Recently Centra announced its new Strategic Plan and Modernization Plan which includes significant facility improvements and capital investments to Centra. We got together with Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Diane Ludwig to discuss major takeaways from the strategic plan and upcoming plans for the growth and long-term resiliency of Centra.
Can you give a little background on the purpose of the new strategic plan and why it was formed?
Healthcare strategy is crucial to Centra’s future by providing a framework to ensure there is alignment among our long-term strategies, priorities and operational plans. As part of our strategic plan, we will bring to life new ideas, systems, and technologies that enable us to improve the health of the communities we serve. Using feedback and input from our entire organization, community and community partners, we have developed a strategic plan that will ensure long-term growth and vitality and meet the changing needs of our community.
Community Health & Value-Based Care is listed as one of the main strategic themes, can you talk more about the work you all are doing to foster strategic relationships with community partners to achieve improved health for all?
The purpose of this priority is to focus on the needs of our community. It’s how we live our Mission, lift up the voice of our community and thread it through every aspect of our work. In addition to supporting the needs of our own organization, we also seek to invest in like-minded community partners. This is how we are able to demonstrate community impact on issues like access to care and social determinants of health that have been identified through our Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA). Through our robust triennial CHNA data, population demographics, accountable care metrics, specific health indicators and our Caregiver feedback, we are able to translate the needs of our communities into actionable plans throughout the entire region we serve.
We know access to care and mental health services, issues impacting children and their families and addressing chronic disease are top area needs for the Lynchburg region. We must evolve our continuum of care, focusing on population health, with an emphasis on primary care, virtual health and remote monitoring. We are implementing innovative tools to help us care for our communities and intervene earlier to identify and monitor chronic conditions. These will enable us to help keep our community members and patients healthier and out of the hospital and will, ultimately drive down the cost of care.
There is also a focus on workforce development, talent management, leadership development, and advancement of equity, diversity, and inclusion. Can you talk more about the importance of this or some of the tactics to achieve this?
While all our priorities are important, our People First strategy is specifically focused on our Caregivers – the source of Centra’s greatest strength. Through our internal Caregiver survey and numerous stakeholder meetings, we listened. Not just hearing, but truly understanding the needs and interests of our Caregivers. We heard about career development, leadership visibility, benefit offerings, Caregiver experience, and psychological safety. A desire for connection is part of our human nature and a connected workplace is a thriving workplace.
The last two years have been hard on our industry. Our workforce is undoubtedly depleted, but there are measures we can take to support our teams. Investing in development and opportunities for growth is one countermeasure to burnout. These initiatives will focus on our Caregiver’s ability to grow their skills and utilize the resources they need for continued success and development. This will include deepening academic partnerships with local institutions and investing in the growth and development of future Centra Caregivers. This also means investing in our people. We want to be a partner in providing recognition of high performance, ongoing learning and development opportunities for professional advancement, and support for the growth of our leadership team.
Although Centra is just beginning our ED&I strategy, it’s critical we make our journey relevant to Centra and the communities we serve. It’s important you not only see this work elevated in Caregiver culture but also feel it advance in meaningful and productive ways within our community. To this end, we have completed the American Hospital Association Health Equity Assessment, developed a Health Equity Roadmap focused on 6 levers of transformation and engaged an expert to provide continued educational support over the next year to move forward with industry best practices.
Whether it’s building relationships at home, in the community, or with friends, people like to feel bonded to each other. A connected culture creates a place where employees feel engaged and fulfilled.
What are some of Centra’s sustainability and long-range planning strategies for growth?
Long-range planning keeps us looking ahead. Where will we be in five, ten or fifteen years? It’s how we adapt to the needs of our community and keep up with the modernization of our facilities and industry. These are all part of how we plan and vision for the years and the generations to come. We realize we are serving not only our existing communities but those of the future.
This priority brought to life Centra’s Modernization Plan, a multi-year initiative that will encompass the most significant facility improvements and capital investments in Centra’s 36-year history. Aligning with our long-term Strategic Plan, this 500-million-dollar investment is multi-faceted and will address different needs found within our community based on findings from our 2021 Community Health Needs Assessment. The first phase of our Modernization Plan will involve renovations and additions to our Lynchburg Campus. By revitalizing with contemporary facilities that include the latest innovative technologies, we will be able to continue delivering patient-centered care, increase patient access, and enhance critical and specialty care for years to come.
Centra’s Modernization Plan Initiatives
- Growth of Centra’s home-based services: With the launch of our new Central Command Center, we are enhancing our virtual care and telehealth programs. Through our remote patient monitoring program, we will be able to increase the quality of care, manage patients’ health and well-being and help patients avoid unnecessary hospitalizations and trips to the emergency department. With 24/7 access to care and support, this program will allow us to expand care beyond the hospital or clinic setting and meet patients where they are.
- Construction of a new specialty medical office building: To better support the services that Centra provides to our community, we plan to develop a new medical office building which will be located near Lynchburg General Hospital’s campus and will expand access to outpatient services and specialty care including Centra’s comprehensive Brain and Spine programs and other surgical specialists.
- Establishment of a new care tower: To accommodate the growing number of patients who need inpatient care at Lynchburg General, we plan to construct the new five-story Northeast care tower. This new tower will be located adjacent to the East Tower and consist of medical units, patient recovery rooms, support spaces, and shell space for future growth and capacity.
- Replacement of Lynchburg General’s Emergency Department: Our current emergency department will be replaced and incorporated as part of the new Northeast Tower. It will be designed to allow for additional flexibility and expansion needs in the future. This exciting new facility will significantly meet the needs of our ever-changing community and will include 71 treatment bays, five trauma bays and four imaging rooms. Enhancements will include a split flow model of care to expedite and enhance the patient experience of care, an integrated emPATH psychiatric patient space, super track/imaging/results lounge and improved connectivity and utilization of the ED observation unit.
- Creation of additional parking for the Lynchburg General campus: Understandably, parking at the hospital has been a significant issue in the past, and we have planned to address this challenge through the expansion of lots on Thomson and Tate Springs Road through the creation of 428 additional parking spaces. These new spaces are intended to bring all patient and visitor parking for ED and inpatient services to the front of the building enabling ease of access and simplified navigation of our campus. Several of these enabling projects have already begun.