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Cropper Leaving Genesis Health System

Doug Cropper, President and CEO of Genesis Health System
Genesis Health System

A long career in health care ends this week for Doug Cropper. After 43 years, including 14 as the leader of the Genesis Health System, he's leaving to lead missionaries for his church in Europe.

Cropper and his wife have been chosen to lead one of the 400 missions around the world, run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Based in Frankfurt, Germany, and responsible for about half of that country, they'll oversee 200 young people doing missionary work.

"They come from all over the world. I looked at our list - they're from Australia, Japan, South America, many from America, a surprisingly large number from either Ireland or the UK, and some from Scandinavia as well. So we have 200 of them and we'll decide where they go, they're always in two's so who they're with at the time, how many are in one location or another, and oversee all the logistics because they have cars and apartments and everything else we have to oversee. So that's the bulk of our job - we're a little like their mom and dad."

For his years at Genesis, Cropper has presided over many changes, including the building of three health-plexes.

"We usually have the following services, maybe 25 doctors, primary care and some specialists, convenient care, sometimes in Bettendorf it's an emergency department, and we have imaging and also sometimes physical therapy and other things. So there's one in west Davenport, there's one in Moline, and one in Bettendorf where we just put our latest free standing emergency department. It's a big clinic that has all kinds of health care outpatient services and there's three of them we've built over the last ten years in the Quad Cities."

The west campus, the former Mercy Hospital, now has offices, some outpatient services such as the cancer center, and behavioral health. But all the surgery and the emergency department are based at the east campus, the former St. Lukes.

Another major change is the recent partnership with MercyOne in Iowa, and its national affiliate, Trinity Health.

"It was on my strategic list because I felt after 150-plus years that Genesis could be average, an average health system if they remained independent, but not excellent. We did a lot of work on analyzing that, both myself and the board, and felt that we needed to be part of a larger organization with greater scale to be able to be a provider that could provide excellent care and have the resources for excellent care. It's the scale of things like purchasing, cost of services, cost of medical supplies, the ability to contract effectively, the ability to have an insurance company, the ability to have an effective relationship with an insurance company. So all those things get a lot easier when you're a lot larger."

One example of the savings, he says, is the cost of insurance for Genesis dropped immediately by 1 1/2 million dollars a year.

So what's next ? Cropper believes Genesis and other health care organizations will go into the insurance business.

"So what happens with that, rather than receive a fee for a service, you actually contract for a full year and the provider takes the full risk. The incentive in that model is to keep people healthy which is the purpose of the health care system anyway. So it changes the incentives in a much more positive way, more consistent with our mission. And it doesn't necessarily eliminate the insurance function but it means we'll contract with insurance differently but it could lead to the further integration of insurance and the provider side - that's happened somewhat already."

In two weeks, the Croppers start training in Utah, then will start working in Germany by the beginning of July.