Harlan Highlights Grand Lake Health's Continued Growth

President and CEO of Grand Lake Health System and Joint Township District Memorial Hospital Kevin Harlan informs St. Marys Rotarians on Wednesday about the growth the hospital has had in the last year and the growth it is looking to have in the future.
Managing Editor

Ten years ago when President and CEO of Grand Lake Health System (GLHS) and Joint Township District Memorial Hospital (JTDMH) Kevin Harlan spoke at Rotary, his speech was focused on surviving the Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act known as "Obamacare."

It was a much different tone Wednesday.

Harlan proudly told Rotarians that the hospital has since survived "Obamacare" and is doing well with its ever-lasting growth that has yielded a $200 million annual revenue while employing roughly 675 people.

GLHS is made up of three corporations, Joint Township District Memorial Hospital (JTDMH), JTD Foundation — which serves as the system's fundraiser — JTD Family Practice, LLC. That three-headed health provider generates roughly $200 million annually — a figure much bigger than the $65 million gross the hospital made Harlan first became CEO 14 years ago.

JTD Family Practice, LLC is the for-profit provider for GLHS which employs its providers. Fifteen years ago, the health systems had six employed providers, but has increased to 40. Some of those providers include family medicine, pediatrics, internal medicine, a urologist and two general surgeons — both in conjunction with Mercer Health — as well as two neurologists, occupational medicine and other services.

But the growth has not stopped there.

Harlan touched on some of the other additions to the hospital this past year, including a 12-bed Clear Passage Geriatric Psychiatric Program.

"It's a great example of a niche service that people were leaving our are for," he said. 

GLHS is adding a podiatry business in the first week of July and hospital is currently recruiting for the obstetrics unit (OB), neurology and family medicine because those services still areas of growth, Harlan said. The hospital also started an Epileptic Monitoring Unit (EMU) this past year in conjunction with its neurologist. 

"Our neurologist was sending patients out to Columbus and Dayton and we said, 'we can do that. That is not beyond our abilities,'" he said. "We took one of our rooms in the ICU and we created an EMU. There is one patient a week and it usually takes three or four days for patients."

The hospital also purchased Kemmler Orthopedic Center — a private practice for Dr. James Kemmler in Celina — at the end of 2017 as well as additional rehab supplies in order to keep patients locally for that service.

But Harlan's biggest growth highlight was the hospital's largest project this year — the Vancrest expansion. 

The joint venture between the GLHS and Vancrest will be a 50-bed nursing home with access to assisting living and a 14,000-square foot health and wellness center. Harlan said the majority of GLHS's occupational and physical therapy and cardiac rehab will be moved to that location.

"It is a beautiful facility," Harlan said. 

The old Vancrest building will be demolished and replaced with a new 30,000-square foot, one-story medical office building. A few providers of the hospital will be moved to that location, including OB, Josey-McNaughten Family Practice and the jointly-employed specialist surgeons, who will have a new suite in the building.

"I think our employed providers feel like second-class citizens sometimes when they see how nice how nice the Celina, Wapakoneta and Miami-Erie medical centers are and we have older office locations in St. Marys, but we are now going to give them all a new home," Harlan said.

Despite generating more than $200 million annually, Harlan described his hospital as a medium-size facility, but the JTD Foundation raises $400,000 annually and the annual hospice gala has raised roughly $700,000 over the last 10 or 11 years. 

Harlan concluded by talking about surviving "Obamacare." He said it was not much of a hit the hospital had to absorb, not as much as former Gov. John Kasich's expansion of Medicaid to 138% of the poverty level. It decreased the hospital's revenue by $10,000 a day in the first year or $3.6 million after the first year.