Wamego City Hospital

  • Location: Wamego, KS
  • Award: Rural Healthcare Organization of the Month
  • Awarded: August 2012

For nearly 100 years, Wamego City Hospital is known for being a provider of choice by delivering quality patient and family centered healthcare. Since 1915, physicians and patients have been accustomed to feel that Wamego City Hospital is their hospital. Today, in 2012, Wamego City Hospital still has the same goal, to provide a patient and family centered healthcare setting to ensure the conditions are favorable for the progress of the patient.

As a critical access hospital (CAH), Wamego City Hospital employs 100 staff members, which includes three full time physicians, and one full time mid-level provider and collaborates with another family practice physician group in the area. Additionally, Wamego City Hospital provides various visiting specialists to meet the needs of the community. As a ministry in the Via Christi Health system, WCH benefits from a multitude of services (IT, HR, compliance, legal, education, financial services) available from the largest health system in Kansas.

From good to great

Wamego City Hospital started its journey with the Studer Group in 2007 under the leadership of Lyn Ketelsen and Bridget Ballinger, Studer coaches. The overarching goal was to align our strategic plan to the pillars of People, Service, Quality, Finance, Community, and Growth.

Wamego City Hospital kicked off their new purpose by reading, "Hardwiring Excellence" by Quint Studer. Shortly following, a group of high-performing employees formed the Standards team. The Standards team published the Standards of Performance and provided support with communication, reward and recognition, and service teams.

The next step was the implementation of the Leadership Development Institutes (LDI) where leaders learned how to hardwire the art of crucial conversations, High Middle and Low conversations, 30-60-90 day interviews, the effectiveness of thank you notes, and the essential function of communicating effectively.

Another advent of an effective tool is the use of AIDET – acknowledge, introduce, duration, explanation and thank you. AIDET led us into managing up, key words at key times, hourly rounding, and discharge phone calls.

Telling our story

To tell Wamego City Hospital's story, we feel it is best given by our patients. The following are comments received through our patient satisfaction surveys:

  • Wow, I didn't know a hospital stay could be so relaxing.
  • Everyone is so nice, from the cleaning staff to the doctors, everything I could ask for!
  • I have never had this good of everything, Wamego City Hospital is great.
  • My family will never go anywhere else, the staff is so welcoming, and they make you feel like family.
  • Excellent service, excellent care, excellent staff…what else can I say?

Backing up our story

Quint Studer tells us, "HCAHPS surveys not only provide an accurate reflection of the quality of care provided but also gives us a sense of how well we are performing our mission". Wamego City Hospital has worked hard to be a healthcare provider of choice and results are being achieved as noted in the following:


2009 Top Box

2012 Top Box

Increase points

Rate hospital 0-10




Recommend the hospital




Cleanliness of hospital environment




Quietness of hospital environment




Communication with nurses




Responsiveness of hospital staff




Communication with doctors




Hospital environment




Pain management




Communication about medications




Discharge information




Raising the bar

Achieving results at Wamego City Hospital has also favorably impacted measurements in other areas such as those that follow:

  • Decrease in turnover from 39% in 2006, to less than 12% in 2011
  • 2011 Employee Opinion Survey – Overall Satisfaction, 94.6%, with 95% of the employees completing the survey
  • Since October 2011 our CMS core measures have improved from the 50th percentile in 2009 to the top percentile currently.
  • 7.5 percent average operating margin over the past six years following negative margin years prior
  • Days cash on hand have tripled since 2006 from 55 days to 165 days
  • 5 percent annual volume growth in outpatient services since 2007
  • An accountability process that has reduced our patient fall and medication error rates by more than 50% since 2010

Connecting with the community

Wamego City Hospital employees know that each volunteer hour contributed makes a difference in improving the quality of life for others. Volunteering has not only brought us closer to our community, but has also knit us closer together as a team. Here are a few examples of how Wamego City Hospital, through volunteering, supports and contributes to our community:

  • Partner with Community Health Ministries, a non-for-profit health organization
  • Involvement in the community garden
  • Implemented a healthy lifestyle initiative, Get Fit Wamego
  • Offer several support groups
    • Cancer and Caregivers
    • Diabetes
    • La Leche League
  • Providing scholarships to area high school students who are pursuing a healthcare field upon graduation

Moving forward

It has been said that it is easy to reach goals; the hard part is maintaining them. WCH's goal is to stay consistent and to continue to hardwire all of the "must haves". Our goal is to create a place where employees want to work, physicians to practice and patients to receive care. Though Wamego City Hospital has experienced significant positive change and accomplishment of goals, we continue to raise the bar to be challenged and innovative in being a leader in rural health care.

Other Awards

The achievements of WCH have also been recognized by other organizations:

  • 2012 - Selected as one of Modern Healthcare Magazine's, "Best Place to Work in Healthcare"
  • 2011 - 11th place recipient of Modern Healthcare Magazine's , "Best Place to Work in Healthcare"
  • 2011 - Two Press Ganey awards for maintaining patient satisfactions results in the 99th percentile in the emergency room and inpatient.
  • 2011 - Kansas organization of the year for Collaborative Excellence in Community Service by the Kansas Community Action Organization.
  • 2010 - 24th place recipient of Modern Healthcare Magazine's , "Best Place to Work in Healthcare"
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