Community First makes progress in year
by BRIAN NADIG
The owner of Community First Medical Center, 5645 W. Addison St., reports that the former Our Lady of the Resurrection Medical Center went from an operating deficit of almost $20 million in 2014 when Presence Health owned it to a break-even point at the end of 2015.
Officials of Community First, a privately owned hospital, have been able to reduce overhead and use that savings in areas that create a better experience for the patient, Ed Green, a principal in the hospital’s ownership, said. "We’ve basically doubled the number of nurses," Green said. "Patient satisfaction has skyrocketed."
Green said that while the typical room at the hospital has two beds, Community First has begun to assign one patient per room when possible and that he hopes to eventually renovate all of the rooms into single rooms, as many suburban hospitals offer.
Green said that a key factor in the turnaround has been implementing recommendations made by the hospital’s staff, leading to better scheduling of patients and a more efficient use of existing resources.
Green and another investor took over the hospital on Jan. 1, 2015, after reports surfaced a year earlier that Presence was considering closing the facility, which opened in the 1950s as Northwest Hospital and which was renamed John F. Kennedy Medical Center in 1986.
The hospital operates under the state’s relatively new Benefit Corporation Act, which applies to private companies that provide a general public benefit, such as medical care.
Green said that Community First is the first hospital that he has owned but that his law career has focused on helping distressed medical facilities throughout the country.
Green’s investment team paid $30 million for the Our Lady of the Resurrection, but under the agreement with Presence, two-thirds of that amount must be invested in the facility.
Green said that Presence could have made more money from the sale of the hospital but that Presence officials deserve a lot of credit for choosing a "community-focused bid" that called for most of the money to be invested in the facility. He said that the hospital’s emergency room has 43,000 visits a year.
"I think everyone likes having a hospital in their community," Green said. "Even if you don’t use it, you like the idea that there is one."
Green said that the hospital has hired 30 new doctors and that it is working with other medical facilities to help provide more services, including in the area of cancer treatment.
Green said that Community First will conduct more outreach in 2016 in effort to promote the hospital and to get opinions on what improvements are needed.