Straight Talk - "Five major NCH tactical initiatives"

September 26, 2013

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

One mark of a great hospital is the support it gets from community leaders, particularly those who volunteer to man and woman its Board of Trustees. We are fortunate at NCH to have such leaders helping guide us as we proceed on our journey to ensure longer, happier and healthier lives for all of us and our neighbors.

Our most recent meeting last night of the 17-member Board offers a glimpse of how our Trustees are confronting important issues, including the five major NCH tactical initiatives.

  • Primary care—This has emerged as a key consideration among physicians within and outside our community, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants especially as our region resumes its growth. The adoption of national healthcare means that more people will have insurance and that we will need more capacity for primary care. We possess the network and the infrastructure, to support and welcome new practices.

  • In-patient care model—Right now, more than 60% of our in-patients are cared for by hospitalists, making this service a focus for quality, patient satisfaction, and efficiency. To continue to improve our care and service for patients may involve learning from the best practices of others. This topic evoked great discussion.

  • Telehealth—In collaboration with our IT partner, Cerner, and our long-time loyal and supportive NCH friend, Welch Allyn, we are exploring ways to employ Smart Rooms in patient homes for continuous monitoring, either after a hospitalization or even instead of a hospitalization.

  • Population health—We have been sharing at both the state and local level, the importance of disease prevention. Locally, the Greenway Project is a great example of encouraging people to stay mobile and fit. The Downtown Coalition, consisting of citizens and business owners in downtown Naples, has been a great supporter of this effort. Mike Riley, NCH chief strategy officer, reviewed with the Board our Community Health Needs Assessment and specific areas where we can make the most impact.

  • Mayo affiliation—Our Mayo colleagues are on campus this week to share their physician-led course for better patient-physician communication. We continue to grow our relationship, as the Mayo Clinic Care Network itself grows; the most recent edition is ThedaCare, a prestigious 5-hospital system with 22 physician clinics in Wisconsin.

The Board also reviewed and approved our strategic plan and budget, both of which underscored the increasingly difficult environment all of healthcare is facing in our globally competitive world. Our recent Moody’s report ( highlighted a daunting outlook while affirming our current good bond rating of A2. (We’ll discuss the state of NCH and healthcare this Sunday at 10:00 AM on Jeff Lytle’s Naples Daily NewsMakers on ABC-7.)

Net/net, the Board agreed that we have been smart and prudent getting our house in order these past years so that we remain strong financially with increased reserves, even while our earnings potential, just like the rest of the industry’s, is cloudy in an uncertain healthcare environment. What is “certain” is that southwest Florida needs a strong and vibrant NCH. That imposes a continuing challenge on all of us to deliver wise and prudent care, so that the quality of life we have come to enjoy will endure for many years to come.


Allen S. Weiss, M.D., President and CEO

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