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4/9/2017 12:11:00 PM
Daviess Community Hospital ready to change management to St. Vincent

Mike Grant, Washington Times Herald Staff Writer

A new management will be moving into the executive offices at the Daviess Community Hospital on Monday. St. Vincent will be taking over for Quorum Health, which means a new CEO at the hospital.

"It's going great," said Daviess County Hospital Board Chairman Deron Steiner. "You could not ask for more cooperation, enthusiasm and support than we have gotten from David (Bixler) and Tracy (Conroy) as we go through this transition. They are both the definition of class act and professional. It's going very, very well."

Hospital officials announced the change last week with a series of meetings. On Thursday, CEO David Bixler attended his final board meeting.

"I think the transition is going well," he said. "I have had an opportunity to talk to Tracy and we talked about a number of items that are outstanding. I was just trying to provide as much information as we can to assure a smooth transition. This relationship between St. Vincent and the hospital has a lot of potential."

Incoming CEO Tracy Conroy was also at the meeting.

"The transition has been going smoothly," she said. "We've been working on it for about three weeks. David has been outstanding and helpful. There is a good foundation here and we look to improve that."

Bixler says there are some things the hospital accomplished during his time there, but points out the staff was most often the driving force in those improvements.

"It's the people here." he said. "I've seen these people in action. I see how they respond and the care they provide our patients under some very difficult circumstances. It is very rewarding. When we look back at the last few years I think we have to look at our quality scores. On a national basis, they have risen significantly. Our patient satisfaction, we have our OB unit, our in-patient rehab unit both rank in the top 1 percent in a number of categories."

Bixler says the hospital has also improved its financial situation.

"Last year was a challenge, but we put together a plan and I think there is a bright future," he said. "We have been very active in partnering with nursing homes in the last three years and for us that means additional cash flow to the hospital of $8 to $10 million a year. The contracts will last another three years, so there should be another $25 to $30 million coming into the hospital because of that."

During the past year Daviess Community Hospital and St. Mary's Hospital in Evansville, which is a part of St. Vincent, came up with a working arrangement that brought more specialists into the community. Conroy plans to expand on that. "I want to use the affiliation to bring in new services," she said. "Our plan is to keep people as local as possible."

In addition, she says the hospital will be making some adjustments based on the recently completed community health needs assessment. "That will impact some of the decisions we will make moving forward," said Conroy.

The incoming CEO grew up in Sellersburg, just north of Louisville and received a nursing degree from Indiana University.

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Editor, John C. DePrez Jr.; Executive Editor, Carol Rogers; Publishers: IBRC and IAR

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