In the Face of Adversity, Warren General Hospital Continuing to Thrive

During what could most aptly be described as trying times, Warren General Hospital is thriving.

Through the COVID-19 pandemic, the hospital has done much more than just survive – they are prospering.

“I always come to the vision,” said Warren General Hospital CEO Rick Allen during Thursday’s annual Board Meeting. “It drives our strategy and drives what we’re about, and that’s independence, community focus, world-class care and collaboration.”

The response to COVID, Allen said, has been phenomenal.

“Back 18 months ago when this whole thing started, it took a little bit longer to come into our area, but when it did, it came hard,” Allen said. “The staff responded in an expert manner. We continue to this day with weekly COVID leadership meetings. I’m very proud of the staff and how we continue to come through this COVID pandemic crisis.”

The hospital showed a positive operating margin of 11.9 percent for this past fiscal year, which ended on June 30.

“I’m here to tell you every dollar we make goes right back into the organization,” Allen said.

Among the things that money went toward included construction, renovation and infrastructure improvements, including but not limited to new air handler units, cooling towers, chiller repair, a new roof, parking garage repair, fire door replacements, new building controls, a new nurse call system and plumbing and electrical upgrades.

The Cancer Center saw upgrades in the form of a new CT simulator, a new roof and a new linear accelerator unit.

Service improvements included 3D mammography, pediatric rehab expansion and renovation, ER renovation and improvements to the Warren Medical Group offices in Pleasant and Sugar Grove, as well as the orthopedic and eye care centers.

“We’ve really turned the bend in the last two years on profitability of this organization,” Allen said. “This is not about making money. It’s about making enough money so that we can expand and invest. Typically a hospital of our size requires $4 million a year in capital improvements and investments. So our goal now, we need a lot of years with some good profitability to make up for the years we couldn’t spend so we continue to have a functioning facility.”

Physical Improvements still to come include an East End generator, paving, stream repairs, mass communication system, sidewalk snow melt system and continued electrical and plumbing upgrades.

There are also plans to improve the hospital’s information systems.

All-in-all, things are looking bright for the future, even in the wake of the aforementioned challenging times.

“We addressed COVID, took it head on,” Allen said. “There was no playbook, but boy have we worked hard. I’m proud of the staff, proud of the doctors and proud of the nurses.”