An Update on the State of Good Shepherd
Wed, 03/31/2010 - 3:08pm | Sally Gammon
Throughout the past year, Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network has had many reasons to celebrate. The organization has continued to grow, now serving more people in more places than ever before. Including Good Shepherd Penn Partners, our joint venture with Penn Medicine in Philadelphia, Good Shepherd provides care to more than 56,000 individuals annually in more than 40 locations throughout eastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey.
In July of 2009, the Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital Pediatric Unit opened its doors at 2855 Schoenersville Road in Bethlehem. The unit is the first of its kind in the region, offering acute rehabilitation care to children who have suffered injuries, illnesses, or who have congenital issues. For the first time, children can receive the comprehensive rehabilitation care they need close to home and close to their families. In its first nine months of operation, the Pediatric Unit has helped more than 50 children along their roads to recovery.
Last year, Good Shepherd continued its tradition of facilitating impressive outcomes for our patients. Patients in our inpatient rehabilitation units routinely experience better functional outcomes in less time than patients at similar units nationally. At the Good Shepherd Specialty Hospital, more than 90 percent of the patients who rely on mechanical ventilation to breathe are successfully weaned from the device during their stay. This rate of ventilator weaning has held steady for the past five years.
Recently, Good Shepherd has invested in state-of-the-art clinical systems to ensure that the quality of care provided in our facilities is maintained and augmented. We have implemented an electronic clinical documentation system to capture clinical information in a consistent fashion, in addition to electronic systems that prevent medication errors, monitor wound healing and infections, and expedite the gathering of blood results.
Last year, Good Shepherd also honored the legacy of our founders, The Rev. John and Estella Raker, by providing care to individuals who are unable to pay. In fiscal year 2009, we provided more than $7 million in total quantifiable community benefit to the communities we serve. This total represents 6.8 percent of revenues and includes charitable care and a host of other quantifiable community programs, such as free stroke risk screenings and educational programs.
While there are wonderful things happening at Good Shepherd, the organization has faced many of the same challenges encountered by health-care organizations and businesses throughout the nation. Earlier this year, reimbursement issues, along with declines in patient volume, investment income and philanthropy, forced Good Shepherd to implement an expense reduction plan. The plan included budget decreases, a modest workforce reduction and a restructuring plan. Currently, we are focusing on realigning our care to better serve our patients, grow patient volumes and increase market share. Change is always difficult, but we believe that these decisions have put Good Shepherd back on track to a positive operating margin, so we can continue to honor our mission and serve the men, women and children in our communities.
This has been a challenging time, but thanks to the hard work and dedication of our employees and supporters, Good Shepherd is positioned to grow and thrive long into the future.
Outpatient rehabilitation and the Pediatric Program will lead Good Shepherd’s growth. We recently added two outpatient sites – a new location in Coopersburg and the acquisition of CORE Physical Therapy in Bethlehem Township. Extending Good Shepherd’s outstanding care into the communities we serve is a successful formula that we will continue to follow.
The aforementioned Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital Pediatric Unit is expected to grow in the coming years, and Good Shepherd’s Outpatient Pediatric Program is positioned to serve more children this year thanks to a donor gift that will provide the capital to expand the program’s operating space on our south Allentown campus. As a result of that expansion, we will be able to handle 27 percent more patient visits (12,000 additional visits) for children with cognitive and physical disabilities.
Good Shepherd’s growth and success are made possible by the support of our community partners. We thank you for all that you have done to ensure that Good Shepherd’s mission and the legacy of our founders, the Raker Family, live on.
For more information on Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network, please visit www.GoodShepherdRehab.org.