It’s not exactly like coming home for Leanne Irsik but there certainly is a lot that is familiar. She is a Kansas native who is acquainted with some of her new colleagues in the organization she had served for many years.
Irsik will officially become the senior vice president/administrator at St. Rose Ambulatory & Surgery Center on May 16. She has been here for a short while and is currently serving as a consultant.
“I am bringing to this new position my genuine passion for the health-care legacy started by the Dominican Sisters,” Irsik said. “Our mission at St. Rose is to keep this heritage alive throughout Central Kansas.”
St. Rose Ambulatory & Surgery Center, which is the new name for Central Kansas Medical Center as of Sunday, May 1, is owned by Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI). The Dominicans were instrumental in CHI’s founding and hold prominent positions on its board of directors.
Irsik was born In WaKeeney and moved to Pratt when she was 10 years old. Her resume includes many years as a CHI employee in Garden City and Baker City, Ore.
“This background will absolutely help me here at St. Rose,” Irsik said. “I feel a true connection with and compassion for the people of Kansas. And I have a great appreciation for the quality of health care in Kansas. It far exceeds many other states.”
During her 25-year tenure at St. Catherine Hospital in Garden City, a CHI facility, Irsik became acquainted with her counterparts in Great Bend.
“We had many joint education sessions and management meetings,” Irsik commented. “In addition, I attended enrichment programs at the Dominican Sisters Convent. I am looking forward to meeting more Central Kansans in upcoming days and weeks.”
During her first few weeks at St. Rose, Irsik is getting to know the physicians, management team and staff.
“Our goal is to collaborate and design our departments and clinics to be centers of excellence,” Irsik said. “Changing from a hospital to an ambulatory and surgery center allows us to be at the forefront of significant changes in health care.
“Professionals from around the state and the country are looking to us as a model for the future of healthcare,” Irsik continued. “We have to be visionaries about how to deliver healthcare in a way that meets the community’s needs and is cost-effective.”
St. Rose’s comprehensive urgent care center, formerly referred to as the emergency room, will continue to staff the same five CKMC emergency physicians. They have immediate access to state-of-the-art equipment to handle injuries and illnesses that require immediate care but may not be serious enough to warrant an emergency-room visit.
“But they also will provide a whole host of new urgent care services that are convenient and cost-effective,” Irsik said, noting they are available 24 hours a day. “For example, when children have relatively minor health concerns, parents can bring them to urgent care instead of having to face scheduling conflicts involved in seeing their doctor. They don’t have to take their children out of school; they can come before school.”
Since health-care procedures today often entail less time and fewer resources, the demand for in-patient services has substantially decreased everywhere. In about 90 percent of surgery cases at St. Rose, for instance, patients undergo a one-day procedure and recover at home.
“This also increases the need for home-health services, and St. Rose can accommodate,” Irsik said. “Our Golden Belt Home Health & Hospice is in the process of expanding because in-home care is the wave of the future. We cannot hold onto the old ways of doing things.”
Mark Mingenback, St. Rose executive director of business strategy and marketing, said he couldn’t be more pleased that Irsik accepted this new position.
“Leanne brings with her an extensive background in health-care management,” Mingenback said. “I have known her for quite some time and have a deep respect for the skills she brings to St. Rose. Central Kansans can be assured that Leanne and the rest of our team will continue to offer high-quality, professional healthcare.”
Irsik earned a Bachelor of Science in nursing in 1975 at Marymount College of Kansas in Salina. She has 30 graduate hours in health services administration from Central Michigan University and earned her master’s in management at Friends University.
Irsik was interim chief executive officer at St. Elizabeth Health Services, a CHI facility in Baker City, Ore., and was associate vice president for interim leadership services at B.E. Smith in Lenexa.
She started her nursing career at St. Catherine Hospital in Garden City where she was assistant head nurse in the psychiatric unit. She then served in the U.S. Air Force as a mental health nurse and held the rank of captain at Andrews Air Force Base, and earned the Air Force Commendation Medal and Oak Leaf Cluster.
Then it was back to St. Catherine in Garden City in 1982. Positions were senior vice president/chief operating officer, chief nurse officer, associate director of nursing, director of critical care and education coordinator. She also participated in and was a presenter for Leadership Garden City. Prior to that, she was a staff nurse at Pratt County Hospital.
Irsik has held a wide range of membership positions in professional organizations, including the American College of Healthcare Executives, Kansas Organization of Nurse Leaders, Kansas Foundation for Medical Care, Kansas Advisory Council on Trauma, Kansas Hospital Association, Kansas State Board of Nursing, Garden City Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Female Executives and Garden City Community College Health Career Advisory Committee.
Most recently, Irsik was living in Lenexa, and is looking for a home here. She and her husband have three grown children and six grandchildren.