Lake Chelan Health gets $200k+ in management advice

Lake Chelan Health Board gets advice

from hospital management consultant


By Gary Bégin

CHELAN – Community hospital management consultant Tad Hunt presented a “slide show” at the Lake Chelan Health Board’s January 12 meeting. He is listed as a “senior director” of the firm Huron/Studer Group and his presentation was part of a contract signed with that group about one year ago.

Board Chairman Phyllis Gleasman said, “Tad Hunt is a consultant with Studer/Huron, an organization that provides training for building individual skills. LCH contracted with Studer/Huron to develop organizational excellence by providing guidance to employees, for team alignment, productivity, improve collaboration between leadership and their teams, and the Board.”
Gleasman continued, “A segment of the contract, and included in the overall coaching, was the Board presentation at the last LCH Board meeting (in January).” 

Hunt has decades of  experience in the hospital administration field and has been the CEO of two community hospitals.

In his talk to the Board, Hunt mentioned the importance of keeping the Board itself from micro-managing the day-in and day-out operations of the hospital and stated in no uncertain terms that the only targeted employee guided and managed by the Board directly was LCH CEO George Rohrich.

The following criteria was listed by Hunt as the essential duties of the Board:

  • Articulating and safeguarding the organization’s mission
  • Charting the course for the future through strategic planning
  • Selecting, supporting, and evaluating the chief executive officer
  • Ensuring, promoting and improving the organization’s financial viability
  • Assessing and improving the quality of care and patient safety to include adopting and maintaining a qualified medical staff
  • Serving as an advocate for the organization
  • Designing and implementing board education, development, self-evaluation
  • Being accountable to the community and key constituents to include complying with all legal and regulatory requirements

In regards to CEO Rohrich, Hunt revealed his opinions of expected performance criteria.

  • financial performance and specified financial ratios
  • operating indicators, including length of stay, average daily census, admissions, outpatient visits, etc.
  • quality measures, patient outcomes (mortality rates), infection rates, etc.
  • market share growth
  • physician satisfaction
  • employee satisfaction
  • patient satisfaction
  • public trust and confidence
  • achievement of hospital strategies/objectives

Hunt listed nine guiding principles the Board should adhere to:

  • Commit to Excellence    
  • Measure the Important Things
  • Build a Culture Around Service
  • Create and Develop Great Leaders
  • Focus on Employee Satisfaction
  • Build Individual Accountability
  • Align Behaviors with Goals and Values
  • Communicate at All Levels
  • Recognize and Reward Success

Hunt also indicated the fiscal responsibilities expected by any health board stating, “Most surveys of top issues confronting hospitals and health systems clearly show financial challenges to be the number one issue.” Hunt then expressed these financial expectations of a board:

  • establishing financial goals for growth, debt capacity, and return on equity, and monitoring progress toward those goals
  • approving an annual budget and reviewing the status of the budget routinely
  • developing and monitoring investment policies and goals
  • setting criteria for return on investment and new business ventures
  • determining policies on uncompensated care, provision of needed community services, and development of alternative revenue sources.

The contract, officially entitled “Studer Group Coaching Services and Accelerators,” calls for getting periodic coaching and management advice as well as making payments of $16,846 monthly to the consulting firm. Those payments began in May of last year.

The three-year deal was signed by LCH CEO Rohrich in January, 2020 for a total cost of $202,153. The agreement contains “opt out” provisions for LCH based on performance of the firm and the satisfaction of same by LCH. Both parties to the contract have a required 90-day notice prior to any cancellation.

The Studer Group is headquartered in Pensacola, Florida, while consultant Hunt gave the presentation from his office in Nebraska. Hunt has more than 30-years experience in the field and “is passionate about working with organizations to improve the patient experience and empowering employees to provide high-quality care,” according to his website.

“The desired outcome of the program is to align all employees with the vision and mission of the hospital; leadership, executive teams, to "boots on the floor" and develop a team building environment,” said Chairman Gleasman.
“The Board and leadership continually work towards improving the hospital
and quality care for all patients,” concluded Gleasman.

For more information, go to the Lake Chelan Mirror website to see the entire meeting presentation and the contract.

Managing Editor Gary Bégin can be reached at Comments may be published as Letters to the Editor in future NCW Media editions.

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