12 Hospital and Health System CEO Goals for 2011

The next few years bring significant changes to the healthcare industry, from incentives distributed for "meaningful use" of electronic medical records to significant fee cuts to the implementation of a new coding system. Looking to the future, 12 top hospital and health system CEOs identify the top goals for their facilities for 2011.

Peter Banko, CEO of St. Vincent Health System in Little Rock, Ark.: "Our most pressing goal for 2011 is market relevance, [meaning the creation of] meaningful partnerships with payors, physicians and other hospitals to ensure St. Vincent is relevant in the Arkansas market in 2014," Mr. Banko says. He adds St. Vincent Health System has set several additional goals for 2011, including: making quality, service and patient safety measurably better than its competitors; achieving consistent and predictable financial performance and managing its organization and staff through the changes to come.

He says the system needs to expand its relationships with payors by entering into pilot programs on risk-sharing, bundled payments, medical homes and other future skill sets. The system will also expand its primary care base through employment, management and affiliation, and work to be the health system of choice for alignment of specialists in core service lines. As far as strengthening relationships with other hospitals, "we will partner with existing providers and/or develop a meaningful presence to create a regional distributed network in central Arkansas," he says.

Gary Campbell, president and CEO of Centura Health in Denver, Colo.: According to the system's website, Centura Health's 2020 Strategic Plan involves the creation of a "complete system of care," moving from individual hospitals to entities connected through standardized best practices and system-wide communication. Centura Health also hopes to grow outreach to rural communities through state-of-the-art technology, an important mission considering 47 of the state's 64 counties are rural. According to Mr. Campbell, the most pressing issue for 2011 is the formation of new models of care. "Centura Health will continue to transform healthcare in Colorado by responding to the needs of its patients and communities [and] developing new models of care delivery through creative approaches to physician integration," he says.

Delos M. "Toby" Cosgrove, MD, president and CEO of Cleveland Clinic:
"My hope is that we establish a more efficient, effective healthcare system that moves away from paying for services and instead, paying for quality.  By rewarding providers for delivering a higher level of quality, we become more focused on patient-centered care.  This approach drives satisfaction, improves patients' clinical outcomes, and reduces overall healthcare costs. It will allow us to actively manage patients' health, lowering the burden of chronic diseases and reducing complications and unnecessary admissions. With this focus, we have a higher standard of care and can move from delivering 'sick' care to delivering 'health' care."

David Feinberg, MD, CEO of UCLA Hospital System: "Our focus today, tonight, next year and in 100 years is on the patient in front of us. If we take great care of our patients — and that means they get the absolute highest quality and incredible compassion and are treated with dignity and respect and in a culturally sensitive way. If you were to ask patients to rate us on a scale of 1-10 or refer us to a friend, 99 percent of patients will give us [the highest score]. I tell people here, 'Don't worry about healthcare reform. Don't worry about the awards that used to concern us. Just worry about the patient.' When you think about the patient — and that patient is a politician, is an employee, is a voter, is a mom — they will make sure the UCLA health system survives … the 'perfect storm' [of upcoming healthcare issues]."

Bill Leaver, president and CEO of Iowa Health System in Des Moines, Iowa: "In 2011, just like we have this past year, Iowa Health System will continue to lead efforts to improve the quality of care through innovation in delivery and cost efficiencies," Mr. Leaver says. He adds the system will focus on three key areas: reimbursing healthcare providers for adding value to the healthcare delivery system, supporting high quality care to the system's communities and remaining fiscally viable as a driving economic force. "All of this will be built on an infrastructure that allows us to coordinate care to our patients in a way that creates better outcomes at a better value," he says.

Lars Houmann, FACHE, president and CEO of Florida Hospital in Orlando: Mr. Houmann identified the top goal for Florida Hospital as "tightening alignment with our physicians." He adds, "We are focusing on several critical service lines and the overall hospitalist model to improve the patient experience, strengthen the core product, and produce better clinical and financial results."

Nancy Schlichting, president and CEO of Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, Mich.:
"Our top goal is a relentless focus on our seven pillars of performance — people, quality and patient safety, service, growth, academics, community and financial."

Sherrie Sitarik, executive vice president/incoming president and CEO of Orlando Health:
"The top goal for Orlando Health in 2011 is to continue efforts at integrating a patient-first model of care throughout the organization.  For us, patient-first means adapting and adjusting everything from our policies and procedures to our scheduling and thinking so that patients' needs take priority in each and every interaction."

Peter Slavin, MD, president and CEO of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston: "I think what society is asking us to do now — and what I think is crucial for us to do now — is to not only make quality better, but also to make care more affordable, so families, businesses and the government can continue to receive care at a reasonable cost," says Dr. Slavin. He says because the current trend of healthcare spending is not sustainable, innovation is absolutely necessary to lower costs " I think that innovation falls into two broad categories," he says. "One is unit cost. We provide certain units of care in the hospital — a hospital day or a radiology test, for example — and we need to figure out how to deliver those specific units in a less costly manner.

The other [category] would be to use fewer units in the care of each individual. One of the problems we face is that there's overuse, underuse and misuse of healthcare, and my sense is that there's probably more underuse than the other two categories. We need to deliver the care our patients need and no more and no less than that."

Glenn D. Steele Jr., MD, PhD, CEO of Geisinger Health System in Danville, Pa.: "Geisinger will be working with a number of health systems from across the country to try to infuse our innovation methodology into their totally different sociology and market to see whether together we can build healthcare value."   

Thomas J. Strauss, president and CEO of Summa Health System in Akron, Ohio: "Summa Health System is playing a leading role in the development of accountable care organizations, and I look forward to launching our ACO, both nationally through Premier and locally with our insurance company, SummaCare. In partnership with area physicians and other healthcare providers, the ACO will further allow us to contain costs, provide greater value and enhance the quality of care provided to our patients and families. My goal is to have a successful ACO launch that will continue to align the work of our hospitals, physicians, patients and SummaCare and will contribute to a healthier community."

Chris Van Gorder, FACHE, president and CEO of Scripps Health in San Diego: "At Scripps Health, our top goal for 2011 is to successfully implement our new horizontal co-management structure, which we put in place in the fourth quarter of 2010. Health systems are already feeling the financial affects of healthcare reform, through reductions in reimbursements from Medicare and private insurers. It's critical that we adapt to these challenges in a way that not only cuts unnecessary costs, but also improves patient care and preserves jobs for our employees.

Our approach is to reorganize every department in our health system within a horizontal co-management structure, which aims to standardize clinical and operational functions across our five hospital campuses and 22 outpatient centers. This is a unique approach, as very few health U.S. systems have a complete system-side horizontal leadership structure to go along with the traditional vertical management structure."

Mr. Van Gorder says the health system will work to extend this new structure to its 2,500 affiliated physicians. The new model will help cut costs by identifying possible annual cost reduction and standardizing hospital function. "As we make these changes, we'll continue to take care of our employees, just as they take care of our patients," he says.

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