Shuter says Adena eyeing doubling its care and employment

By Frank Lewis

April 8, 2014

By Frank Lewis


Sometimes people tell you that you can’t get there from here. Mark Shuter, president and CEO of Adena Health System, is living proof.

“You never lose track of your roots,” Shuter told the Daily Times Tuesday afternoon. “My mother lives there and my wife and I come back often.”

Shuter took an interesting route to where his office is now in Chillicothe, Ohio.

“I grew up there. I went to Portsmouth East,” Shuter said. “I went to Ohio State, undergraduate and graduate school. And I worked down at Portsmouth. before it was SOMC (Southern Ohio Medical Center) really, and my title was vice president from 1982 to 1990. At that time it was called Scioto Memorial.”

Shuter then worked at a hospital in St. Joseph, Missouri, through most of the 90s, returning to Ohio, where he was president of Riverside, Grant and Doctors hospitals in Columbus through Ohio Health. The next step was to his current position running Adena Health System.

“From 2005 to 2011 Adena doubled. We went from $160 million in net revenues to $380 million. Now we’re at $423 million,” Shuter said.

In a day and an age in which employment is a premium, Shuter’s strategy is to double many of the factors within the Adena system, and thus double the size of it’s workforce. Currently that workforce stands at 2,800, and with the doubling of coverage, it is his hope to double that number of employees, with the possibility of that workforce going to 6,000.

Adena has a five-year plan that will kick off in 2015.

“There are four big projects that we’re always working on,” Shuter said. “One is quality. The big thing in medicine is more fact based care. It’s our culture that we’re working on - generating a quality culture.”

Adena just won an award from the Gallup organization. Adena is one of 36 companies in the United States recognized for how engaged their employees are. Nationally only about 13 percent of people are truly engaged in their jobs and making positive contributions. Shuter said 55 percent of Adena’s employees are engaged.

“The second piece is our medical group,” Shuter said. “Our medical group has 220 people - most are physicians - but then there is also (nurse) practitioners, anesthetists, physician assistants. We have an incredible number of sub-specialities. You can pick any different part of the medical community. Orthopedics, we have every sub-specialty; dermatology, we even have three sub-specialties - surgery, pathology, dermatology - so we want that to grow.”

Shuter said Adena does 700,000 physician visits, clinic visits a year in their physician offices.

“We’re really trying to grow in that medical group around primary care,” Shuter said. “We have 65,000 people in our primary care base and everybody is risk stratified to make sure that we’re always managing their care, trying to stay ahead of their care. For example, like diabetes, we’re constantly trying to make sure their tests are up to date so they don’t have to come to the office sick. We’re just trying to maintain their health. We’re trying to keep people healthier. We want to go from 65,000 people in our primary care practices, called Medical Home, up to 130,000. So if you double your base, you double the whole organization. So that’s where most of our growth energy is going. That growth at the base will continue to grow employment,” Shuter said. “If you double the base of Adena, that would double that employment from 2,800 to times-two.”

Shuter said they formed an insurance company - Adena Care last year.

“So that whole work on primary care of trying to keep people healthy reduced our health care cost by 30 percent,” Shuter said. “Our health care cost inside Adena went down by a third.”

The final piece of the five part project is the plan to spend $27 million on improving their entire information system to make them more seamless and patient centered.

Shuter is not the kind of person to let the grass grow under his feet or the base of his medical facility, and he is constantly looking for growth, believing their location is strategic. He said much of what brings success is getting the chemistry right with physicians, other employees and patients.

“So we always try to keep people thinking big,” Shuter said. “Sometimes people think you’ve got to be in a big city, but it’s not really that way. If there is excellent care, people are driving anyway, why there? Why not here?”

Frank Lewis can be reached at 740-353-3101, Ext. 252, or on Twitter @FrankLewispdt.