New ‘Behind the Scenes’ series aims to bring transparency to hospital doings

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – St. John’s Medical Center is launching a new series designed to give the public a ‘peek behind the curtain.’

After all, as CEO Paul Beaupré, MD, says, “The community owns this hospital. They have a right to know what is going on and deserve a voice in what we do.”

Community members interested in learning more about challenges and opportunities in the dynamic local health care environment will be interested in the new “Behind the Scenes” presentation series at St . John’s.

The reason for the program is two-fold. First, communications officer Karen Connelly says the community has questions. Lot of them.

“We are very grateful for the engagement of our community around issues of healthcare access and sustainability. It will certainly contribute to higher quality care that best meets the community’s needs,” Connelly said.

It’s the lack of answers on the hospital’s part that is the second reason “Behind the Scenes” is expected to be the hospital’s most attended event in a long time.

SJMC CEO Paul Beaupré, MD

“The hospital has been accused for many, many years of not being transparent. That we often made decisions without public input,” Beaupré admits. “I saw this long before I came to work here, even before I moved here, I studied the hospital pretty closely. And that lack of transparency is what prompted us to design a series of talks to discuss issues that people in the public have questions about.”

Already, under Beaupré, the hospital has made great strides in inviting along the public every step of the way with the design and build of its new Living Center.

The first such “Behind the Scenes” will focus on the hospital’s financials for no other reason than SJMC is currently preparing its FY2019 budget. CEO Beaupré and COO John Kren will be on hand to ‘open the books’ to the public and field all questions to do with finance.

All questions?

Beaupré promises. Ask the tough ones and they will provide an answer if they can. Things like, “Why does a bag of saline solution have to cost more than a thousand dollars?”

“Absolutely,” Beaupré said. “Hey, there are parts of the healthcare system that drive us all nuts. And if we don’t know the answer, we will tell you we don’t know and promise to find it.”

SJMC COO John Kren (David J Swift)

The financial “Behind the Scenes” will focus on addressing the challenges of providing a stable and sustainable healthcare program to the community.

In the last six years, 85 rural hospitals have closed, Beaupré said. And Jackson is not immune. While the valley offers tremendous draw by its amenities and quality of life benefits, the hospital struggles like every other employer retaining talent and housing staff.

The first in a series of “Behind the Scenes” presentations will take place Monday, June 18. Two one-hour programs will be presented at 7:30am and 5:30pm in the St. John’s boardroom.

Beaupré and Kren will facilitate the discussion and Q&A that will focus on financial topics such as national trends and local considerations affecting the 2019 Medical Center budget, which is currently being developed for approval by the Board of Trustees in July.

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