Hospital aims for top 100 rank

Interim CEO open to staying in Springfield, focused on improving quality of care.

Springfield Regional Medical Center leaders want to become one of the country’s top 100 hospitals despite major changes that include the resignation of the hospital’s leader, the demolition of old properties and the construction of a new medical office building.

Interim president and CEO Paul Hiltz met with the Springfield News-Sun this week for an exclusive interview to discuss the hospital’s goals. Hiltz took over Jan. 8 after former president and CEO Mark Wiener resigned at the end of 2012.

Hiltz now runs the largest employer in Clark County with 2,700 employees.

“The vision for this hospital is to make it a top 100 hospital,” Hiltz said of Catholic Health Partners, the hospital system that SRMC is part of. “We have to be able to demonstrate we’re in the highest percentile for clinical care … and patient satisfaction.”

Hiltz said the hospital has already made steps toward improvement, particularly in patient care. The hospital has arranged care teams for patients that meet every day to discuss a patient and have increased the frequency of rounds that nurses make to patients.

CHP is using the Truven Health Researchers metric for top 100 hospitals. Truven Health officials were unavailable for comment but according to CHP, Truven evaluates thousands of hospitals using Medicare cost reports, Medicare Provider Analysis and Review data and and patient satisfaction data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Hospitals do not have to apply or pay to be a part of the ranking.

Hiltz pointed out that Springfield already has several strengths — mainly a state-of-the-art facility and high ratings in specific fields such as cardiac surgery.

“We have a world-class facility,” Hiltz said. “This hospital would stack up against anything else going on in the country.”

Hiltz has made a major push to attract more physicians to the hospital.

“Clinically, this hospital has all the bells and whistles here that would make this a great place to come for your career,” he said.

Hiltz said he has spent much of his first two months here visiting doctors offices in the area and visited the physician-owned Ohio Valley Surgical Hospital on his first day.

The proposed medical office building is another tool the hospital wants to use to attract quality physicians.

The proposed $14.9 million, 80,000 square foot building has been delayed several months as hospital officials determine the best way to build and still stay affordable for tenants.

“Where it stands now is we are asking developers to look at how to configure the size of the building,” Hiltz said. “We’re trying to make the rents as affordable as can be.”

Traditionally, developers try to reach a certain level of occupancy before beginning construction on a building. But CMHP wants a developer to own the building and lease the land from the hospital. Minneapolis-based health care real estate developer Frauenshuh has been attached to the medical office building, but officials were unavailable for comment Wednesday. Architect Davis Stokes from Tennessee was also unavailable for comment, but employees said the firm is still in the schematic design phase.

The demolition of the former Community Hospital should be finished by June, and community leaders say they want to help raise more than $2 million for the demolition of the former Mercy Medical Center. CMHP has stressed it has not made a decision about the Mercy site yet.

Hiltz, who came from Catholic Health Partners in Cincinnati, will remain president and CEO as the hospital board conducts a national search for a new leader. Hiltz, however, indicated he would be willing to stay in the community.

“Well, if they want me to stay, that would be good,” he said.

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