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Modern Healthcare - 2021-05-03

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Blessing Health: How they did it

SURVEY: CONSTRUCTION AND DESIGN

Maureen Kahn, CEO of Blessing Health, a three-hospital rural health system based in Quincy, Ill., on how it reviewed its entire enterprise to determine its real estate needs. Seize the moment The pandemic created two potential opportunities in the form of excess office space, as staff members started working from home, and the need for more nimble decision-making at the executive level. “What we learned is we could be a much more efficient organization,” Kahn said. “After our year of COVID, we are not going to go back to those antiquated processes of taking decisions to this committee and that committee.” Assemble the team Blessing Health’s strategic planning committee comprises board members and executive leadership, including its chief financial officer, the executive director of its physician group, its chief nursing officer and its director of facilities. Assess the landscape Looking at the horizon five years from now, Kahn and colleagues are reviewing their community’s population projections, economic development plan and growth forecasts for area businesses. “And then we are looking at our internal resources—the aging of our physicians and how are we planning to bring new physicians in,” Kahn said. That information is reviewed alongside Blessing Health’s asset list showing the condition, age and other details of every building that it owns or leases. Bring in fresh eyes “Sometimes we get a little too close to a subject, so we felt that an outside consultant could be more objective and push us in assessing our business,” Kahn said. The outside review team includes an architect evaluating how exam rooms are designed and a process flow expert looking at every step. Prepare for the long term By the end of this year, Blessing Health will have a plan that identifies when to relinquish building leases and how its owned buildings can be expanded, repurposed or reconfigured to meet industry-level and market-level changes in the foreseeable future.

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