Health Care

Via Christi outlines goals at forum

Via Christi Health hosted a breakfast and community forum Tuesday morning at the Drury Plaza Hotel Broadview to discuss initiatives related to its new strategic plan.

The meeting included updates on the health system’s future and leadership, as well as several quality goals that the organization will strive to meet over the next several years.

“We want you to hold us accountable,” Jeff Korsmo, president and CEO of Via Christi Health, told attendees.

The health care industry faces many obstacles, Korsmo said, including the increasing cost of health care, an aging patient population and an aging workforce.

Throughout the past year, teams of Via Christ health care workers and patients have looked for ways the organization can improve, he said.

One goal for Via Christi Hospitals in Wichita is to improve its Hospital Safety Score from a “C” to an “A,” Korsmo said.

“We’re not nearly where we should be,” he said. “This is where our focus needs to be.”

The score is derived from performance measures that include such factors as surgical site infections, patient falls and hospital acquired illnesses. Data comes from the Leapfrog Hospital Survey, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Via Christi will also work on being recognized as a nursing magnet through the American Nurses Credentialing Center, a subsidiary of the American Nurses Association.

The credentials would help recruit and retain nurses, Korsmo said.

“Magnet designation is the best award for nursing and denotes an environment where nurses can thrive and patients can heal. … We believe Wichita and our patients deserve that goal,” said Linda Goodwin, chief nursing officer.

Additionally, Via Christi has restructured its nursing leadership model into staff-led teams, replacing a traditional “autocratic” model, Goodwin said.

Via Christi is also working with area hospitals and the Medical Society of Sedgwick County to make Wichita a top performer in surgical safety, said Dr. Randall Morgan, who leads Via Christi’s quality committee.

Korsmo said that Via Christi intends to create quality measures that extend beyond hospitals and into its outpatient facilities in anticipation of future requirements by the government.

Although details were not given, Goodwin said the system also is looking at behavioral health initiatives.

“As we all know, sadly in Kansas, (behavioral health) is totally underserved and we are embarking in a collaborative effort across Kansas, Wichita and other places to improve the health of behavioral patients,” Goodwin said.

The elimination of errors and decreasing the number of preventable hospitalizations will help reduce costs over time, Korsmo said.

Sponsorship change

Via Christi is currently sponsored by both Marian Health System, which was founded by the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother, and St. Louis-based Ascension Health, the largest Catholic and nonprofit health care system in the United States.

Korsmo told attendees at Tuesday’s meeting that the system will likely transition to complete sponsorship by Ascension Health by the end of March or sometime in April.

“The sisters are looking ahead to their future, and they realize that someday they won’t be able to play a significant leadership role like they do today,” Korsmo said. “They want to bring their sponsorship around the table with an organization that will ensure the long-term vibrancy of Catholic health care.”