News from Around the State

Monday, February 19, 2018

Matt All picked as next president/CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas

Matt All will bring more than two decades of health insurance and leadership experience to his new position as President/CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas (BCBSKS) when he is promoted on April 1. The company’s board of directors announced in December that All will replace Andrew C. Corbin, who plans to retire March 31, after more than 41 years in the Blue Cross Blue Shield system, including 31 with BCBSKS and the past 10 as President/CEO.

All currently serves as Executive Vice President and general counsel. He will become the eighth President/CEO in the company’s 75-year history. The 46-year-old All joined BCBSKS in 2006.

“The board is appreciative of Andy’s dedicated tenure with Blue Cross and his commitment to our members,” says Diane L. Lee, CPA, CSEP, a Hutchinson-area certified public accountant who is Chair of the Board. “We are confident Matt is the right person to guide this company through the constantly changing landscape of health care.”

Corbin says he is comfortable turning leadership of the company over to All, who has previously served as the company’s senior vice president of legal services and general counsel.

“I have tremendous confidence in Matt,” Corbin says. “He has overseen many of the day-to-day operations of this company during the past 11 years and also brings legal and regulatory experience from his time in state government, as well as a deep understanding of the health insurance market in Kansas.”

All appreciates the opportunities Corbin gave him to learn every corner of the company.

“Over the past 11 years, I’ve had the opportunity to learn from Andy each day,” All says. “Kansans as a whole are fortunate that Blue Cross has a 75-year history of outstanding leadership. We remain financially strong and possess a deep sense of corporate responsibility to our members and our communities.”

When All joined BCBSKS in 2006, he already had a thorough understanding of health insurance, having served as assistant insurance commissioner and chief counsel to the governor. Prior to his work in state government, he spent several years in private practice.

At BCBSKS, All was promoted to Executive Vice President in March 2017, having served four years as senior vice president. He joined the company in December 2006 as vice president of legal services and general counsel. He was appointed corporate secretary by the BCBSKS Board of Directors in December 2007. All previously had oversight of human resources, legislative affairs, facilities and corporate communications. He currently oversees operations, information technology and services, and workforce and leadership development.


Via Christi, Mercy open new clinic building

A primary care clinic that brings additional providers to the underserved Pittsburg area opened a new building late last year at a ribbon cutting and blessing for Via Christi Mercy Clinic, a joint venture partnership between two Catholic healthcare systems.

Via Christi Mercy Clinic, located at 1300 E. Centennial Drive, is a 13,600-square-foot building on 2.75 acres of the Via Christi Hospital campus in Pittsburg. It can accommodate six to 10 providers with 30 exam rooms, physicians’ offices, X-ray services, a lab and a dedicated nurses’ work area.

“We are excited to partner with Mercy on the opening of this new clinic,” says Randy Cason, Via Christi Hospital President. “This is just one more way we will continue to meet the Pittsburg community’s healthcare needs. We want to make sure we can take care of our community and ensure they don’t have to leave the city to find compassionate, quality health care. By offering primary care and convenient care services right here on our Pittsburg campus, we can offer holistic care right here in our hometown.”

The new building replaces a temporary clinic on South Rouse Street that housed the joint venture for the past year.

“With this joint venture clinic, we are thrilled to have two physicians and five nurse practitioners who offer the highest quality of care,” says Tracy Godfrey, MD, President of Mercy Clinic Southwest Missouri/Kansas. “Patients also have access to all of the nationally recognized services and technology available at Mercy and Via Christi.”


Wesley Medical Center earns Top Hospital award for 2017

Highlighting its nationally recognized achievements in patient safety and quality, Wesley Medical Center was named a Top Teaching Hospital by The Leapfrog Group, an independent hospital watchdog organization. Wesley was one of only 109 hospitals to receive a top hospital designation and the only hospital in Kansas to make the list.

“This designation recognizes the hospital’s efforts to deliver world-class patient care, education and research,” says Bill Voloch, Wesley Healthcare President and CEO. “The recognition is just another testament to the high quality of Wesley’s educational programs and our efforts to integrate our medical students and resident physicians into our safety and quality programs.”

Wesley offers the opportunity to train the nation’s next generation of physicians while advancing medicine through cutting-edge research projects by collaborating with several regional medical schools.

