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Banking on KC – Shawn Long of University of Kansas Health System

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Kelly Scanlon: 

Welcome to Banking on KC. I'm your host Kelly Scanlon. Thank you for joining us. Joining us on this episode is Shawn Long, the Vice President of Corporate and Community Outreach at the University of Kansas Health System. Welcome to the show, Shawn. 

Shawn Long: 

It is my pleasure to be here Kelly 

Kelly Scanlon: 

The University of Kansas Health System, it's such a gem here in our community, but for those who may not be real familiar with this, tell us a little bit about it and your role there. 

Shawn Long: 

Well, you bet. It is a fabulous place, and I think it's one of the best kept secrets, certainly in the country. As we continue to make strides in the recognition within the various disciplines, whether it's cardiology or cancer or neurology or whatever ology you want to pinpoint, we rank very highly across all the disciplines in US News World Report or any of the other rating services out there. While Kansas City has, in this region, has a fairly good handle of kind of who we are. And I think there's a pretty good perception, a public perception, that it's an excellent place to get healthcare, we are starting to make some noise outside of the region. That doesn't happen overnight. It doesn't happen by mistake. It happens by people researching that may be dealing with a specific illness, whether it's cancer or anything else, and trying to find as much as they can and discover the rating services. 

Shawn Long: 

And when you look at outcomes, our place compares very favorably with all of the big names that you might think of when you think about healthcare. Mayo and MD Anderson and Cleveland Clinic and Johns Hopkins and all those places. When you compare apples to apples, even though they may not have heard of us before, we show up on those searches. So as you mentioned, it's a gem here in this part of the region. 

Kelly Scanlon: 

You mentioned the US News and World Report. It has been ranked, I believe for 13 consecutive years as one of the top programs in the country as having some of the most outstanding research and academic programs. It's just amazing. I know you've got an expanding sports medicine program. Tell us a little bit about that for example. 

Shawn Long: 

Yeah, you bet. Another couple of things just to brag on our place. Since they've been keeping track of this, which I believe is about 12 or 13 years, the hospital has been named the number one hospital in Kansas City, as well as the number one hospital in the state of Kansas. So again, we're interested in being in those conversations. If you unfortunately are diagnosed with cancer, whether you're in Kansas City or Cleveland or Dallas, Texas, we feel like our place is a terrific place for you to be. To address your question about sports medicine. So it's really an interesting line of work in the sense that you, and to a large degree, you're dealing with really healthy people. As most people think about hospitals or health 

systems, you think, well, when I'm sick, that's where I'm going to go. I think a lot of that from a strategic directional point of view can be attributed to our CEO, Bob Page. 

Shawn Long: 

We are approaching our tenth year as a partner with the Kansas City Royals. We're approaching our ninth year as the health partner with the Kansas City Chiefs. And so when we get into those relationships, obviously there's a marketing component to them, but Bob was very emphatic when we started those conversations that this wasn't a marketing play for for the hospital. This was very much about being an authentic partner, providing care, not only to the players and the front office of those organizations, but also to the fans. And so the healthcare component is very much woven into the fabric of all of those relationships that we have. And once we got to a place where the teams trusted us, I mean, just because you write a check, they don't just hand over the care of the players to anybody. 

Kelly Scanlon: 

Exactly. 

Shawn Long: 

So we had to earn their trust in those spaces. And once we did that, we took that same approach to the youth market and said, hey, you know what? If the Chiefs trust us to take care of their players, you can trust us to with Suzy or Billy or whoever it is that is maybe involved in high school sports. So we launched an initiative a few years back, I want to say it was about six years ago where the health system hired athletic trainers, they're employees of the University of Kansas Health System. And we hired them and then shipped them out to, specifically, we have agreements with the Shawnee Mission and the Blue Valley school districts. And then there's a few other individual schools that we have relationships with. But these trainers don't come to work at our place. They go to Shawnee Mission West or Blue Valley Northwest, or wherever they're assigned, and their job is to become part of the fabric of that school. 

Shawn Long: 

And so getting to know the coaches, getting to know the administration, earning the trust of those folks, and then obviously being on the field during not just game time on Friday night or Tuesday night, or whenever you happen to be playing but on the practice fields during the week. So we're building relationships with those athletes at the high school level. 

Kelly Scanlon: 

Definitely. 

Shawn Long: 

In essence, what we've built is a way that we can authentically say to a high school athlete, if you happen to get hurt and you want to come to our place, you can see the same docs that take care of the pros. And so that's a very compelling marketing position to be in. And that, again, I attribute a lot of that directionally and strategically to Bob Page. 

Kelly Scanlon: 

You really oversee the community outreach. So you're taking the hospital out to the community, but you also bring the community into the hospital. Talk to us about your role and how all of that works together. 

