Iowa Specialty Hospital

Notes from Steve

March 31, 2016

It takes courage to love, but pain through love is the purifying fire which those who love generously know. We all know people who are so much afraid of pain that they shut themselves up like clams in a shell and, giving out nothing, receive nothing and therefore shrink until life is a mere living death.

― Eleanor Roosevelt


I was at the Critical Access Hospital Forum last week in Des Moines. We had one speaker from BKD out of Kansas City and he said that all Critical Access Hospitals should focus on orthopedics, specifically and only though (in his opinion) from a skilled perspective – when the patients need nursing home type care.  He was insinuating that no Critical Access Hospital should be doing big things like ortho surgery. This got me to thinking about Critical Access Hospitals across the country who are told daily that they aren’t worth it and they can’t possibly provide the same quality and service as a big hospital, so don’t even try …


This November represents my 20 year mark at Iowa Specialty Hospitals & Clinics.  From the very beginning, I was challenged by our board and medical staff to “always do the right thing”.  Until we were released by the big system in 2003, we really didn’t have a clear vision of who or what we should do because we – as a rural hospital under the umbrella of the Iowa Health System – were not in complete control of our future.  Pre-2003 Leadership and medical staff (all part of IHS) did what the system told them to do.  Until we really understood post system that we were in complete control of how we were moving forward and we took a “we’re all in this together” approach, were we able to gain steam and move forward, courage intact, as one.  


We’ve had our bumps – remember 2009, the financial crisis?  We stood through that, with pay cuts, but intact nevertheless, and we got through it.  The word from the American Hospital Association and the guy from BKD last week is and will continue to be “Prepare for the worst. The end of the CAH will come, and you should probably just shut up and let us guide you … ‘until life is a mere living death’”.  I don’t know about you, but I would rather do the best job I can, link arms with like minded people, and prove them wrong.   


-Steve Simonin, President & CEO


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