Charitable care remains key focus of LMH Health
photo by: Chris Conde
As the year comes to a close, LMH Health has recorded more than $13.5 million in uncompensated and charitable care. As a community-owned, not-for-profit healthcare system, charitable care is not only an imperative–it guides decision-making at the highest levels of the organization.
The original 50-bed hospital building was constructed nearly 100 years ago with funds provided by philanthropist Elizabeth Watkins. Watkins’ gift stipulated that the new facility would provide exceptional care to all and that no person would be excluded on account of race, physical, social or financial condition. As healthcare has evolved, this commitment has remained.
“This is an audacious and transformative time for healthcare, not just in Douglas County, but nationwide,” said Russ Johnson, LMH Health president and CEO. “Medical treatment advances and technological innovations grow at exponential levels, and at the same time, healthcare costs skyrocket and create hardship not only for hospitals, but more importantly, for patients.”
This evolution has had a significant impact locally, informing the hospital’s most recent strategic plan, Destination Health. Johnson said that a constant commitment to improvement guides leadership in building best-in-class facilities and services, an effort to ensure the hospital is positioned to deliver on its commitment to providing care for all, regardless of ability to pay.
“While much has changed, our work remains rooted in the extraordinarily thoughtful example of Elizabeth Watkins–this is our true north,” said Johnson. “Our focus on care for every individual has us prioritizing our work in health equity, education and safety.”
This focus has led the hospital to build new partnerships with community partners like Just Food, Family Promise, and Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center, which Johnson said help to address social determinants of health.
“There is no direct financial benefit to this work, but it is clearly the right thing to do,” said Johnson. “Every day, we balance the health needs of our community, the responsibility to provide an ever-increasing amount of charitable care, and a commitment to ensuring that our healthcare is exceptional, not just for a community hospital, but among the best in the United States.”
Rebecca Smith, executive director of the LMH Health Foundation, said that as the healthcare industry continues to shift, philanthropic support plays an even more important role in providing quality community healthcare. “Donor support ensures that LMH Health is resilient not just today, but well into the future,” said Smith. “This is a truly exceptional hospital, with truly exceptional physicians and providers. Philanthropy isn’t just vital to our mission, it’s the heart and soul of LMH Health. It makes all the difference for patients in need.”
— Courtney Bernard is a development coordinator for LMH Health Foundation. LMH Health is a major sponsor of Lawrence Journal-World’s health section.