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Friday, July 25, 2014

Via Christi writing plan to improve care

By Dan Voorhis
The Wichita Eagle

Wichita has more hospital beds per person, more surgeries per person and fewer doctors per person than a model health care system in Grand Junction, Colo.

But Wichita is also far from the nation’s worst, according to Jeff Korsmo, who has been president and CEO of Via Christi Health for seven months.

He said the city is part of the world’s most expensive — but not especially effective — U.S. health care system, which consumes more than 16 percent of the country’s economic output.

“We pay a lot for health care and don’t get a lot of value for it,” he said.

Bringing Wichita from average to superior is a three-pronged effort, Korsmo said.

It means improving Via Christi’s care, improving the overall health of the community and making health care more cost effective, he said. The goals are not mutually exclusive in the best systems.

“We aspire to that, but it never works out as well as we hope,” he said.

Korsmo spoke Monday at the Downtown Rotary, laying out the challenges for Via Christi, as well as the nation as a whole.

Via Christi recently began writing a strategic plan following its merger with the Wichita Clinic last year to improve care and eliminate overlapping functions.

Via Christi has a chance to improve care for the underserved, design new methods and new incentives to reduce costs and improve care, Korsmo said. He also sees opportunities to engage the community to plan better for the last months of life, where a great deal of money is spent to little effect.

The plan now in development also will need to take into consideration some crucial changes required by the health care reform law that is being challenged in the Supreme Court, he said.

The plan should be done by the late summer.

Reach Dan Voorhis at 268-6577 or dvoorhis@wichitaeagle.com

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