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News: Centegra Hosts 3rd Annual Leadership Briefing

McHenry County, IL – Centegra Health System (CHS) CEO, Michael S. Eesley, held the Third Annual McHenry County Leadership Briefing on June 23, addressing community leaders on the health status of the county. Over 150 community leaders representing government, healthcare, business, industry, education and service organizations attended. Eesley presented an overview of Centegra’s commitment to further enhance existing services and to establish new programs to improve the health of the people of the greater McHenry County area.

Rowena Wermes, Director of Planning for Centegra Health System, presented an update on the demographics and the future growth of our community as well an update of the status of ten public health issues the McHenry County area faces.

“According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, heart disease and cancer account for more than half of the deaths in the county,” she said. Wermes also discussed the status of the health of the people in McHenry County compared with Healthy People 2010 which sets health objectives for the Nation to achieve increased quality and years of healthy life and elimination of health disparities. “While we as a county, rate better in three of the target health areas, we have the opportunity to improve our health status in seven of the ten health indicators, including the areas of physical activity, tobacco usage, substance abuse, responsible sexual behavior, mental health, immunization and access to healthcare.”

Eesley stated that as the leader of healthcare in the county and surrounding areas, Centegra Health System has an obligation and a continued commitment to address these health-related needs for the benefit of each member of the community. He added that Centegra has already introduced a comprehensive bariatric program to help with obesity; expanded its cardiovascular services by opening a second cardiac catheterization lab to provide interventional and rescue angioplasty for those with heart disease; and also expanded its oncology program to offer more state-of-the-art services to help beat cancer.

“But most importantly, we have expanded our wellness services to stay at the forefront to help take a proactive role in the prevention of these devastating diseases. We are helping people make active lifestyle changes with free smoking cessation programs, weight management programs for both adults and children as well as stress management programs,” he said.

Eesley said Centegra’s commitment to the community is to provide improved access to care as well as to help develop leaders to address the healthcare needs and the other growing needs of the county. He further noted that such changes are possible only through collaborative efforts and urged leaders present to work with Centegra in a call to action to manage the health of residents and businesses in the greater McHenry County area.

In an effort to address the growing need for leadership development on a regional level, Eesley announced the creation of Leadership Greater McHenry County. Led by Roger Schlies and a board of volunteer community members, LGMC will help develop committed, knowledgeable groups of individuals who are prepared to exercise skilled leadership and share the future of the community.

“The participants in the program will learn executive leadership skills in effective communications, ethics, decision-making, critical and creative thinking all to broaden their perspectives to effectively guide the community into the future,” Schlies said.

Centegra operates 27 sites, including Health Bridge Fitness Center and Centegra Primary Care, a network of physicians’ practices located throughout McHenry and Lake County. Eesley emphasized the commitment of Centegra to providing a full continuum of healthcare, from wellness to acute illness and multiple trauma. Both anchor hospitals are Level Two Trauma Centers and there is an on-site Flight For Life helicopter, an unusual asset for community-based hospitals.