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Arkansas Children’s Hospital Planning for Future

2 min read

Dr. Robert Steele is working on the future of health care at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock.

Steele, ACH’s senior vice president and chief strategy officer, is orchestrating a group of 120 of the hospital’s leaders in a massive strategic planning session that kicked off last month.

Steele said the results of the session will help guide the hospital over the next five years. “Everything is on the table” in terms of what changes might be made, he said.

One of the questions the strategic planners hope to answer is how to deliver the best care at a lower cost. “Because that is where health care is appropriately going,” Steele said. “We have to consider both of those things.”

He said the leaders have been broken up into five groups and are expected to report their wish lists on Dec. 19. From that date to the end of January, those ideas will be ranked as to what tasks could be done now and what might take a few years to accomplish.

He said he’s trying to get some ideas in place before the hospital starts its budget process in February.

“Any big plans that management suggests … has to go through our board,” Steele said. “We don’t want to waste another year in planning.”

Steele said it’s too early to say what the top leaders are leaning toward for changes, but possibly expanding ACH’s telemedicine services is on the list. Telemedicine allows providers in Little Rock to treat patients across the state without the children having to come to Little Rock, he said.

The leadership group has already had a hand in changing the hospital’s mission statement to: “We champion children by making them better today and healthier tomorrow,” Steele said. The statement is easier to remember than the previous proclamation: “To improve children’s health by providing integrated PREP: Patient Care; Research; Education; Prevention.”

Steele said the strategic planning is new to ACH.

“Any organization that’s as large as Arkansas Children’s needs to focus at some regular interval on what their vision is going forward,” Steele said.

He said the time was right now because President and CEO Marcy Doderer joined the hospital in July 2013.

For the fiscal year that ended June 30, ACH had net patient revenue of $474 million, up 3.7 percent from the previous year. And its net income climbed 32 percent to $47 million for the fiscal year that ended June 30.

“I do believe there will be eye-popping things that will come out of this strategic planning process,” Steele said.

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