John & Mary E. Kirby Hospital: Strategic Planning

John & E. Kirby Hospital (Kirby) is a not-for-profit Critical Access Hospital (CAH) with 16 licensed beds, a local medical staff of six primary care physicians, two of which are employed in a hospital-operated medical practice, and a satellite rural health clinic. The hospital has a wide array of inpatient and ambulatory services and is essential to the health and wellness of the community that it serves.


In 2005, CEO Steve Tenhouse contacted Wipfli for assistance in developing Kirby’s strategic plan. As a new CEO, and following in the footsteps of a long-tenured predecessor, Steve and the Kirby Board needed to examine, question, and confirm past strategies and business assumptions. They sought experienced health care business advisors that could help them gain new insight into their business and fashion long-lasting solutions.


The first step was to create a long-range strategic plan in order to develop, clarify, and set a clear direction for the organization. This included an examination of past strategies and an objective assessment of what worked and what didn’t. The planning process included an “environmental assessment” that looked at Kirby’s clinical services platform, financial and market performance, utilization trends and service capacity, facility usage, medical staff composition, and various other business trends and issues.

Kirby’s strategic plan ultimately resulted in not only a clear “north star” to guide and direct the organization, but also specific goals and activities aimed at achieving its business objectives. In addition, the plan provided important validation of the hospital’s service mission, its future business vision, and the core values and principles around which it provides health care services.

Kirby Hospital’s relationship with Wipfli is based on mutual trust and respect and Wipfli’s commitment to client service and demonstrated results. Since the relationship began in 2005, Wipfli and Kirby have partnered on several projects, including the following:

  • Physician practice consolidation/integration/operations assessment
  • Rural Health Clinic certification
  • Physician compensation analysis
  • Facility master planning
  • Replacement hospital market demand analysis, master facility planning,  feasibility analysis, and financing
  • Provider-based clinic analysis
  • Coding and documentation review and education


Kirby has a clear vision and a means to measure it’s progress; they have seen increased physician productivity, improved operational costs, improved reimbursement, increased revenue, and increased physician compensation.

Partnering with Wipfli allowed Kirby to make informed decisions based on data driven analysis and wide ranging experience and expertise.  Wipfli was able to provide each of the services listed for Kirby, which has allowed for a cohesive approach and minimal disruption to the everyday operations because we are familiar with the hospital, its staff, and its strategic plan.