Case Study

Great Plains Health

Need for “A La Carte” Medical Consulting leads to CHC: Great Plains Health, North Platte, NE

The Situation

Many hospitals come to Community Hospital Corporation (CHC) in critical condition. Others come to optimize their good health. Great Plains Health (GPHealth) in North Platte, Nebraska, is hale and hearty, with robust finances and a governing board that asks smart questions. Managed for nearly 25 years by an outside organization, Great Plains in 2009 began to question the partnership’s value and looked instead for an advisory partner to provide specific services according to need. Hospital leaders tapped CHC Consulting, the management and consulting arm of CHC, leading to improvements in operations, supply chain and productivity.

“CHC values the independent business model and helps keep it viable in the face of economic uncertainty and sweeping changes in the healthcare industry.”

Mel McNea, CEO, Great Plains Health

Background

GPHealth is a nonprofit, fully accredited, 116-bed regional referral center serving west Nebraska, northern Kansas and northern Colorado. Service areas span 34 counties, 136,000 lives and approximately 67,832 square miles. With nearly 100 physicians representing 30 medical specialties, GPHealth offers advanced medical services, including neurosurgery, heart and vascular, cancer, orthopedic services, women’s services, and a level III trauma center.

Although GPHealth thinks big, hospital leaders know that bigger isn’t always better. Such was the case with the management contract, which included a “big bundle” of services for which the hospital had no use.

We wanted a vendor to be a trusted partner to help us achieve our goals and vision,” explains Mel McNea, GPHealth CEO.

The Plan

Instead of a bundled management contract, “We wanted more of an à la carte arrangement based on what we felt we needed, including group purchasing and help fine-tuning operations,” says McNea.

CHC Consulting listened to and met those needs as opposed to pushing a prepackaged solution. And in designing a custom solution, “CHC thought of things we hadn’t based on their assessment of how we operate,” he adds.

Along with transition support as Great Plains parted ways with its longtime management company, CHC Consulting provided or helped provide:

  • Analyses of revenue cycle, supply spend and productivity
  • Conversion to CHC Consulting’s group purchasing organization (GPO)
  • Custom contracts for orthopedic implants
  • Perioperative process improvement
  • Profitability performance plan
  • Plans for regional development as well as market share growth
  • Practice management support
  • Productivity enhancement using CHC Consulting’s Productivity Tool to adjust and manage staffing levels
  • Ongoing strategic planning sessions

“CHC’s financial acumen is exceptional. They made sure we were running as efficiently as possible,” McNea says.

The Results

CHC Consulting arranged for custom contracting for physician preferred items, steering GPHealth to save 25 percent, or $425,000, on their annual hip and knee spend of $1.7M.

In recent years, CHC has facilitated several strategic planning efforts involving GPHealth along with other health system and physician leaders.

As an organization, GPHealth has grown to nearly 100 members on the medical staff, some of whom travel to other clinics throughout Nebraska. Newer services include neurosurgery, cardiology and endocrinology. Most recently, the Emergency Department has expanded to better serve the local community.

These are examples of helping a good organization perform better.

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