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St. John’s Health Public Board Meeting Highlights - May 25, 2023

2023 Strategic Plan

This is the first comprehensive strategic planning process for SJH in several years. The landscape for U.S. hospitals includes significant financial challenges that are projected to worsen. Therefore, it’s vital that St. John’s Health develops a roadmap to ensure its continued strength and viability. KaufmanHall has been engaged to support this process based on their experience, especially with rural, independent hospitals like St. John’s Health. The project is expected to wrap up by Fall. In the first phase, we will be collecting information through a robust engagement process with St. John’s Health’s staff, St. Johns Health Foundation and the community. Opportunities for input will include 1-1 interviews, community input sessions, and surveys. Please participate, when asked. Your input is a very important part of this process.


Due to trending increased costs and lower-than-projected revenues, the Finance Committee and St. John’s Health staff are spending considerable time developing a fiscal year 2023/24 budget that reflects some of the economic realities we are facing. The draft budget will be advertised in the News & Guide prior to approval at the July public board meeting.

Premium Pay

Another way that St. John’s is working to address current financial challenges is by adjusting premium pay practices that were necessary during COVID. During the pandemic, we were facing a crisis-level staffing shortage and exorbitant expenses for traveler/contract staff to fill the gap. Premium pay is the pay that employees receive for working extra shifts and shifts that are hard to fill. The changes being made are not impacting anyone’s base pay, and we are continuing to follow the system we put in place for annual increases to ensure that employee wages keep pace with market and related growth in experience. Managing wages and benefit expenses is imperative since it’s the largest single expense category for St. John’s, at 56% of total operating expenses. It is also an ongoing expense and not a one-time expense. We are reducing, not eliminating, premium pay; we are returning to a standard premium pay program, still at higher rates than we had in 2019.

Capital Projects

Current projects focus on patient/staff safety and housing. The King & Karns employee housing is proceeding well, with framing underway. The Hitching Post project is advancing with a goal of being self-sustaining in servicing associated debt and not diverting resources from other SJH capital expenditure needs. Currently, SJH provides about 100 units to staff, including the units we currently have at the Hitching Post.

The connector between Sage Living and the hospital is nearing completion. This project was initially planned to be completed as part of the Sage Living construction but was postponed for the demolition of the old Living Center. There are many significant benefits to this project. We will no longer be required by regulation to transport patients by ambulance between the two buildings, and employees will no longer need to transport themselves and supplies back and forth on a 10% grade. Having a connector between the Sage Living and hospital buildings also gives us flexibility for service line expansion and an additional 60 parking spaces at ground level.

Quality and Recognitions

St. John’s Health has historically received many state, national, and even international recognitions for quality of care and patient satisfaction. These awards have included some of the most prestigious industry awards in healthcare. However, it is recognized that St. John’s ratings, rankings, and accolades require resources to maintain. The Quality Council has been asked to embark upon a review of the value of various awards and to maintain focus on quality improvement initiatives that are believed to bring the most value to our patients and community.

The next regular board meeting of St. John’s Health Board of Trustees is on Thursday, June 29, at 4:00 pm. The public can participate by zoom. Agendas and meeting links for Board of Trustee public meetings can be found at


Media Contact: Karen Connelly, Chief Communications Officer,