Davis County Hospital & Monroe County Hospital and Clinics Announce Shared Executive Leadership

Davis County Hospital and Monroe County Hospital and Clinics announce shared executive leadership
Veteran health care administrator, Veronica Fuhs, named chief executive officer to lead both organizations through a shared CEO service agreement


The Board of Trustees of the Davis County Hospital (DCH), along with the Monroe County Hospital and Clinics (MCHC) Board of Trustees today announced the signing of a shared service agreement naming Veronica Fuhs as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to oversee both of their respective facilities. Each organization’s governance remains independent, and the appointment is effective immediately.

“This agreement provides a creative, regional approach to advancing both hospitals in a sustainable and collaborative way to best serve our communities,” said Davis County Hospital Board Chair Tom Prosapio. “On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we are excited to welcome Veronica, as she has a proven track record of successfully leading hospitals and teams.”

Fuhs has served as CEO of MCHC in Albia, Iowa, since February 2015. During this time, she successfully recruited two, new family practice physicians, achieved growth in multiple service lines, secured a $589,000 Rural Health Care Services Outreach Program grant, added the Avera eEmergency service, and is currently leading a $19 million construction project for the hospital. In addition, MCHC was named one of Iowa’s “Top Workplaces” for the third consecutive year by the Des Moines Register.

“Veronica provides strong leadership to our hospital and demonstrates exceptional abilities while leading strategy and developing relationships with physicians, staff and the community,” said MCHC Board of Trustees Chair Marilee Scieszinski. “We feel this shared CEO model will be an effective way to leverage our collective expertise and resources and create long-term success for both hospitals.”

Fuhs is a resident of Moravia, Iowa. She has a master’s degree in health care administration from Des Moines University, and earned a bachelor’s degree in health information administration from Dakota State University in Madison, South Dakota. Fuhs also serves on the Iowa Hospital Association’s ServiShare Board of Directors.

“I am honored to be asked to lead these two community hospitals, and I thank the Boards of Directors for their endorsements and confidence in me,” said Fuhs. “I am committed to exploring new ways the hospitals can collaborate and continue to share expertise for the benefit of the patients and families we serve in Davis and Monroe counties, as well as surrounding areas.”

Both DCH and MCHC are affiliated with the Mercy Health Network (MHN), an integrated system of hospitals, clinics and other health care services and facilities providing Iowans with statewide access to personalized, quality and high-value care.

“This shared leadership strategy is emerging in health care, particularly with critical access hospitals,” said MHN Senior Vice President of Network Affiliates Mike Trachta. “It’s a model proving to be successful in positioning hospitals within a region for long-term success, by maximizing resources and sharing specialists and expertise.”

With this shared service agreement, each hospital’s Board of Trustees maintains complete control of hospital operations. They also realize the economic and strategic benefits of sharing a CEO, in addition to the cost savings, management support and statewide initiatives offered through MHN.

# # #

About Davis County Hospital

Davis County Hospital is a 25-bed, critical access hospital located in Bloomfield, Iowa, committed to providing dedicated, compassionate, health care to the community. In addition, the Davis County Hospital Medical Associates Clinic provides care for the entire family and is located at Davis County Hospital. For more information about Davis County Hospital, please visit www.daviscountyhospital.org.

About Monroe County Hospital & Clinics

Established in 1951, Monroe County Hospital & Clinics is a trusted provider of high-quality, local health care to the residents of Monroe County, Iowa, and surrounding counties. The full-service, 25-bed, critical access hospital offers an array of inpatient and outpatient health services including surgical, clinical, specialty, physical therapy, cardiac rehabilitation, occupational therapy, emergency, sleep studies, pain management services and more. Visit www.mchalbia.com for more information.

DCH Welcomes New Ear, Nose & Throat Doctor

Davis County Hospital (DCH) is pleased to welcome Joseph Whitman, DO to Davis County Hospital’s Specialty Clinic provider group. Dr. Whitman is an Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) provider with Surgical Associates, LLP of Grinnell, who will see patients at Davis County Hospital in Bloomfield the first and third Monday of each month, while also performing surgery at DCH on those days. Dr. Whitman specializes in Otolaryngology (ENT) services, comprised of surgical and medical care of the ears, nose and throat of all ages.