Shawn Long: 

It is somewhat of a ever evolving role. So my most recent background was I was with the Kansas City Chiefs. So that's how I met Bob Page and some of the executive team at the hospital was through that relationship. We did a 18 month dating process to see if we liked each other and there was a lot of meetings and conversations and coffees and happy hours along the way. And we eventually got that partnership that I talked about put together. I did that deal on behalf of the Kansas City Chiefs as an employee for the Chiefs. And so Bob and I just had formed, more than just a business relationship, we'd formed somewhat of a friendship. And so we were out one evening just catching up, Bob and I were, and he starts talking to me about this thing, this role that he's contemplating. Bob and I kept talking and several months later, I found myself employed with the University of Kansas Health System. 

Shawn Long: 

And the initial thought was they wanted me to basically go out in the community much like I did for the Chiefs. And that was just to go talk to the C-suite folks in Kansas City and in this region and visit with them about in essence, the hospital and what we do. It wasn't too long into that. And with really not a lot of framework or real parameters around what I should be doing on a daily basis, I just went out and started talking to folks. And I told Bob and Tammy Peterman, who's our COO, let me go talk to business and see what it is that they want. What are their challenges? And what's their frustrations? 

Shawn Long: 

Talking to folks and just trying to understand what, from a business owner or an HR perspective, what are their frustrations? And as it relates to healthcare, and really from those conversations, boil down to a couple of different questions. One is how do we authentically take care of your people? Fortunately, most people, in a business there's not an overwhelming percentage of folks that need liver transplants or major cancer surgery or those kinds of things. Most of it's just keeping people healthy, flus and coughs and colds. So how do we take care of your people? How do we make it convenient for you as a business? And then how do we do business together? 

Kelly Scanlon: 

That's really kind of a different approach for a hospital to go out into the community like that and have those conversations? 

Shawn Long: 

I think it is, in my time with the Chiefs and I learned a lot from Mark Donovan and how he approached business and just from my time there. But trying to really be a, and I know we use this term partnership a lot and it's probably overused and probably the meaning that a fair amount of folks pour into that maybe doesn't match mine. But I very much wanted to see if I was going to be talking to Danny O'Neil at the Roasterie about how do we take care of your people, which obviously impacts our health system's bottom line. I wanted to be also talking about how can we sell the Roasterie coffee at our place? How do we do business together? 

Kelly Scanlon: 

Definitely. 

Shawn Long: 

You take a brand like the Roasterie, which is this cool hip brand in Kansas City, and now you integrate that brand into our hospital. So instead of just serving coffee, which we had coffee at the hospital. It's the drug of choice as I tell people for our employees. We just didn't have coffee. We had the Roasterie coffee. 

Kelly Scanlon: 

Right. 

Shawn Long: 

And so that takes on a new kind of profile with our folks. It makes our healthcare workers, which probably consume 90 to 95% of all the coffee in our facilities, it makes them feel good that a big, cool, hip brand, Kansas City brand wants to do business with us and is at our place. 

Kelly Scanlon: 

You've got your own blend now, your own Roasterie blend of coffee. 

Shawn Long: 

And I know you know Danny. He's just fabulous. He's one of my favorite people on the planet. And so he was all in. Give a little bit of a background story here about how we met. So again, I show up at the hospital, trying to figure out what it is that I do here in this brave new world, this new role I find myself in. And wasn't too long, and I didn't know Danny but I picked up the phone and called him and said, hey, I introduced myself and liked to come visit with you. I'd really like you to come here to the hospital. And before I could get the words out of my mouth, he said, when can you meet? I'm like, okay, well we've got a date on the calendar. And we came down and Danny told me the story. And I hope I get the bulk of these details right. But as I remember it, he said, the first bag of coffee, his absolute first sell was a bag that he sold at the hospital. 

Shawn Long: 

And there was apparently a lady that had a coffee cart that she used to push around the facility. And he said, he roasted the beans in his garage, he rushed down to the hospital and he said, the bag was still warm. And he said it was like 30 or $38 or whatever the price was for this bag of beans. And he said, he walked out of there. He was just shaking. It was his first sell. So I thought, how cool is that, that now he's become this cool entrepreneur and a big part of Kansas City's business fabric. And his first sell was at our place. And now the Roasterie brand is all over our place. And then we had an internal contest, not too long after they had taken over our coffee and had, I don't know, five or six folks from our place. They ended up going down to the Roasterie and doing some testing and whatnot and created our own blend. And I think now we may have two or three. 

Shawn Long: 

Our folks have really embraced the Roasterie, they love the story obviously and it's been fun to see the relationship or the partnership progress the way it has. 