Top Hospitals selection is based on 2017 Leapfrog Hospital Survey results from nearly 1,900 hospitals. Performance across many areas of hospital care is considered in establishing the award qualifications, including infection rates, maternity care and a hospital’s ability to prevent medication errors. The Leapfrog Top Hospital award is widely acknowledged as one of the most competitive honors American hospitals can receive.

“We are proud to recognize Wesley as a 2017 Leapfrog Top Hospital,” says Leah Binder, President and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “This demonstrates extraordinary dedication to patients and the local community. The entire staff and board deserve praise for putting quality first and achieving results.”

Wesley was also recently recognized for its dedication to patient safety by being awarded an “A” grade — the highest available — in The Leapfrog Group’s Fall Hospital Safety Score listing.


E-Visits through MyChart now available at Stormont Vail Health

Collaborative care close to home is even more convenient for Stormont Vail Health and Cotton O’Neil patients with the introduction of e-visits and online scheduling through MyChart.

MyChart is a tool patients may use to review their medical histories, request prescription refills and connect with their physicians. Now, patients are able to schedule appointments online, including office visits, screening mammography, annual physicals, same-day appointments and well-child checkups, as well as conduct e-visits with a healthcare provider.

E-visits were offered to Stormont Vail employees as a pilot program throughout the past year, and Shelby Flower, PCT, says they are a time-saver.

“With two infants at home, I have to prioritize my trips out,” says Flower. “I was able to get the care I needed without having to leave the comfort of my own home.”

E-visits are a convenient option for patients who are having symptoms that do not necessarily indicate a need to visit a Cotton O’Neil Express Care location or the emergency department. E-visits may address some of the following symptoms: diarrhea, rashes, sore throats, upper respiratory issues and urinary problems.

Patients may schedule e-visits by accessing MyChart at mychart.stormontvail.org and typically receive a response within one hour. There is an out-of-pocket cost of $45 for the visit, which is often less than the cost of a visit to Express Care. E-visits are not recommended for potentially life-threatening conditions.


Via Christi-offered program named nation’s best fast weight-loss diet

HMR Weight Management Services, offered locally by Via Christi Health, has been named by U.S. News & World Report as the nation’s Best Fast Weight-Loss Diet for 2018 — marking the third consecutive year its simple diet and high-intensity lifestyle intervention program has earned this honor.

“Successful weight loss is more than just losing pounds quickly,” says Monica Kretchmar, Clinic Manager for Via Christi’s Weight Management programs. “It’s about creating changes around eating and physical activity that can be sustained over the long term. Because the HMR plan keeps it simple, people can lose weight quickly while building the skills they need for long-term weight management.”

The nutritionally complete plan simplifies food decisions by using only HMR foods (shakes, entrées, cereal and nutrition bars) and unlimited fruits and vegetables. It follows a 3-2-5 structure designed to keep participants feeling full throughout the day. The plan includes at least three shakes, two entrées and five servings of fruits and vegetables. Participants are encouraged to eat as many of these foods as they like to avoid hunger.

While losing weight, participants practice developing skills in eating more fruits and vegetables; increasing their physical activity; and making healthier food choices.

These are the lifestyle skills that will help keep the weight off, as well as help reduce the risk factors for the development of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, some types of cancer and other chronic diseases.

For more information about Via Christi Weight Management, go to viachristi.org/weightloss or call 316-689-5232.


Wesley Woodlawn Hospital & ER names Jason Desai new Vice President of Operations

Wesley Woodlawn Hospital & ER named Jason Desai to serve as its new Vice President of Operations.

“We are excited to add Jason to the Wesley family,” says Tripp Owings, Wesley Woodlawn’s CEO. “He brings a strong process-improvement focus, as well as experience in project management and strategic planning, to this position.”

Desai comes to Wesley after serving as the administrative fellow at HCA’s Continental Division office in Denver. As administrative fellow, he managed the division’s hospital growth initiatives and led performance improvement projects by reviewing and negotiating contracts. Previously in his career, Desai held the position of administrative resident at North Suburban Medical Center in Thornton, Colorado, and various progressing management roles at Swedish Medical Center in Englewood, Colorado. He cofounded the nonprofit organization SELF, which collaborates with leaders in Honduras to assist under-developed communities.

