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Viewpoint: Future of health care is bright in the community

As the proudly serving chairs of the Altru Health System and Altru Health Foundation boards, we would like to highlight the impressive story Altru has been crafting over the past few years.

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Karen Thingelstad
Contributed / Altru Health System

As the proudly serving chairs of the Altru Health System and Altru Health Foundation boards, we would like to highlight the impressive story Altru has been crafting over the past few years. To say the past three years have had their ups and downs for our community health system would be an understatement. In late 2017, there was tremendous excitement around Altru’s announcement to build the new hospital. That excitement continued to build through 2019, as Altru staff and the community helped to envision the future of the state-of-art facility, and celebrated its groundbreaking in June of 2019.

Yet, during the celebration of the future, the current state of health care was evolving at a rapid pace. Reimbursement changes and a stark shift from inpatient to outpatient care had the health care industry across the country racing to keep up. Here at Altru, things were no different. Altru initiated formal performance improvement efforts to improve efficiencies and reduce expenses to stabilize both it’s operations and financial position in this new landscape.

Then, COVID hit. With a focus on the safety of the community, many tough decisions were made to ensure resources were dedicated to the pandemic response. Among them was the decision to pause the hospital project.

Today at Altru, we see the light that can come from hard work and tough choices. The hospital construction has resumed, and because of a strong financial and operational position, it will include an expanded plan, ensuring the region has the facility they deserve for generations to come. Altru is also set to welcome a new CEO. At the end of February, Todd Forkel will join the health system with more than 24 years of health care leadership experience.

All this, of course, is second to the care that takes place within the walls of Altru. Both of our families have faced health challenges, and during those times, the care teams at Altru were there delivering high-quality care and lifting spirits. It was no easy feat.

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When you see the construction site buzzing with activity, rest assured that this is a symbol of the strength of our community’s health system, and from that strength comes the high-quality, compassionate care the team at Altru is dedicated to providing their community.

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Keith Lund
Contributed / Altru Health Foundation

Karen Thingelstad is the Altru Health System Board chair and Keith Lund is the Altru Health Foundation Board chair.

Related Topics: LETTERS TO THE EDITORALTRUHEALTH
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