January/February 2008

Saint Joseph Health System Begins Operations in Kentucky


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(Left to right) Michael Fiechter, board chair, Saint Joseph Health System; Gene Woods, president and chief executive officer, Saint Joseph Health System; Kathy Stumbo, president, Saint Joseph Martin; Billie Turner, vice president of patient care, Saint Joseph Martin.

After announcing in June 2007 that they would come together as one organization, Catholic Health Initiatives’ seven hospitals in Kentucky are now operating as Saint Joseph Health System. The hospitals — Flaget Memorial Hospital, Bardstown; Marymount Medical Center, London; Our Lady of the Way Hospital, Martin; and Saint Joseph HealthCare, Lexington, Berea and Mount Sterling — formally began operations as Saint Joseph Health System in early January. A transition ritual and celebration took place in Martin, London and Bardstown on January 28 and in Lexington on January 30. “We honored the history, people and accomplishments of each of the hospitals and our commitment to building our system together as one,” said Michael Fiechter, chair of the board of Saint Joseph Health System. “We will enhance the ministry and legacy that the sisters passed on to us as we follow their example of changing to better meet the needs of the people and communities we serve.” The goals of Saint Joseph Health System include:
  • Growing health ministries and partnering with physicians and others to create healthier communities, locally and across Kentucky.
  • Delivering a consistent experience of high-quality care at all facilities.
  • Providing safe, preferred work environments of choice.
  • Taking an active role to advocate for health-related needs and issues, locally and statewide.
Another goal is building the presence of the system across Kentucky, which led to the selection of the system’s name. Research shows that the Saint Joseph HealthCare brand and name are strong and perceived positively across the state. Gene Woods, chief executive officer of Saint Joseph Health System, said the name “is a way to instantly communicate our affiliation, core values and national reputation for quality, as well as the strength and size of our system throughout Kentucky.” As part of creating a common identity, the names of some member organizations of the new system will change. Most of the hospitals will adopt the Saint Joseph name, along with a geographic identifier, such as Saint Joseph London, Saint Joseph Martin, Saint Joseph Berea and Saint Joseph Mount Sterling. The system’s two hospitals in Lexington will continue to be known as Saint Joseph Hospital and Saint Joseph East. Due to unique circumstances and the desire to avoid confusion with other Catholic institutions in Bardstown named Saint Joseph, Flaget Memorial Hospital will retain its name. Associate Choir of Saint Joseph Hospital, Lexington. Woods said that the formation of the new system is a growth strategy. “We are all joining together to grow and to build something new that has not existed before,” he said. “Ultimately, this new system will bring more services to each of our facilities and broaden services across our system.” Some of the new system’s immediate plans include launching a telemedicine network and a robotics program. Both initiatives will help create greater connectivity and improved access to specialty care, especially in rural areas. In thanking everyone who contributed to the establishment of the new system, Woods cited a quote from the late Maryanna Coyle, SC, the first chair of Catholic Health Initiatives’ Board of Stewardship Trustees: “Our faith-filled openness to the Spirit continually calls us to move beyond our own securities so that a new creation will arise to bring God’s presence through the healing ministry.”

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(Left to right) Bruce Klockars, president, Flaget Memorial Hospital; Michael Fiechter, board chair, Saint Joseph Health System; Ben Wiederholt, vice president of mission, Flaget Memorial Hospital.