Kelly Scanlon: 

Right. Right. Two brands working together to grow each other's brands. It's all about that collaboration. And you've done that with other companies here in Kansas City, too. I believe Hallmark is another one. 

Shawn Long: 

When I walk the hallways of the hospital, whatever facility I happen to be in, kind of look at it through non-clinical eyes, since that's not my background. So I'm sure I ask a hundred, if not thousands of questions. And one of them was the coffee. The other one was our gift shop. We had had a gift shop. I think our auxiliary had ran it for about 60 years. And we had a place where people could come get whatever it is that they needed, whether it was a bag of chips or a t-shirt or whatever it might be that you'd get in a hospital gift shop. When I looked at it, I just thought maybe we can be better here. Maybe there's somebody else in town. While I think we're pretty good at swapping out your liver, maybe running a retail shop is not in our DNA in essence. So I thought, again who is Kansas City? Who would be the very best? Whose name could we put on this that would really add value to our place and our people? 

Shawn Long: 

Had been introduced to a gentleman at Hallmark, Bob Curlin at the time. And we started having this conversation and what would it look like if our companies did business together? And the gift shop was just kind of the tip of the spear, that seemed like kind of the low hanging fruit as to this relationship. And it has blossomed into a variety of other things as well. But the gift shop is certainly the most visible piece of that to the general public. Again, Hallmarks, this is what they do. They do this stuff. If anybody belongs in a hospital, right, it's Hallmark. It's the cards, it's the stuff that you would see in a Hallmark gold crown store somewhere else. And so they came in and kind of remodeled the store, added more lighting stuff that we probably wouldn't see because that's just not our area of expertise. 

Shawn Long: 

And so this became Hallmark's first store in a hospital in the country. And the thought was is if we can figure this out here in Kansas City, and then maybe spread that across the country, might this be a good business platform for the folks at Hallmark? I think it's been very well received there internally. I think it's kind of a point of pride for them to be not only a part of doing this and they could have done it in Rochester or Cleveland or Dallas or umpteen other places, but to do It and to start this here in Kansas City, it's an honor for us as a health system, that they would entertain that. And the hallmark brand has such equity, our healthcare workers and the people that walk the halls at our place find a great deal of value and pride in it. And it legitimizes what they do every day, which is take care of people and love on them. And that Hallmark wants to be a part of what we do. That's pretty cool for our folks. 

Kelly Scanlon: 

It strikes me as I've been listening to you talk about the Roasterie and Hallmark. In many ways, what you're talking about is Kansas City excellence. The University of Kansas Health Systems is known for the excellence of your programs and the Roasterie is known for their quality and their excellence and commitment to putting the best product out there. And the same way with Hallmark. You go and you form these relationships with other excellent providers and brands, and it allows you, as you say, to focus on what you're excellent at. You're not worried about the lighting in the gift shop, you're not worried about the coffee that you're serving, because you have partnered with others who can provide that excellence and then allow you to continue where your area of excellence is. 

Kelly Scanlon: 

It sounds to me like a wonderful kind of collaboration. In fact, that's what they tell business owners to do, to follow that kind of business model, where you do what you're good at, and you bring in the others to support you in the areas where you're not as good. And so it sounds like it's just such a perfect win and for the community too. 

Shawn Long: 

Certainly in my time out at Arrowhead, partnering with the best was part of that formula. There's a variety of other folks that are in Hallmark's world, or you could pick soda or any other category of things that might be found at a hospital. But if you can partner with the best, I think it says something about who you are. One, that these people want to partner. They want to do the same. They'd rather partner with us then hospital XYZ that may not have quite the reputation or the ranking that we have in some of the national publications. So I think it's a win for everybody, but certainly partnering with what we would consider to be the best in category excellence is part of what we're after. 

Kelly Scanlon: 

We also talked a little bit about your engagement regionally with the fact that you are in every county, basically 105 Kansas counties I believe, most Missouri counties. You've served patients, I've read, from every US state. So you really do regionally leave a footprint as well. Talk about the physician side a little bit. When you're treating people from all over the country like that, that must mean you've got collaborations with physicians throughout the country. 

Shawn Long: 

So we have about 1,000 physicians at our place. Healthcare, it's treated somewhat differently based on the discipline, right? So let's take, you mentioned sports medicine. We talked about that a bit earlier. If I have a sprained ankle, I'm probably not getting in my car, jumping on a plane to go to wherever I think the best sprained ankle place is on the planet. There are a few disciplines that people do travel for. Cancer is one of them. Transplant is another. And so we happened to be very good in both of those disciplines, we're an NCI designated cancer facility. The Midwest, which was new to me when I discovered this when I came to the hospital but the Midwest is very giving with their organs. So organ donation is a lot stronger in the Midwest than it is on the coast. 

