Heartland Health, which includes the lone hospital in St. Joseph, opened two new out-patient clinics in the Northland this week. One is a primary care clinic in Parkville, and the other is a multi-specialty clinic in Burlington Creek.
Dr. Mark Laney, CEO of Heartland Health, says executives first considered establishing the clinics after Parkville officials approached them about opening a primary care facility. Laney says expanding into the Kansas City area also made good business sense. The population around St. Joseph has been flat for decades, and residents are older, compared to Kansas City.
“We looked at the future of health care reform,” says Laney. “Knowing we face 10 years of progressively decreasing Medicare reimbursements in a flat population, that is not a good sign for longevity or for robust health. And so what was in our best interest was to have services in a place where there was more population growth, where the community is a bit younger. That gives us the chance to grow with those communities and secure our future.”
Laney says the new clinics will serve as pilots for Heartland Health’s already existing out-patient practices by focusing on new “patient-centered” approaches to care. As an example, clinics will have life coaches and health navigators.
The hospital plans to open additional clinics around north Kansas City in the next few months.
But when asked about whether Heartland Health has any interest in or taken part in discussions surrounding the possible sale of North Kansas City Hospital, Laney says no.
“Our focus as we looked at the Northland has been all along wanting to focus more on out-patient practices and not one of going out and acquiring a hospital,” says Laney. “We really believe that the future of medicine is going to be less and less hospital centric, and hopefully as technology progresses, more home-focused.”
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