St. Luke’s strategically plans for hospital’s future

Published 9:18 am Monday, August 5, 2013

The sounds of construction here at St. Luke’s Hospital remind us daily that we are in the middle of an exciting building project that will reshape this hospital’s future.

We believe our plans to replace several outdated patient rooms and add a state-of-the-art rehab center can only improve the quality and reputation that our staff, our physicians and our board of trustees have worked hard to build. This impressive patient wing is on target to be completed by the end of this year, but planning for St. Luke’s Hospital and our future will continue.

As we consider the healthcare horizon, there are several tools that St. Luke’s Hospital, like any industry, will utilize to determine where we are currently, where we want to be in the short term and need to be in the long term. And then we decide what strategies will get us to that point.

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In addition to this strategic planning process, this is the time of year to build a new operating budget for fiscal year 2014 and a comprehensive report with financial assumptions projected over the next five years.

The lazy days of summer are not at all slow for department managers. This is the time of year they receive budget packets with details on expenses, volumes, projections and staffing. With this information, managers will develop their department’s 2014 budget, considering any capital equipment and technology needs, changes in services, supply costs and payroll. This annual task is necessary to provide our managers and board of trustees with the full picture of the hospital’s operations.

The goal is to create a fiduciary roadmap we can follow that will guide St. Luke’s to a small profit margin at the end of the fiscal year. For us, that margin is likely to be less than 1 percent. It’s a very thin margin, but as the saying goes, “No margin, no mission.” We have to be in “the black” if we are to keep quality healthcare local and provide a safety net for our community.