Build­ing con­sen­sus

Moss­man ral­lied Iowa com­mu­nity to ren­o­vate, ex­pand crit­i­cal-ac­cess hos­pi­tal

Modern Healthcare - - Special Feature -

As the econ­omy spi­raled down­ward in 2007, the board of direc­tors at Vir­ginia Gay Hos­pi­tal de­bated whether to go ahead with a mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar fundrais­ing cam­paign to ren­o­vate the 25-bed crit­i­cal-ac­cess fa­cil­ity.

It wasn’t an easy de­ci­sion. Board Chair­man Mark Moss­man re­lied on his skills as a ne­go­tia­tor and con­sen­sus builder, which he had honed as a lo­cal at­tor­ney, to bring the nine­mem­ber board to a de­ci­sion.

“I think there was a le­git­i­mate ques­tion about whether in a down econ­omy when peo­ple were los­ing jobs and los­ing money in their re­tire­ment ac­counts and be­ing much more con­ser­va­tive in their giv­ing and their spend­ing—whether that was a good time to raise money and try to ex­pand the hos­pi­tal,” Moss­man, 60, re­calls. “We had some le­git­i­mate dif­fer­ences of opin­ion.”

“We are not a wealthy area by any means. We are an agri­cul­tural com­mu­nity and are not sup­ported by a lot of in­dus­try or a large com­mer­cial base,” Moss­man says, re­fer­ring to Vin­ton, Iowa, pop­u­la­tion of about 5,100 and a to­tal ser­vice area of about 25,000.

In the end, the board launched the cam­paign as orig­i­nally con­ceived, rais­ing nearly $2.2 mil­lion to­ward the $8.4 mil­lion ren­o­va­tion, which was com­pleted in Septem­ber. To cover the re­main­ing costs, the hos­pi­tal used sav­ings and op­er­at­ing sur­pluses as well as par- tial re­im­burse­ment from the fed­eral pro­gram for crit­i­cal-ac­cess hos­pi­tals. The pro­ject added 20,000 square feet to the hos­pi­tal and in­cluded a new in­pa­tient wing and ex­panded and up­graded ar­eas for ther­apy ser­vices, the emer­gency depart­ment and imag­ing.

“We felt like we got a brand-new hos­pi­tal,” says Michael Riege, Vir­ginia Gay’s ad­min­is­tra­tor.

For his ac­com­plish­ments, Moss­man has been se­lected as the 2011 Trustee of the Year for a small hos­pi­tal—those with fewer than 100 beds.

The fact that res­i­dents of Vin­ton and sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties sup­ported the large pro­ject, de­spite the econ­omy, il­lus­trates how far the hos­pi­tal has come since Moss­man joined the board in 1994.

In 1992, be­fore Moss­man’s ten­ure, Vir­ginia Gay opted out of a man­age­ment con­tract with St. Luke’s Hos­pi­tal in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, choos­ing to hire its own ad­min­is­tra­tor, Riege.

The next big change came in 1996, while Moss­man was vice chair­man. The hos­pi­tal’s board de­cided to take over man­age­ment of its pri­mary-care clinic, which had been leased to a for-profit sub­sidiary of St. Luke’s, Riege says.

As part of the plan, three physi­cians and two physi­cian as­sis­tants be­came em­ploy­ees of Vir­ginia Gay. Af­ter re­gain­ing con­trol of the hos­pi­tal and clinic, the board pur­sued a course of mod­ern­iza­tion and ex­pan­sion.

Vir­ginia Gay bought two more physi­cians prac­tices in 1999, and in 2002 built a clinic in nearby Ur­bana, bring­ing the to­tal num­ber of em­ployed providers to five physi­cians and six physi­cian as­sis­tants.

In ad­di­tion, the hos­pi­tal added two sur­gi­cal


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