Only four years ago, St. Joseph Medical Center was on life support. Even though the 272-bed acute-care, faith-based hospital had served the Kansas City community since 1874, its reputation was at an all-time low and so was its profitability. That all changed in 2015 when Prime Healthcare stepped in as new owners, bringing with it a strong track record of turning community hospitals around. Jodi Fincher was brought in as CEO and since then, numerous improvements, additions and expansions have been implemented, leading to one of the truly amazing reversal of fortunes in the medical industry. As a result, St. Joseph Medical Center is now highly ranked in many areas of medical care and is flourishing financially, all while maintaining its Catholic identity. This is the story behind the unlikely turnaround.
An objective at St. Joseph Medical Center was to make medical care more affordable so people in the Kansas City metro would have access to the treatments they needed without the financial stress. One step toward accomplishing that was implementing the MDsave program. As the industry grapples with transparency requirements set out in the executive order in June, St. Joseph Medical Center is a model of how successful consumer-friendly healthcare works. It is the first hospital in Kansas City to go live with an easy-to-understand upfront price system that already includes related fees, protecting patients from receiving balance bills.
“We are now able to offer our patients predictable, affordable prices through MDsave to ultimately help uninsured or underinsured patients with access to the same quality health care they have come to expect at our hospital and at a lower cost,” says Fincher.
The marketplace format works just like shopping online, allowing patients to compare prices, add the procedure from the provider of their choice to their shopping cart and pay for the service all in one place. You can learn more about St. Joseph Medical Center’s online procedure offerings at mdsave.com/SJMC.
Another program implemented at St. Joseph to make healthcare more affordable was by permanently reducing the cost of the calcium score screening to $40 – the lowest price in the city. This preventative 10-minute screening is recommended for anyone over the age of 40 with risk factors to test for potential future cardiac issues.
This screening saved the life of Donald Haight, a 58-year-old Florida native, in February. At the time, Mr. Haight was not experiencing chest pain or any typical heart attack symptoms, so he was surprised when he received an urgent call from Dr. Gerald Mancuso, Interventional Cardiologist, to immediately come in the next day for more testing.
His calcium score of 800 meant he was at great risk of heart attack and there was a chance his arteries were blocked by plaque, which is a buildup of calcium, fat and residue. He underwent cardiac catheterization surgery, discovered that his LAD artery (responsible for the widowmaker heart attack) was 80% blocked and had two stents placed. “With no family history of coronary disease and absolutely no symptoms, I had completely expected a call to say my result was just fine and nothing to worry about. This screening absolutely saved my life,” says Mr. Haight. “I am beyond thankful for the staff and providers at St. Joseph Medical Center who assisted in my care.”
Robotic Knee Replacement
In March of 2018, St. Joseph Medical Center invested in the NAVIO Surgical System, a cutting-edge platform that provides robotic assistance in knee replacement surgery. Robotic assistance allows surgeons with accuracy and precision – important factors in determining the long-term success of the surgery.
Outpatient surgery is a growing trend in orthopedics that allows patients to go home in less than 24 hours. Additional patient benefits include a lower risk of infection and lower costs.
“I was walking the very next day and a few days later without any assistance,” said Jackie Wolf, one of the first NAVIO partial knee replacement patients. “It’s truly amazing how fast I recovered. I would highly encourage NAVIO robotic assisted knee replacement surgery to everyone.”
24/7 Neurosurgery Coverage
In July, St. Joseph Medical Center added Dr. Frank Holladay, a board-certified neurological surgeon, in conjunction with its new 24/7 neurosurgery coverage at the hospital. This new 24-hour care significantly decreases the need to transfer patients, resulting in saved lives and a decreased burden on other facilities. Dr. Holladay has vast experience in brain and spine surgery with specialties in minimally invasive spine surgery, spinal fusion, trauma and adult brain disorders.
“The addition of neuroscience treatments on our campus allows our team to give the members of our community access to world-class care close to home,” said Fincher.
Senior Care Services Program
St. Joseph became the first hospital in Kansas City to launch a comprehensive Senior Care Services Program, which includes a senior-friendly emergency room, a $1.6 million, 23-bed inpatient Senior Behavioral Health Center and an outpatient senior clinic. Overall, the hospital has made more than 40 million in capital improvements, including state-of-the-art radiology equipment, new windows, updated telemetry monitoring system, new call light system and new hospital beds. As a result, the hospital has received numerous industry-wide awards and recognitions in the past few years for this program.
“To better meet the special needs of our seniors, we combined state-of-the-art technology and world-class expertise along with a little common sense and compassion,” says Fincher.
New Endocrinology Clinic
In August, the hospital opened a new inpatient/outpatient endocrinology clinic, St. Joseph Endocrinology, and hired endocrinologist Dr. Ahmad Almubaslat to better treat patients in the metro area with diabetes, thyroid disease and other hormone and metabolic issues related to the endocrine glands. The need for these services in the area has been pervasive with new patient waiting lists extending for months. Dr. Almubaslat brings nearly two decades of experience to the health-care team at St. Joseph Medical Center.
“St. Joseph Medical Center is very well situated to provide cutting edge current and future diabetes and endocrine care to the beloved community of Kansas City,” says Dr. Almubaslat. “I am impressed with the vision and commitment of the hospital’s leadership to offering nothing but the best to ensure the delivery of world class diabetes and endocrine care to our patients.”
The result of this turnaround is a large increase in services available for patient care along with improved, more efficient and affordable treatment. The changes haven’t gone unnoticed as St. Joseph has received numerous awards and recognitions in many areas including stroke care, patient safety and general excellence. The future looks just as bright and hospital leadership is looking forward with more projects to continue this upward trend.
In September, construction began on a state-of-the-art facility as part of a $3 million project to relocate Healient Physician Group to St. Joseph’s campus. Healient’s 40 full-time employees, including eight physician specialists and five mid-level providers, will add world-class healthcare in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiac, wound care and vascular disease.
The facility opens in January. Services include state-of-the-art diagnostic and minimally-invasive treatment of heart and vascular conditions along with the area’s newest hyperbaric treatment facility. This much-anticipated relocation will streamline patient care to provide greater efficiency, convenience and collaboration.
Additional focus includes increasing surgical volume, adding clinics to serve more members of the community and reopening the obstetrics facility.
“We continue to move forward and are laser-focused on growth, quality care for our patients and our community,” Fincher says. “We don’t settle for best practices, we go beyond them.”
“The administration, doctors, nurses and all employees have turned around every aspect of St. Joseph Medical Center,” added board member, Sister Helen Flemington. “In a word, we are strong.”
St. Joseph Medical Center is a member of Prime Healthcare. For more information, visit stjosephkc.com.