September 25, 2023

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What is Best for Lawrence?

How much longer are Lawrence Memorial Hospital officers, board members and some doctors going to place personal interests, egos, likes and dislikes above what may be in the best interests of those they serve?

News that another major hospital may soon be making a formal announcement of plans to start a new hospital in Lawrence is sure to trigger new and probably heated discussions focusing on whether LMH must remain a private stand-alone facility or, join forces with a larger regional hospital.

Some years ago there was serious discussion among LMH doctors, hospital officials and board members on whether to develop ties with Kansas University Hospital in Kansas City or St. Luke’s Hospital, also in Kansas City. Several votes were taken but no decisions were reached and the matter continues to be debated, usually behind closed doors.

It is understood LMH directors are adamant the hospital should remain totally independent. They don’t want to take directions from another hospital. They prize their independence. One may ask, however, do these individuals take this stance to primarily remain in charge, boost their egos and importance, and do they think they can deliver better health care for their patients in a stand-alone, smaller hospital?

The KU Medical Center operation in Kansas City offers one of the finest teaching hospitals in the country. It is, by far, the best hospital in the greater KC area and among top overall hospitals in the country.

LMH is a far better hospital today than in past years. Recent administrators have done a good job in upgrading the professionalism, board certification of doctors and a staff where the best interests of patients come first.

However, it makes sense that a teaching hospital such as KU, with its large highly trained staff, numbers of specialties, and auxiliary services could be a tremendous asset for LMH patients.
Likewise, it would bring many fiscal benefits in the operation of LMH.

Sure, it is understandable many identified with LMH would like the hospital to remain a totally private, stand-alone hospital but times change. What business hasn’t changed?

It would be interesting to know how many LMH board members are tied to businesses or industries that have not changed over the years. Like it or not, change is the name of the game and those who refuse to take advantage of new knowledge, changes, new techniques, new equipment AND, new expectations of “customers” or patients, are sure to be left behind.
Again, LMH enjoys a proud past and there have been major improvements in recent years.

However, with the likelihood of another hospital coming to Lawrence, it would seem wise and forward-looking for LMH directors and doctors to realize there are far more advantages of a merger with nearby KU Hospital in Kansas City than to gamble on the consequences of a stubborn, rigid demand by directors that the hospital remain a stand-alone operation.

Some may suggest some kind of a minimal relationship, a clinical connection, but a combined or merged operation would give Lawrence area patients the best possible health care.