Kewanee Hospital

  • Location: Kewanee, IL
  • Award: Rural Healthcare Organization of the Month
  • Awarded: February 2014

It's rare to find a rural community hospital that's ahead of the curve. But it's that culture of innovation and teamwork that sets Kewanee Hospital (KH) apart. KH has one of the newest hospital buildings in the state. Its radiology and other diagnostic equipment rival what you might find in regional medical centers in larger cities. KH is a national leader in electronic healthcare record integration; achieving Small & Rural Most Wired Status 2011-2013.

KH is a rural Critical Access Hospital (CAH) serving approximately 30,000 residents in west-central Illinois. KH has a well-defined healthcare market made up of the rural communities in portions of Henry, Stark, Bureau and Knox counties in Illinois.

KH is the largest employer in the Kewanee area. The total economic impact for the hospital is more than $47 million per year, including almost $11 million in payroll for 215-plus workers. KH boasts a strong balance sheet with a solid investment portfolio that compares favorably to other hospitals. Despite the tough economy, KH has experienced growth in outpatient services that the leaders attribute to the Studer Group partnership. KH was able to successfully increase equivalent patient days to 14,051 in 2013 from 13,150 in 2012.

KH's plan for future growth stems from one of its Defining Statements: Providing stewardship of a precious community asset through responsible decision-making to ensure future viability and continued service to our community. KH's leaders, like other visionary healthcare executives, are preparing for a healthcare landscape that will likely change radically in the next few years.

As part of that preparation, KH signed an agreement to join OSF Healthcare System (OSF) earlier in 2013. Kewanee Hospital will become OSF Saint Luke Medical Center on April 1, 2014. With the affiliation, the community will experience greater access to integrated primary, secondary, and advanced tertiary health care services. Achieving excellence in clinical innovations, services, quality, costs and outcomes are mutual goals of both organizations. The board, leadership team, employees and community are embracing the transition and excited about what it means for the future of healthcare in Kewanee and the surrounding communities.

KH's leaders have built a tremendously supportive and effective team environment through the partnership with the Studer Group. They officially became a partner in late 2011 and started their journey with the planning for the 2012 fiscal year. The leadership team, under the coaching of Lyn Ketelsen, has implemented the Studer Must Haves and continues to work towards hardwiring the best practices. The team attributes the Studer tools in helping them communicate the pending affiliation with OSF. Despite the changes associated with the affiliation, KH leaders are excited to report that the 2013 Employee Engagement Survey ranked KH in the 94th percentile for organizational engagement. The leadership team explains that the survey scores are a result of a transparent environment where details (sharing the why) are shared openly with staff through unit meetings, rounding and employee forums. The leadership team has added the pending affiliation as a key question to ask on employee rounds. Greater employee engagement has resulted in a decrease in turnover from 54 in 2012 to 29 in 2013, saving over $875,000.

Employee engagement together with aligned goals through use of the Leadership Evaluation Manager (LEM) has provided an environment conducive to performance improvement. The Emergency Department (ED) recently worked to redesign the triage process in order to decrease throughput time for patients. The result of the redesign was less than 90 minute median throughput time in 10 out of 12 months in FYE 2013 for KH's ED. Our staff understands that this means improved quality of care for our patients.

In 2013 KH made hand washing compliance an organization goal for the Quality Pillar and used it as part of our Key Words at Key Times (KWKT) with employees, physicians and patients ("I am washing my hands in order to prevent the spread of infection"). While it is well known that hand washing is the number one way to decrease the spread of infection, and is taught in preschool, however it is still not practiced at 100% in our nation's hospitals and clinics. In the past the methods to measure hand washing compliance were mediocre at best. Utilizing the tools taught through the Studer partnership, KH measured hand washing compliance by asking the patient and family during patient rounds, "did you see your health care providers wash their hands prior to delivering care?" The results of the rounds (conducted in all patient care areas throughout the year) were tabulated and KH achieved a 99.63% overall compliance rating.

KH is experiencing success with patient satisfaction. The HCAHPS scores along with the outpatient results continue to improve and move up in the percentile ranking. Overall rating has increased to the 83rd percentile in 2013 coming from the 5th percentile in 2012. The KH team credits the goals in the LEM and the implementation of AIDET/KWKT with the increase. AIDET/KWKT was implemented in May 2012 and KH made it a competency for 100% of staff. "We are excited to see the scores move up each month," stated Lynn Fulton, KH CEO. "It's rewarding to our employees to see the results of their hard work and dedication. They care deeply for our patients and go above and beyond to provide excellent care. I know I speak for our entire leadership team when I say that I am so proud of our employees."

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