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SCL Health System
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CEO Blog

The Earth is Moving Under Our Feet

The tectonic plates beneath the ground we walk on constantly move, but we often do not notice unless the shift is a major one and causes an earthquake. As it has over the past decade, the healthcare industry continues to experience underlying shifts. However, we do not always immediately understand the changes because we cannot see or feel the movement while standing in the middle of it. But if we look at the larger picture, just as we can see the Earth’s plates from space, we gain a better understanding of the changes.

Examples of movement in the healthcare industry include:

  • Increased use of new, expensive therapies, procedures and technology.
  • Rapid expansion of healthcare facilities.
  • The aging of America and the associated costs.
  • Employers shifting healthcare costs to employees.
  • Growing numbers of uninsured and underinsured.
  • Growth in federal and state spending for Medicare and Medicaid.

Instead of feeling minimal tremors, the realization that the healthcare landscape underwent drastic changes hit us like an earthquake. We face a daunting transformation that continues to accelerate. Here are some examples of the continuing changes:

  • Healthcare marketplaces enrolling hundreds of thousands in high-deductible plans.
  • Medicaid expansion.
  • Narrow networks that exclude high-cost providers.
  • Various groups (insurance companies, physician groups, health systems, etc.) struggling to integrate care with employers, commercial payers, patients and the government.

The question for us is this: in the aftermath of these “healthcare earthquakes,” will we remain burrowed in our basement, hunkered down, trying to hang on to what’s familiar? Or will we view this movement of tectonic plates as an opportunity to significantly re-shape who we are and what we can become?

We should view the Affordable Care Act as an exciting opportunity to be a beacon of what the healthcare ministry should be.

We can:

  • Rapidly expand our continuum of care services, like our home care programs.
  • Create new partnerships with providers and payers.
  • Expand our person-centered approach to care, shifting services to community-based instead of institutional based.
  • Use technology to engage with patients as members of our health system.
  • Redesign our care delivery around best practices and provide it at a lower cost.

As these shifts continue, they will reveal new opportunities and we will remap our territory as a result.

Michael A. Slubowski, FACHE, FACMPE
President and Chief Executive Officer
SCL Health System


Our three-state health system represents a Mission established more than 150 years ago by a small congregation of Sisters from Nashville, who ventured to the edge of an expanding frontier. Settling initially in the then-Indian territory of Kansas, over the years the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth established schools, orphanages and hospitals throughout the western territories as the populations and needs of these communities grew.

Now a non-profit, faith-based system with 14 locations and more than 14,000 associates, SCLHS remains dedicated to all we serve and humbled to be a trusted health partner in a dynamic and changing industry.We invite you to get to know us better by visiting our history pages and learning about the sisters' brave journey.