Archive for Wednesday, March 27, 2013

LMH asked to donate $75,000 to new Chamber of Commerce economic development campaign

March 27, 2013


Lawrence Memorial Hospital leaders are being asked to improve the health of the community’s economic development coffers.

LMH’s board of trustees on Wednesday formally received a request from the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce for a $75,000 donation to an upcoming economic development fundraising campaign.

Board members delayed taking action on the request until next month when they hope to receive more details from the chamber on what the campaign would specifically fund.

But leaders at the hospital urged board members to strongly consider the request.

“Job creation and economic development benefit LMH greatly,” Gene Meyer, president and CEO of LMH, told the board. “I think we all are concerned about the 30 percent of people who commute outside the community every day. Those are people who are more difficult for us to serve.”

The chamber is asking for the hospital to donate $25,000 a year for the next three years. According to a letter sent by the chamber, the campaign has an annual goal of $325,000.

The chamber also is asking Meyer to serve as a co-chair for the fundraising campaign.

Chamber officials previously have said they are creating specific goals related to business retention and attraction efforts, along with other economic development programs, that will be supported by the campaign. More of those details are expected to be presented to hospital leaders next month.

In other LMH news:

• For more than a year now, Lawrence city commissioners have said they want a “wellness center” to be a part of the city’s proposed northwest Lawrence recreation center. But they’ve had a difficult time painting a picture of what that wellness center may include.

Come to find out, defining a wellness center isn’t so easy for a hospital to do either.

Board members were told Wednesday that hospital leaders are starting over on what it may want to include in a wellness center at the recreation center.

“We really need to re-look at it and throw out our past assumptions on it,” said Karen Shumate, the chief operating officer for LMH.

Shumate said the hospital had started talking with physicians and other providers about what kind of services could be offered at the center. She said the hospital planned to meet with other stakeholder groups too.

Previously, hospital leaders had said the center could include diet and exercise classes, one-on-one wellness coaching, physical/occupational and speech therapy services, sports performance enhancement programs and various screenings.

Current plans for the recreation center, which is slated for an area just north of the northeast corner of Sixth Street and the South Lawrence Trafficway, include 7,000 square feet for a wellness center.

LMH hasn’t yet made a commitment to lease the space, but it expects to have a report for the board to consider in June.

• Meyer said hospital leaders now believe LMH will lose $750,000 in revenue this year as a result of the sequestration cuts related to the federal budget debate in Washington, D.C. Meyer said the hospital will make adjustments to its operating budget, which is about $200 million for 2013, to account for the loss of revenue.

• Board members gave preliminary approval to make an offer to purchase the former Douglas County ambulance station that is adjacent to the hospital.

The building is owned by Douglas County, but the hospital has been using it rent-free for the last several years to store equipment and as temporary office space during renovation projects.

A recent appraisal puts the value of the building at $275,000. Meyer said in the near term the hospital will continue to use the building for storage purposes. But he said the hospital at some point may look to start a “semi-retail” pharmacy that would be designed to serve the needs of LMH employees. Meyer said if the hospital operated its own pharmacy for employees that it likely could save significant money on its health insurance costs.


UneasyRider 5 years, 2 months ago

Anybody or organization who gives to chamber is stupid

verity 5 years, 2 months ago

No pressure there, is there?

I thought we didn't like people being pressured into giving money---you know, like having "union dues" taken directly out of your paycheck.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 2 months ago

The hospital just needs to send in a team to meet in secret with the Fritzels and KU Endowment, and then spring it on us all once they've come up with the magic answer (along with how much taxpayers will be expected to pay for it.) After all, that's how public bidness is done around here these days.

msezdsit 5 years, 2 months ago

Talk about a massive irresponsible worthless lot of scoundrels. I think it should be against the law for anyone to donate to the Chamber of thievery and it should absolutely be illegal for them to request a contribution. They should meet at the jail and then go back to their cells.

deltaman 5 years, 2 months ago

Usual suspects complaining about the Chamber. I am a proud Chamber member and support their endeavors. I am especially impressed with their new CEO, Greg Williams. This campaign is to help attract and retain jobs in our community. Why is that objective not appealing to you? Do you enjoy that our median income of $33k per year is less than that of neighboring cities? What do you think leads to greater income growth for employees? Legislating a living wage. No. An employee must either be more productive or learn skills of higher value. That is achieved by a good education, which may include technical training. The Chamber has come out in support of the school bond issue, which you may not favor, but strong schools are essential to building strong neighborhoods. That is a fact. Another opportunity for employees to improve their skills is through technical training. The Chamber initiated the momentum behind bringing technical training to Lawrence. Finally, the Chamber is proud to partner with KU and its efforts to attract students. So what is to dislike about the Chamber? Is it because, at times, they support public incentives for projects where the benefits exceeds the costs? My guess is the hate stems from something you disagreed years ago. You would enjoy life more if you decide to look through the windshield rather than the rear view mirror.

deltaman 5 years, 2 months ago

Very few members receive any public incentives. But, these businesses pay a lot of taxes that goes to support causes you care about such as subsidized housing, the library, the Arts Center, and the hundreds of thousands that goes toward social service programs. Yet, Chamber members don't seem to complain about it.

The same few complainers come on this Board knowing very little about the Chamber. Frankly,it's the same few people that complain about everything. Im sure protesting was fun in the 70's, but at least then you had a worthy cause.

headdoctor 5 years, 2 months ago

Giving money to the Chamber to recruit more minimum wage jobs and fund their little get togethers is just as stupid as the City donating money to the city club house known as the League of Municipalities.

UneasyRider 5 years, 2 months ago

Sounds like you're quoting the usual Chamber BS public relations pack of lies. Simple fact, if the Chamber is for it, the taxpayer is getting screwed.

headdoctor 5 years, 2 months ago

Forget the doggie bag. Just hand me a barf bag.

juma 5 years, 2 months ago

Need to visit the Wellness Center at the hospital in Hays. For a bunch of country hicks they built a first rate center through private donations. By the way, Ellis County placed 5th in the recent health survey; Douglas was 9th. Just saying that Lawrence could do much better if the powers to be were less selfish and more practical. Giving money to the Chamber is a complete waste.

Wayne James 5 years, 2 months ago

If LMH is a "City Owned" facility, that means your local tax dollars go to support it. How about coughing much much more to pay the healthcare providrs a decent wage? Better to do that than to give these $$ to the Chamber of Commerce. I vote better Healthcare. MRI machnes aren't cheap, ya know, neither are the xray machies, let alone the money needed to maintain these machines or the physicla building(s). My Mother (God rest her soul) was nurse aat LMH back in the 60's so I know a little about healthcare.This poor woman drove to Topeka 5 days a week (before the KTA) to get an education when she was about 55 yrso. She became one of the most respected Licensed Practical Nurses at that hospital and was allowed to give injections at a time when LPN's sere nothing more thatn glorified AIDES. More power to all Medical Personnel.

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