LMH Health looks back on West Campus’ first year
Roughly one year ago, LMH Health opened the doors of its West Campus for the first time. This state-of-the-art facility has already served many patients from the Lawrence community and beyond, and leaders at LMH think it’s poised for even more growth in the future.
The mission for the campus
When the plans for the West Campus originated, the goal was to have a facility that enhanced LMH Health’s ability to care for the needs of the community — a space with the latest technology to best serve patients.
Russ Johnson, LMH Health president and CEO, said that although the past year has brought challenges, the mission behind the West Campus has remained the same.
“We began planning the West Campus about three and a half years ago with a standpoint of being patient-first in an environment that is easy and accessible to our patients,” he said. “We were looking ahead to what the future of health care should look like with programs and services that are convenient and offered in an outstanding clinical environment.
Johnson said he’s pleased with what the West Campus has accomplished so far.
“The way our teams have grown this past year and have used the landscape to provide for patients in an efficient way has been amazing to see,” he said. “Our hope was to bring more services under one roof to give our patients time in their day back and efficiency when receiving care. To see this come to fruition has been incredible and very rewarding.”
The West Campus currently serves around 1,000 patients a day, Johnson said, and he expects that the number will grow in the coming years.
“Already in the first year of this new facility, we are seeing incredible collaboration and outstanding results from our clinicians,” Johnson said. “A broad range of programs and services have developed, and we’re taking advantage of the outpatient setting and moving further in the future of medicine.”
Among the services that the West Campus provides are outpatient robotic joint replacements and a suite of women’s health services in one location at the Women’s Center. Johnson said that convenient health services like these are key to serving the community, especially as the health care industry adapts to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We know health care needs to be more convenient and accessible for all,” Johnson said. “We are committed to the work of health equity and inclusion for our community as we move into the future. I am grateful for being a part of LMH Health and our community over the last five years and look forward with confidence and optimism.”
Having a new, larger facility has allowed providers to make room for additional services and technology. And leaders say the services at the new facility have also helped LMH on its financial goals.
“I am so happy to announce that we are meeting and exceeding our budget predictions so far since the West Campus has been open,” said Deb Cartwright, vice president and chief financial officer for LMH Health. “Despite opening a new facility during COVID-19, we have been able to provide our patients with the best care while staying in a fantastic financial state. We absolutely could not have done that without the support of our donors, patients and community members who have trusted us with their care and to keep them safe during this scary time.”
The LMH Health West Campus would not have been as successful without support from the community — and the donors whose gifts helped fund the building and its technology.
“The LMH Health West Campus ensures we can deliver an ever-increasing quality of medical care for our patients,” said Rebecca Smith, vice president of strategic communication for LMH Health and executive director of the LMH Health Foundation. “The West Campus is also a vital part of our efforts to strengthen the hospital in ways that help sustain our mission.”
Private donors provided more than $5 million for the LMH Health West Campus. Smith said donors understood that the facility would be an important resource for the community and were eager to help.
“There’s a caring, proactive approach to health care at LMH, rooted in excellence and aimed at continuous improvement,” she said. “Our donors’ gifts toward construction of the West Campus signal understanding and support for that approach and ensures LMH Health can fulfill its newly envisioned purpose as a partner for lifelong health.”
Just before the new Women’s Center opened on the West Campus, Dr. Scarlett Aldrich, a plastic surgeon with Plastic Surgery Specialists of Lawrence, said she was excited for a new, bigger space to care for her patients. And today, she’s just as happy with the West Campus as she was when she moved in.
“Our space at the West Campus is wonderful,” she said. “It is a beautiful campus that is becoming highly efficient as we settle into the new rhythm.
“We have already begun to reap the rewards of the Women’s Center as a multidisciplinary clinic,” she added. “There have been several instances where a patient who needed imaging or evaluation from another provider was able to just walk to the next hallway and get it taken care of right away.”
Aldrich said she was glad to see that LMH’s goal of bringing more kinds of care under one roof was coming true.
“The West Campus and the structure it provides is so convenient for our patients and gives them a peace of mind to get tests and results faster,” she said. “We have also been able to coordinate appointment times so that patients can minimize their time away from their daily routine. I love the convenience and efficiency we can provide. Our goal is always to provide the best care possible, and I feel like we have made a giant leap forward.”
One of the most notable clinics that moved to the West Campus last year was OrthoKansas. The clinic now has 16,000 square feet of space and a variety of high-tech tools that can perform many procedures more efficiently and shorten some patients’ recovery times. Dr. Douglass Stull, an orthopedic surgeon with OrthoKansas, said that the new space lets the clinic manage all of a patient’s musculoskeletal needs under one roof — clinical evaluation, advanced imaging, physical therapy and surgery.
“The sheer increase in size in both our office and clinic space and the dramatic increase in our therapy space has made it possible to accommodate more patients and their musculoskeletal needs,” he said. “The clinic design has also allowed for operational efficiencies when managing a high volume of patients.”
Stull said the clinic has grown quite a bit since the West Campus’ opening.
“We have seen significant growth in the past year — in fact, we had the most number of clinical visits we have ever had during June 2021,” he said. “We have yet to open two clinical pods and hope to do so soon, as we plan to add providers in the near future to care for our growing community.”
One of Stull’s favorite parts about being at the West Campus has been seeing the reactions of his patients and their families. He said it’s been rewarding to see people’s positive responses to the building.
“Our patients are getting the facility and the care they deserve. It’s a beautiful building, but it’s the people who work in the building that make it so special,” Stull said. “Not only does it inspire our patients, but it inspires our staff and physicians by being a space that we love to work in. It is an art gallery, which showcases local artists; it can host community events with its upstairs outdoor patio space; and it has a space that is available for the expanding health care needs of our community and region in the future. It is part of the community bus route, and the walking trail has one of the best views of the Kansas sunset in town.
“We have been and will continue to be able to care better for our patients, while providing a space that is the future of health care,” he said.
— Jessica Brewer is the social media and digital communications specialist for LMH Health, which is a major sponsor of the Journal-World’s Health section.