Shawn Long: 

If you need a liver transplant or whatever it may be, your wait list to come to this part of the world might be a lot quicker and that time might save your life. That is where a good deal of the travel comes from, are those two disciplines: cancer and transplant. And we happen to be very good in those arenas. So the focus and the crux and the old 80-20 rule is the state of Kansas, which is our legislative directive, is to take care of the people of the state of Kansas. When the legislature brought us into existence in 1998, that was the mantra of what we were to do. 

Shawn Long: 

Now, obviously sitting, we literally sit on the state line. So Kansas City is one region. We treat a lot of folks from the state of Missouri, every county in the state of Kansas as you mentioned, and then on an annual basis, we've had customers from every state in the union. And again, from folks around the world as well. So it is a place where people will travel to get care because they trust that the outcomes are going to be great. And that's where we've built our business. 

Kelly Scanlon: 

As we sit here, we are still dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic and without getting into all of the nitty gritty about what's going on presently, which the University of Kansas Health Systems is right in the middle, leading a lot of the charge on the healthcare side of this. When you look forward into the future, what are some of the things that you're learning now that you're going to be able to apply more broadly, but it's just things that you were able to refine, test, introduce because of COVID? 

Shawn Long: 

Well, I'm thrilled to hear you mentioned the word leadership. And I do think that for whatever reason, we have been thrust into that position. Our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Stites is on camera every day, does media briefings. Our head of infectious disease and prevention, Dr. Dana Hawkinson was on the nationally televised show, was interviewed by Jimmy Kimmel. And in terms of COVID and all the things that have transpired over here, the one thing that stands out to me and I think most everybody in our place is the telehealth product, telemedicine, whatever you want to call it. There's been a great deal of interest and discussion about telehealth for several years, actually. At least three or four that I can remember. It started to become pretty prevalent, this discussion, like what is this thing? Would people do it? How do we do it? Do we really want to do it? 

Shawn Long: 

And so, like a lot of things, COVID accelerated processes. And so with telehealth, one of the things that we found with it was we're closing our clinics, we're not seeing folks, we're closing down elective surgeries. And so there's still a lot of people that are non-COVID that need medical attention and care. And so how do we provide that service? And so telehealth was quickly accelerated with very little to no marketing or promotion from the end of March over the past what? 10 weeks, I guess now. I think we've eclipsed the 50,000 telehealth encounter mark. If not, we're sitting on the doorstep of it. 

Shawn Long: 

But we're doing somewhere between probably 1,200 and 2,000 telehealth encounters every day now. It's opened everybody's eyes from the business side of our organization, the physician side of our organization. And certainly if you think about healthcare as a consumer based product, you think, okay, if, if I don't have to get in my car and drive down to the, what we would consider to be our main campus at 39th and State Line there. Find a place to park, try to find the doctor's office, where I'm going, sit in the lobby and wait until the doctor's ready to see me, and then sit in a room and wait until the doctor comes in. If I can alleviate all that and do a 15 or 20 minute telehealth encounter, it's far more customer friendly. And at the end of the day, if we can keep people out of our place to begin with, they have zero chance of catching anything that might exist, whether it's COVID or any other airborne or surface type of virus. 

Shawn Long: 

And so telehealth has become, and I think it's going to revolutionize the landscape of how healthcare is consumed. I think it's going to lower healthcare costs, it's a better consumer experience and it allows us to see people. And if you think about our place, one of the regional things that's really unique about where we find ourselves is we're in a very urban setting in kind of the midtown part of Kansas City. And yet a big chunk of the state that we're in charged with taking care of is in rural environments. 

Kelly Scanlon: 

Right. 

Shawn Long: 

And so how do you deliver very high quality specialized healthcare in rural Kansas? And telehealth is going to be that answer. 

Kelly Scanlon: 

Shawn thanks so much for being on this episode of Banking On KC. We really appreciate the opportunity to highlight the University of Kansas Health System. Truly one of Kansas City's gems. 

Shawn Long: 

Yeah, Kelly. I appreciate it. Thank you so much for having me. 

Joe Close: 

Thank you to Shawn Long for being our guest on this episode of Banking on KC. As Shawn says, the University of Kansas Health System is a Kansas City gem. Recognized nationally as a premier academic medical center, it continues to build its world-class cancer, heart sports medicine, and telehealth programs. But as big as its reputation is nationally, the University of Kansas Health System works to build community right here in Kansas City by collaborating with iconic Kansas City brands, like the Roasterie, Hallmark and the Chiefs that also strive for excellence. Kansas City excellence, it's what drives Country Club Bank too, as we work to make our hometown a better community in which we can all live work and raise our families. Thanks for tuning in this week, we're banking on you Kansas City. Country Club Bank, member FDIC.