Keokuk Hospital gets management infusion

The face of a struggling Tri-State hospital is changing.

Keokuk Area Hospital has announced it's signed a two-year contract with a firm called Fitch Healthcare to help manage the facility.

The suburban Chicago firm has been working with the hospital for three years in a consulting role.

Now the Board of Directors is turning to Fitch to further help improve services and the Hospital's challenging financial situation.

Hospital CEO Wally Winkler resigned last week.

Fitch Healthcare and the hospital's remaining administrative team will report to the hospital's Board of Directors.

Below is the official Press release from Keokuk Area Hospital.

January 17, 2013

KHS Stakeholders

Walt Stephens, Board Chair

Fitch Healthcare

On behalf of the Board of Directors of Keokuk Health System (KHS), I am pleased to announce an expansion of our relationship with Fitch Healthcare (FHC). Effective in late January, 2013, FHC will provide critical executive leadership to KHS as we continue to explore and implement all options to improve our services, increase our market share, and enhance the financial viability of our System. The contract with FHC is for a period of two years and they will work in conjunction with the KAH team to manage the operations of the hospital. FHC is a healthcare consulting company that focuses on operational, financial and clinical quality improvement as well as healthcare turnaround engagements. KHS has developed a positive relationship with FHC over the past 3 years in various capacities and we are excited that they will be continuing to work with us.

Duane J. Fitch, CPA, MBA is the owner of FHC and will serve as the Engagement Partner. Kathy K. DeVine, MPH will serve as the Chief Turnaround Officer. Kathy is an experienced healthcare executive with her MasterĂ¢??s degree in Public Health from Yale University. Donza T. Worden, MD is a licensed primary care physician and seasoned healthcare executive who will serve as the Vice President of Physician Integration for KHS. Karyn Bachar will serve as the Senior Project Coordinator and provide support services in multiple capacities.

Access to quality healthcare services is critical to our community. In addition to facilitating health and wellness, KHS is a major contributor to our local economy. The Board of Directors is committed to implementing the changes needed to position KHS for success, both today and in the future. Our partnership with FHC is an important step toward that end.

Rural healthcare has become increasingly complex as healthcare systems continue to balance the healthcare needs of the communities they serve with the financial realities they face. KHS is no exception to this equation. The Board of Directors is leading the difficult decisions that will be made as we transition into a sustainable healthcare delivery system capable of serving the Keokuk community for generations to come.

As we undertake this serious journey, we would like to acknowledge our employees, volunteers, medical staff, and community for their support of Keokuk Health System. This critical reengineering journey will not be easy and without the support of these and all the other stakeholders, it would not be possible.