CFO Gary Weiss: A Banking Perspective at NorthShore University HealthSystem

Before Gary Weiss joined NorthShore University HealthSystem in Evanston, Ill., in 2001, he spent several years within the banking and financial services sector — an experience he says has helped him within the healthcare sector today.

Gary Weiss is CFO of NorthShore University HealthSystem.Mr. Weiss officially became CFO of NorthShore in October 2007, and he also serves as executive vice president and treasurer. Before NorthShore, he spent 26 years at The First National Bank of Chicago and its affiliate organizations and held the roles of CFO and chief accounting officer of the commercial banking business line.

In a 2009 interview with Becker's Hospital Review, Mr. Weiss said the basic common denominator between banking success and healthcare success was adapting to the change of the time — in this case, information technology.

"Banking and healthcare are two very different industries. I thought banking was highly regulated; healthcare is even more so," Mr. Weiss said. "But one lesson I learned in banking is the incredible importance of information technology. I entered banking just when it was in the throes of some major changes, such as installation of ATMs and use of electronic funds transfers. Applying these changes, banks became more efficient and more customer-friendly. Banks that invested most heavily in technology could gain customers and lower their costs. The same is true of healthcare organizations that invested in electronic medical records."

At the Becker's Hospital Review Annual Meeting in Chicago this past May, Mr. Weiss said any hospital or health system should have a prudent financial team, especially one that considers all options in the wake of healthcare reform.

"At our organization we have been spending time assessing what we believe will happen down the road. We are not jumping into an ACO because we do not know what form of reimbursement it will take," he said. "Once we can assess our readiness for new payment programs in operation terms, we can ensure our viability for those payment models in the future."

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