Desai received his bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in healthcare leadership from the University of Denver.

“I’m excited to join the Wesley team and look forward to placing roots in the Wichita community,” Desai says.


Kansas moves up two spots to 25th in annual health rankings report

America’s health is challenged by an increase in premature death and uneven concentration of healthcare providers, according to key findings in United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings Annual Report.

The report, now in its 28th year, provides a holistic view of the health of the nation and of each state by analyzing 35 measures of behaviors, community and environment, policy, clinical care, and outcomes data.

Locally, Kansas moved up two spots to an overall rank of 25th in the nation, with researchers citing low prevalence of frequent physical distress (earning a sixth-place ranking), low prevalence of low birth weights (10th) and low drug death (10th) rates as strengths.

Meanwhile, the lower number of dentists (50.5 per 100,000 population, earning a 37th place ranking), high incidence of pertussis (43rd) and low per capita public health funding (42nd) pose ongoing challenges.

The state also was ranked 31st for senior health and 25th for the health of women and children.

Nationwide, the report found increases in the rates for three key mortality indicators.

  • The premature death rate increased for the third year in a row. The rate increased by 3 percent from 2015. Premature death is defined as the years of potential life lost before age 75.
  • In the past year, the rate of drug deaths continued an upward trend, increasing by 7 percent, to its highest level ever, as measured by the America’s Health Rankings Annual Report.
  • Cardiovascular deaths increased for the second consecutive year, with the rate among African-Americans being significantly higher than the rate among whites, Hispanic- and Asian-Americans, and Native Americans.

Additionally, the report’s statistics suggest that a wide variation in healthcare providers across the country may contribute to differences in overall health.

  • The state with the highest concentration of mental healthcare providers, Massachusetts, has six times the number of mental healthcare providers than the state with the lowest amount, Alabama.
  • Massachusetts has 547 care providers per 100,000 people, which is much higher than the rate in Alabama, which has 85 care providers per 100,000 people.
  • There is also a significant variation in primary care physicians, with a nearly 2-to-1 ratio between the states with the highest and lowest concentrations.
  • Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York and Connecticut have more than 200 primary care physicians per 100,000 people, compared to fewer than 100 physicians per 100,000 people in Utah and Idaho.
  • Similarly, the concentration of dentists varies by almost 2-to-1 across states.
  • Massachusetts and New Jersey have more than 80 dentists per 100,000 people. Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and Delaware have fewer than 45 dentists per 100,000 people.

Via Christi’s neurosurgery and spine program among nation’s best

Via Christi Hospital St. Francis was recently named to Becker’s Healthcare 2017 list “100 hospitals and health systems with great neurosurgery and spine programs.”

To make Becker’s list, it says, providers “must have extensive neuroscience and spine programs, providing treatment and cutting-edge research into neurosurgical disorders.”

To develop its list, Becker’s Healthcare’s editorial team examined national rankings and awards for neurosurgery, neurological care and spine surgery.

“This recognition is the result of professionals in all disciplines coming together to collaboratively care for and provide the best outcomes for patients both in our immediate community and around the state who are in need of spinal and other types of neurological care,” says Kevin Strecker, the senior leader responsible for Via Christi’s Neuroscience service line. “I am pleased to see the talented providers who provide care to patients at Via Christi acknowledged for being among the best of the best.”


KMGMA Spring Conference slated

The 2018 Kansas Medical Group Management Association (KMGMA) Spring Conference will be held April 18 to 20 at the Wichita Marriott. Topics of interest include physician engagement, provider compensation risks and considerations, growth through telehealth, healthcare hot topics, and the exceptional leaders playbook “Coach Them Up or Coach Them Out — Developing Your Personal Brand.”

On April 18, the Kansas Association of Rural Health Clinics (a committee of KMGMA) will offer a one-day workshop focusing on areas pertaining to rural health clinics billing, cost reporting and Medicaid/KanCare — coverage for care management services in rural health clinics.

You do not have to be a member of KMGMA in order to attend the conference or workshop. For registration information, visit kmgma.org beginning Feb. 1 or contact Claire Daniels at cdaniels1@cox.net.