Leah Glasgo is new CEO at UnityPoint Health — Fort Dodge

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Leah Glasgo, president and CEO of UnityPoint Health — Fort Dodge, poses in her office at the hospital recently. Glasgo began her duties in Fort Dodge Jan. 28.

When Leah Glasgo, the new president and CEO of UnityPoint Health — Fort Dodge, interviewed for that position, she was thrilled to learn about the economic developments in the Fort Dodge area.

“The economic development has been really impressive,” Glasgo said. “It was actually one of the reasons I came here after having a tour of the hospital and the community. Seeing all the great things that are happening and the way people have come together to improve the community was really impressive.”

She said it’s those strengths that the hospital will use to tackle one of its biggest challenges — recruiting physicians.

“It’s the same approach we will have to use as we recruit providers is really sell the great things happening in our community,” Glasgo, a native of Clarinda, said.

Her first day as president of the hospital was Jan. 28. She replaced Mike Dewerff, who became the chief financial officer of UnityPoint Health — Des Moines on Sept. 17, 2018.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Troy Martens, chief operating officer for UnityPoint Health — Fort Dodge, left, looks over some of the hospital’s accomplishments with Leah Glasgo, president and chief executive officer of UnityPoint — Fort Dodge, at the hospital.

According to Glasgo, the hospital added 27 providers in 2018.

“We have six coming in 2019 and one coming already in 2020 planned,” she said.

“We do know we will have physician retirements,” she said. “It is a challenge to recruit physicians and nurses. Though we have been very blessed in that category, we have not had openings that we couldn’t fill from a nursing standpoint, it is a challenge we will have to face in the coming years.”

That challenge is not unique to Fort Dodge, she said.

“In general, there are provider shortages in almost all disciplines of physician practices,” Glasgo said. “For here, it’s us being able to tell our story about what we have to offer in our community.”

Competitive wages will be another selling point.

“The other component is we provide equitable payments for them,” Glasgo said. “We are working very hard to make sure their pay is competitive. Lastly, that they will see that they have a great practice setting to provide care to patients. That will be something we are very proud of is we do have a great practice and physicians can count on their team delivering excellent care.”

Glasgo will also seek to improve the financial performance of the hospital.

“We do have some financial opportunities to improve our financial performance,” she said. “That’s one of the things I’ll be working on in 2019.”

Shannon McQuillen, vice president of marketing and community relations, said part of the financial challenge is due to declining reimbursement costs.

“Supply costs continue to go up at a faster rate than your reimbursement,” she said. “It’s important to note from an investment side of the organization, we are a really strong investment pool.”

Glasgo added, “In general, expenses, which include supplies and employment costs are rising. Reimbursement rates here are either holding or declining depending on the payment model that we are referring to. The payment model is very complex.”

She said a number of things contribute to that, including different insurance companies paying at different rates.

“We don’t get what we charge, so it becomes a complex formula,” Glasgo said. “That’s probably the biggest issue is the change in reimbursement rates.”

UnityPoint will continue to pride itself on excellent care, Glasgo said.

In October, the the hospital earned the Pathway to Excellence designation. The hospital has held that designation since 2011.

“It reflects the hospital’s investment in making an optimum workplace for nurses and demonstrating a sustained culture of excellence,” Glasgo said. That’s one area we have proven that we are excellent in. Deb Shriver, our chief nurse really led that effort.”

For the third year in a row, the hospital was named one of the top 100 rural and community hospitals by the National Rural Health Association’s Rural Health Policy Institute, iVantage Health Analytics and The Chartis Center for Rural Health.

Glasgo said she is looking forward to future achievements for the hospital. So far, she’s enjoyed settling into her new role and meeting new people.

“The culture from my first four days here has been excellent,” Glasgo said. “People smiling in the hallways and working well together.”

Glasgo was the president and chief executive officer of Stewart Memorial Community Hospital in Lake City from January 2008 until July 2013.

In 2013, she became vice president of rural development for the Fort Dodge and Sioux City regions for UnityPoint Health. She then became vice president of clinical operations for UnityPoint Health — Sioux City. For the past three years, she has been the chief operating officer.

During her time in Sioux City, she helped to develop and launch the UnityPoint Health systemwide patient experience team. She was also involved in establishing the systemwide Clinical Leadership Group, which standardized practices for treating sepsis and coronary artery disease. Her other accomplishments include transitioning a 15-member cardiology group into UnityPoint Health — Sioux City and implementing electronic health records.

Glasgo has a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha and a master’s degree in health care administration from Des Moines University in Des Moines.