Salina, KS- “It’s hard to believe that we are already coming up on the one-year anniversary of affiliating with Salina Regional Health System (SRHC),” said Memorial Health System CEO, Harold Courtois. “I am proud of our employees; they have worked hard to make this a smooth transition. SRHC has a great affiliation model, and we are fortunate to be a part of a group with Salina, Lindsborg, and Concordia. I know that this was the best decision we could have made to keep our organization strong, and keep local access to health care for our community well into the future.”
On January 1, 2022 it was official; Memorial Health System (MHS) was affiliated with Salina Regional Health Care (SRHC), making them the third hospital to be part of the health care team collaborating in North Central Kansas. Lindsborg Community Hospital and Cloud County Health Center in Concordia, now called North Central Kansas Medical Center with the opening of their new hospital in October, are also affiliates of SHRC.
In the first year, MHS employees had several changes to navigate through, the biggest one probably being the conversion to MEDITECH, a new electronic medical record (EMR) system that would be used in several departments. This was one of the hurdles that Courtois mentioned; having several departments all learning a new system, all starting on the same day, slowed the everyday workflow down a bit. While implementing changes can take a while before processes are running smoothly, having a new record system that is shared between the four hospitals definitely benefits both staff and patients. This makes taking care of patients much easier; not having to request records from other hospitals.
Another significant change that took place in the first year of affiliation was the introduction to an OB hybrid model of care for expecting mothers. MHS and SRHC teamed up to find a solution that would allow OB patients to continue seeing their physician in Abilene for all prenatal and postnatal visits, with a delivery plan at SRHC under a team of specially trained providers and support staff. Providing the best care for the mother and baby come first above everything else, and that has always been the way MHS operates. Affiliation provided an opportunity to continue to do that.
Significant changes in systems and programs were not all that MHS staff experienced in the first year of affiliation. Behind the scenes other meaningful connections have been taking place. Employees from all four hospitals have been able to network with each other; learning and sharing ideas with their counterparts in other hospitals. “I have enjoyed getting to know my counterparts at the other hospitals,” said Haley Jones, Director of Marketing and Development. “We have a monthly All System Marketing Meeting where we all get together, taking turns at each other’s hospitals’. We talk about what is going on in our own sectors and share ideas. It helps keep us connected. Between all of us, there are a lot of years of experience in the room, and I appreciate the mentors that I have gained through affiliation.”
Michelle Ward, Materials Management Manger, has enjoyed the ease in which supplies have been transferred with affiliation. She said, “We’ve always been able to get supplies from SRHC, but now it’s a lot less paperwork and no invoices to pay.” It has also been a big plus when emergent supplies are needed as there is always staff coming and going between hospitals that can easily do a drop-off when needed.
MHS Respiratory Therapy Department received a new cardiac rehab monitoring system through close consultation with cardiac rehab in Salina. “We run a more efficient, more compliant program than before. This is good for everyone, especially the patients,” explained the director, Matt Mead.
Rhonda Schmid, Radiology Manager appreciates how fast the providers are getting reports back, which emphasizes the thoughts shared by Andrea Taylor, COO, “The one thing that I love that came from affiliation is the continuity of care for patients.”
As MHS moves into year two of affiliation, they are confident that the path forward will continue to be a success, and much more is to come; strengthening their mission to enhance the health and wellness of all.