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Louis Kraml and Bingham Memorial Hospital – How a Hospital Serves the Community

When Louis Kraml, formerly CEO of Hawkins Hospital in Hollister, CA, took on the role of CEO at Bingham Memorial Hospital in Blackfoot, Idaho in 1999, it was a small hospital with 15 physicians, a budget of $9 million, and some serious financial worries. Under Louis Kraml's leadership, it has grown to be the fifth largest employer in Bingham County, with 150 physicians and over 500 full time employees. Its budgets regularly exceed $200 million, and as a 501(c)3 organization, it has paid back over $3 million to Bingham County, money which has gone directly towards helping the community. More than this, an independent study by Dr. Richard Gardner, PhD for Bootstrap Solutions, in collaboration with the University of Nevada's Thomas Harris, PhD, estimated that Bingham Memorial brought over $500 million to the region, from the start of Kraml's appointment in 1999 to the end of the study in 2011. In 2011 alone, Gardner and Harris estimated its contribution to the local area to have been $89 million.

Louis Kraml's actions as CEO have not just helped the region in financial and employment terms, but have also given access to world class health care to the area it serves. The Bingham Memorial facility has received the prestigious Summit Award for two consecutive years – an award granted to hospitals that achieve a score of 95% or more in customer satisfaction surveys – and sees over 100,000 patients a year. The Bingham Memorial complex now has a neurosciences hospital, a skilled nursing facility, three community hospitals, a nursing home, and a number of physician joint ventures. It has recently began a partnership with Shriner's Hospital in Salt Lake City to offer free orthopedic screenings to children twice a year, with those who are identified as needing treatment being able to get it at Shriner's, also at no cost to their families. Louis Kraml also opened a screening clinic for diabetic patients to monitor foot health; it is well known that diabetes is the cause for 80% of non-injury related foot amputations.

Kraml, who gained his Masters degree in healthcare administration at Webster's University, St Louis, has not only made Bingham Memorial a great hospital for patients and the community as a whole, but has also made it a really desirable place to work for doctors. Physician's Practice named Idaho the best place in America to work, and Washington's Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences, which focuses on training doctors to practice in rural areas, has nominated Bingham Memorial as its medical school. Louis Kraml has recently headed up a hiring initiative named 'Play Where You Work', aimed at highlighting to potential new hires the good rates of pay and positive work-life balance offered to doctors at his facilities.

In a recent interview, Louis Kraml has stated that he wants Bingham Memorial to continue to thrive, and to be seen as a model for other healthcare systems in similar rural areas across the country.