LRH Holds 117th Annual Meeting

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On Tuesday, February 13, 2024, Littleton Regional Healthcare held its 117th Annual Meeting to reflect on its 2023 Fiscal Year and highlight areas of focus in the year ahead. The purpose of the meeting, consisting of a presentation featuring speakers from LRH’s Board of Trustees and Executive Management Team, was to highlight what LRH had done in its 2023 Fiscal Year (October 1, 2022 – September 30, 2023) to fulfill its mission of providing quality, accessible healthcare.

A common theme amongst the presenters emphasized how LRH has remained committed to providing high-quality healthcare while taking sustainable and purposeful steps to increase access to the specialized medical care this region depends on. LRH President and Chief Executive Officer, Robert Nutter, opened the evening by welcoming those in attendance and thanking everyone that contributes to the success of LRH.

Then, Ashley Garrison, Vice Chair of LRH’s Board of Trustees, reported on behalf of the Board, reminding the community about the Strategic Planning Process LRH began in early 2023 and sharing the current status of that process. Garrison stated that the process was “a Board-driven exploration to evaluate affiliation options while maintaining LRH’s local identity” and reinforced that goals were to “allow LRH to grow to meet future community needs and thrive in an ever-changing healthcare landscape.” Garrison also shared that, at this time, there were no further updates to share on the process. Still, LRH is continuing its comprehensive analysis and remains committed to transparently providing updates to the community, just as it has over the past year.

Next, President of the LRH Medical Staff, Dr. Jennifer Lucas, explained the purpose of the Medical Staff at LRH as the entity designated to oversee the quality of medical care provided at LRH and credentialing of providers. She highlighted newly employed providers in 2023, in areas such as Family Medicine and Behavioral Health, as well as Women’s Health and Substance Use, “who share our dedication to delivering only the highest quality care”, noted Lucas. Beyond the employed providers, LRH welcomed a total of 60 new additions to its Medical Staff in 2023.

A review of LRH’s financial health was provided by Fred Chisolm, the Treasurer of LRH’s Board of Trustees. Chisolm stressed that LRH is financially strong and continues to experience increased patient volumes in all care areas.  He noted that LRH intentionally controlled volumes during the 2023 fiscal year to allow LRH staff time to learn the new Electronic Health Record system while continuing to meet the healthcare needs of this region effectively and efficiently. Visuals shown during this part of the presentation reflected the reduction in volumes in 2023 but were all trending upward for 2024. Chisolm also highlighted the continued workforce growth and noted the use of contracted agency staff was still an area of focus, but the reliance on this support was necessary to maintain access to heavily relied-on services and programs. In closing, Chisolm shared that reinvesting in the hospital is highly important for the Board every year, and in 2023, the Board approved a total of $4.7 million in capital investments.

LRH’s Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Edward Duffy, spoke at length about one of the major enhancements in the 2023 fiscal year, LRH’s investment in an upgraded Electronic Health Records system. An EHR is the foundation of care in any healthcare setting. Duffy explained how this single, integrated platform supports clinical efficiency, improved communication between patients and their care team, and increased collaboration with outside healthcare partners, among other benefits. Plus, with the new system comes a robust patient portal for LRH patients, which nearly 6,000 patients have utilized this past year. He noted that areas of continued focus related to the system are decreasing Information Technology costs and revenue cycle optimization, including more efficient and accurate billing, which LRH acknowledges as requiring immediate attention. In addition to speaking about the EHR conversion LRH completed, Dr. Duffy shared what LRH had done in the most recent year to support quality and access, including continuing to provide many essential services cut from most rural hospitals in recent years.

Koren Superchi, Chief Nursing Officer and Chief Nursing Officer at LRH, took the podium to address the standards of care at LRH. “Quality is embedded in everything we do at LRH and is the foundation of our approach to patient care,” Superchi noted. She also shared that LRH partnered with other regional healthcare organizations to conduct a Community Health Needs Assessment in its 2023 fiscal year. Completed every three years, this analysis provides important feedback about the region’s healthcare needs and serves as a guide when LRH is determining areas of service expansion. Superchi recalled what areas LRH had expanded or enhanced in 2023, which included Neurology and a Collaborative Psychiatry Program, among others. Superchi reminded the audience about ongoing collaborative efforts with quality partners. She also elaborated on the investments that were mentioned early in the evening, sharing specific initiatives that were direct investments in the community’s hospital. Upgrades in Diagnostic Imaging, modernization of infrastructure and the facility, a cutting-edge Sinus Navigation System used in the operating room, and the Laboratory automation project were among the top investments. Superchi concluded her portion of the presentation by highlighting how LRH remains committed to “its greatest asset – its people,” which included recently launched recognition awards, maintaining LRH’s position as the market leader in compensation and benefits, and hosting regular employee celebration events.

Nutter returned to the podium to explain that LRH continues on a path of integration, modernization, and collaboration, with every investment LRH makes being a direct investment in the patients it serves. “At Littleton Regional Healthcare, we take great pride in offering the region an unmatched complement of top-quality primary and specialty care doctors and providers, along with their dedicated care teams, all to meet your current and future healthcare needs,” stated Nutter. “We believe that geographical location should never limit the excellence of care you receive.  Our commitment to your well-being extends beyond our boundaries, which ensures you have access to a comprehensive and skilled healthcare team right here in your backyard,” he added. Nutter continued, noting that he recognizes how LRH serves as the regional access point for healthcare and bridges the gap to a higher level of care when patients need it most.

In closing, Nutter thanked the community, the LRH Board of Trustees, his Executive Team, the volunteers of LRH, the LRH Auxiliary, and the entire LRH workforce for each group’s contributions to LRH, noting everything that had been discussed that evening would not be possible without these stakeholders. A final thank you was extended to Dr. John Sauter, who retired from LRH at the end of December 2023. Garrison and Nutter jointly presented Sauter with a letter of appreciation from Governor Chris Sununu, which symbolized the extent of Dr. Sauter’s contributions to healthcare in the region.

Before adjourning, Nutter touched on the exploration process previously mentioned by Garrison. “We are in an exciting time in healthcare. Healthcare providers can no longer operate in silos, and industry leaders must be increasingly willing to identify their strengths and embrace meaningful collaboration,” he stated. “I am so proud of how far we have come in the last 117 years. Some of the work we are doing right now positions us to continue on that trajectory for the next 117 years.  Our Board looks forward to sharing updates with you in the next few months, and we remain committed to keeping you informed in a very transparent manner,” he added.

A recording of Littleton Regional Healthcare’s 117th Annual Meeting is available here.

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