and partner with many specialists from other facilities such as Bryan Health, Great Plains Health in North Platte, Mary Lanning in Hastings and Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney, to name a few.  We are doing this for the community ofLexington.  We are building you a healthcare community that you do not HAVE to leave your home to get great healthcare from people that care about and in most cases know you. 

These changes and great vision in the future are a ‘must’ if you want your hospital to survive the changes in healthcare that are coming down the road.  It has been said, “the secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new”.    Our current administration, Leslie Marsh (CEO), Wade Eschenbrenner (CFO), and Jim Hain (COO) – are an incredible team.  They are invested in the success for this facility but more importantly for this community.  They are 100% committed to creating a healthcare community that this community can be proud of.  We have proven by our many awards and recognitions that we are 100% committed to quality care in a safe and healing environment. 

The decisions that were made by PCMG were business decisions.  These decisions should not and will not deter us from our path and our mission.  We remain committed to this community and we remain committed to providing high quality and safe care.  The decisions LRHC has made have been 100% committed to this. 

One of the most difficult aspects of change, is moving forward.  The changes that LRHC has made have not divided this community.  The decisions that PCMG made did not have to divide this community either.  They were business decisions. There are many business decisions that have been made across the world that have not divided communities.  In fact, many decisions have strengthened communities by offering more services.  Competition amongst businesses is healthy, it places a healthy amount of challenge to each business to continuously improve and in turn each business grows. 

What do you need to do as a community member?  This election is the tipping point for your healthcare community.  If you want to go back to ‘the way it was’, you will be living in the past and putting your facility and this community in a concerning position.  Many employees do not want to return to the ‘way it was’ and will make personal decisions to move forward with their careers, including myself, if this happens.  Returning to a relationship that is unhealthy is not the answer.  Decisions have been made and each business must move on and focus on what their mission is.  We have done so.  When you go to vote this year, as a member of this healthcare team, I ask you to please consider your future and not the ‘way it was’.  It’s as simple as this.  You can see your healthcare provider whomever that is and regardless, you can walk through the doors of your local hospital and know that you will get the best care right here at home.  Support the administration that has been the driving force of taking Lexington to the top level in healthcare.  Make a vote that will allow this to continue.  Kerry Teetor, Rob Anderson and Tara Naprstek are members of the current board that has the energy, vision and responsible mindset to continue this fight to survive in the future of healthcare.   “Let go of things that can no longer be fixed.  If you try and force them back together, things will only get worse.  Holding on is being brave, but moving on is what makes us stronger”. 

Kirsten Faessler

Kearney

Need supportive board members

Letter to the editor,

For the last fifteen years I have had the privilege of being employed at Lexington Regional Health Center (LRHC) first as an RN and currently as a Nurse Practitioner. 

I can say with complete certainty I would not want to work anywhere else, or find a more dedicated team than the employees at LRHC.  Throughout my employment at LRHC, I have witnessed many changes, the most important of these being culture. Everyone, regardless of department, takes pride in this organization, and takes an active role in improving the patient/family experience.

I have witnessed our CEO Leslie Marsh stand at the bedside of a very ill patient and ask what she could do to help. 

Kerry Teetor (current hospital board president) actively seeks out staff to assess our needs, and make sure we have everything we need to make the patient/family experience the best possible.

Rob Anderson (current board member) actively participates in a thoughtful intelligent manner monthly at our hospital board meetings for the greater good of our community and LRHC. 

Tara Naprstek (current board member) reflects on positive changes at LRHC, and expertly offers financial suggestions drawing on her vast professional experience to improve LRHC further.

Tucker Case (board candidate) stood up in a public forum to thank the families of LRHC employees for their support, and to recognize the improvement in care provided in the LRHC emergency department that he has personally witnessed. These are just several of hundreds of examples that could be shared organization-wide that illustrate we are on track with the right leadership in place.  No anger, no blaming, and no personal agendas.

Every day I am impressed with the current hospital senior administration and board of director’s leadership, vision, and support.   As a member of this community and LRHC staff, I am greatly concerned about the upcoming board election. We as a group at LRHC want to continue to provide the highest quality care toLexington and its surrounding communities, but we need a board of directors that supports its staff. 

We need a loyal board of directors with the best interests of the organization at the core.  There is no room for personal agendas, continuing to revisit issues that have no resolution, or revenge particularly on behalf of another entity. 

It was painfully obvious at the recent town forums, that there was a general ignorance with regards to the complexities of healthcare, and an under lying personal agenda that did not have the hospital’s best interests at its core. I do not as an employee and community member want ignorance or secret agendas on my community hospital’s board, nor do I want the anger that was on display. As an organization we work as a constructive team, all the way to board level. There is no room for the yelling, name calling, table pounding or intimidation tactics displayed by David Irwin or Paul Homan during these forums.

When voting please consider the passion for LRHC by its employees, we have firsthand witnessed the growth and amazing changes over the last six years.  Please vote for three Rob Anderson, Kerry Teetor, Tara Naprstek, and Tucker Case for Lexington Regional Health Center Board.

Stephanie Reutlinger APRN, FNP-C

Lexington

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(1) comment

kerreyb

Leslie Marsh has a BS, an MBA and a Master's in Health Policy from Yale. Also she has been a guest lecturer at Yale. More than qualified for the CEO position here or at any major medical center in the country. Jean Ford once again knows not of what she speaks.

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