Dr. Whitman received his Bachelor of Science degree from Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, followed by his Masters of Science and Biomedical Sciences degree from A.T. Still University in Kirksville, Missouri. Dr. Whitman remained at A.T. Still University where he received his medical degree in Osteopathic Medicine. He then completed his general surgery internship & Otolaryngology residency at Northeast Regional Medical Center in Kirksville.

“The addition of Dr. Whitman to the Specialty Clinic provider team at Davis County Hospital helps strengthen our mission to deliver high quality, patient centered care,” stated Catherine Hillestad, Interim CEO of Davis County Hospital. “His skills are a strong addition to our talented team of providers, allowing us to provide more ENT services and surgeries close to home.”

Dr. Whitman is highly skilled in the surgical and medical treatment of head and neck diseases. He will provide comprehensive head and neck care, including pediatric and adult allergy diagnosis and treatment, facial plastics, skin lesion excision and repair, surgery for chronic sinus disease and nasal obstruction, surgery of the head and neck for obstructive sleep apnea and snoring, and the surgical management of the ears, tonsils, throat, voice, thyroid, parathyroid, salivary glands and neck masses.

“Local care and local relationships are the cornerstone of community hospitals,” said Dr. Whitman. “My childhood roots arise from rural Iowa and my passion is to care and support patients in these communities. My goal at Davis County Hospital will be to provide the safest and most comprehensive head and neck clinical and surgical care that can be supported locally. Service is an act of love, and I love serving our local Iowa communities. Always happy to help.”

Dr. Joseph Whitman, ENT will begin to see patients at Davis County Hospital on Monday, October 15th. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Whitman, please call 641-664-7091.

DCH Provides $2,197,224 in Community Benefits

Davis County Hospital provided $2,197,224 in community benefits to Davis County, according to a recently completed assessment of those programs and services. That amount, based on 2017 figures, includes $706,818 in uncompensated care and $1,490,406 in free or discounted community benefits that Davis County Hospital specifically implemented to help Davis County residents.

Community benefits are activities designed to improve health status and increase access to health care. Along with uncompensated care (which includes both charity care and bad debt), community benefits include such services and programs as health screenings, support groups, counseling, immunizations, nutritional services and transportation programs.

The results for Davis County Hospital are included in a statewide report by the Iowa Hospital Association (IHA) that shows Iowa hospitals provided community benefits in 2017 valued at more than $880 million, including more than $224 million in charity care.

“This data demonstrates Davis County Hospital’s commitment to making our community healthier,” stated Sue Pankey, Chief Nursing Officer. “We will continue to provide healthcare services to our community to help those who need it and to ensure that we are working towards improved health and access to care in Davis County.”

The programs and services accounted for in the survey were implemented in direct response to the needs of individual communities as well as entire counties and regions.  Many of these programs and services simply would not exist without hospital support and leadership, said IHA President and CEO Kirk Norris.

Uncompensated care (which is made up of both charity care and bad debt) also plays a role in overall community benefit for services provided by hospitals. Total uncompensated care in 2017 was valued at $502 million. The survey also showed total Medicare and Medicaid losses (at cost) of $226 million.

More patients have been able to obtain services due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but many of the plans have high deductibles and as patients have services, we see an increase in Charity Care and Bad Debt expense. The ACA changes has provided insurance to thousands of individuals who are now able to seek health care.

Davis County Hospital has experienced an increase in Charity Care and Bad Debt expense largely due to changes in healthcare insurance plans,” commented Kendra Warning, Chief Financial Officer.  “As insurance premiums increase, patients are electing plans with higher deductibles to lower premiums but increases the patient’s out-of-pocket expense for services.  We had a 15% increase in gross patient revenue between fiscal year 2016 and fiscal year 2017, which also contributed to the increase in Charity Care and Bad Debt expense.”

Iowa hospitals, which employ more than 74,000 people, continue implement strategies that increase value to their patients and communities by offering high-quality care to individuals, addressing the health needs of communities and implementing process improvements that bend the cost curve. By seeking out ways to raise quality, reduce waste and increase safety, Iowa hospitals have become value leaders, as shown in multiple studies by the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care, the Commonwealth Fund and others.

These efforts, along with IHA’s ongoing advocacy to create fairer payment methodologies from Medicare and Medicaid, help ensure the financial stability of hospitals, making it possible for them to provide the services and programs most needed by their communities.