Missouri Business

Patients seek out the care provided by Saint Luke’s East Hospital

The path to growth doesn’t start in the boardroom at Saint Luke’s East Hospital. It starts at the bedside.

Hospital President and CEO Ron Baker says everything begins with having highly engaged employees and physicians who provide high-quality care to patients.

“What makes Saint Luke’s East Hospital successful are the people who work here and practice medicine here,” Baker says. “Everybody understands his or her role in the success of this hospital—providing the highest quality of care each and every time.”

Over the last three years, hospital revenues have grown nearly 50 percent, closing near $900 million in 2014—a stunning gross for a hospital that opened only a decade ago.

To meet a growing demand, the hospital has expanded nearly every year since it opened. The latest expansion, opening this month, adds 30 new inpatient beds, bringing the hospital to 201 total beds.

Baker helped purchase the property where the hospital now sits as one of his first jobs after joining the Saint Luke’s Health System 20 years ago. As he worked on other projects for the Saint Luke’s Health System, he watched his colleagues develop the plan for the hospital. Today, as hospital CEO, he’s amazed by the transformation.

“There was a white farm house on the corner and that was about it,” Baker recalls. “Now there is a busy hospital that provides outstanding care and serves as the largest private employer in Lee’s Summit.”

In addition to growing its physical campus, the hospital has also worked to expand into its region as it added more clinic-based caregivers—doubling the size of its primary care service. The hospital has also expanded its presence by partnering with smaller health facilities in its region.

These efforts have helped grow the Saint Luke’s East Hospital market from eastern Jackson County to currently drawing patients from 30-40 miles away.

Baker said people are willing to travel that distance because of the great reputation for care at Saint Luke’s East Hospital.

“How you grow is based upon your reputation and our reputation is stellar,” Baker said. “We’ve been able to add market share based on our great service and great outcomes.”

Even with the hospital’s recent success, Baker doesn’t anticipate that the hospital’s team of caregivers will become complacent. Because when you work at a place like Saint Luke’s East, growth isn’t the goal. Rather, the goal is to provide great care to patients each day. And if they accomplish that task, Baker feels, growth comes naturally

“I take a lot of pride in this place,”  he says. “Our goal is not to stay status quo. If you stay status quo you are going backward. We want to continue to move forward.”