LMH officials lay out plan for healthy growth

While much of the nation experienced hard times economically the past two years, Lawrence Memorial Hospital “survived the storm” but faces major challenges ahead, hospital officials said Wednesday night.

“One thing we need to avoid is complacency,” LMH Chief Executive Gene Meyer told about 125 people who gathered in the hospital auditorium.

Meyer and other officials spoke during the 2003 Report to the Community.

Meyer expressed the need for the hospital to continue to expand its services to Lawrence and beyond to remain competitive with other medical providers.

“We face competition from many locations,” Meyer said. “By serving our community we can protect ourselves from intrusions from other services. We will be promoting our services for many years to come.”

Meyer noted that expansion of services and facilities would be costly. Because the hospital relies on its own funding sources and not local taxes, the LMH Endowment Assn. is especially important, said John Nitcher, the group’s president.

Last year the endowment had total net proceeds of $927,197, Nitcher said. Several fund-raisers in 2003 contributed to that total, he said, including the Hearts of Gold Ball and the Penny Jones Golf Tournament.

The benefits brought funds for expansions such as the Bob Billings Cardiac Evaluation Center. Other extended services included the LMH Sleep Center and Wound Healing Center. Family practice clinics were established last year in Baldwin and Tonganoxie. The LMH Regional Oncology Center now has full-service radiation therapy.

Dr. Lee Reussner, chief of the medical staff, noted that when he started practicing in Lawrence in 1994 the medical staff consisted of 133 physicians. That number now is 190.

“During the last 10 years, I’ve had the opportunity to see incredible changes,” he said.

Lawrence Mayor Mike Rundle said the city welcomed continued growth at LMH. “The growth of the community parallels the growth of LMH,” he said.

LMH played host to a reception in the hospital atrium before the community report was given.