11 Leading Health System CEOs Share Top Goals for 2012

The coming year promises to be both exciting and challenging for hospital and health system leaders. With CMS' release of the final rule for accountable care organizations many healthcare organizations are looking to align more closely with physicians and other providers to create an integrated delivery of care model. Declining reimbursements have forced leaders to find new ways of saving costs and gaining efficiencies. In addition, federal funding for pilot projects and other initiatives are giving healthcare leaders opportunities to improve the quality and safety of care for patients. Here, 11 of the country's leading hospital and health system CEOs share their top goals for the new year.

Barry Arbuckle, PhD, President and CEO, MemorialCare Health System, Fountain Valley, Calif. "In 2011, MemorialCare Health System expanded our family of providers to deliver more comprehensive healthcare. In 2012, we expect to further our reach into Los Angeles and Orange counties even more. While the heat is on with a challenging economic climate, declining reimbursements and a move by payors to value-based purchasing, we are growing our capacity to provide more integrated healthcare in our communities. We are strengthening our offerings in ambulatory care, increasing the number of our acute-care hospitals and broadening our outpatient programs and facilities.

"With the goal of delivering the best value in healthcare on a consistent basis at all sites, we are focused on improving quality and lowering costs. Steadfast fiscal discipline and the constant pursuit of bold goals in clinical and service excellence are essential to our efforts to cultivate new dimensions in healthcare. So, too, is our commitment to stay ahead of the curve, implementing new approaches to ensure patient satisfaction, physician partnership and employee engagement.

"It took courage to get where we are today, and it takes commitment to stay the course and lead the way. Our work to tackle current challenges while creating a dynamic integrated system helps ensure the strength and stability of our healthcare family. Our successes in remaining financially fit, providing superior patient care and service and engaging in initiatives that preserve the health and well-being of our employees all help ensure we can continue to invest in the communities we serve."

John B. Chessare, MD, President and CEO, Greater Baltimore Medical Center. "Our number one goal is to continue our transformation away from being a transaction-focused system to one that is driven to create better outcomes through the eyes of the patient. We are working hard to build a more integrated system to achieve better health, better care at a lower cost and more joy for those providing the care," Dr. Chessare says. To achieve better health, the system is building the patient-centered medical home model in its primary care practices and is focused on improving clinical care in its hospital by reducing surgical site infections, catheter-associated urinary tract infections and central line-associated bloodstream infections.

"In the area of better care through the eyes of the patient, we're using our HCAHPS scores to try to drive better communication with our patients. In the area of lower cost, we're using improvement tools including lean tools to redesign our system to drive out wasteful use of resources, time and effort," Dr. Chessare says. The system will work towards more joy for the providers of care through efforts to increase employee and physician satisfaction.

Steven G. Gabbe, MD, CEO, The Ohio State University Medical Center, Columbus. "As an academic medical center, our goals each year center on advancing our mission areas of patient care, research, teaching and community service. Among our priorities for 2012 are:
•    Continuing the on-time and on-budget construction of our new 20-story James cancer hospital and critical care tower, including a new radiation oncology floor funded by a $100 million HRSA grant;
•    Completing the integration of our medical staff into a single university-based faculty group practice;
•    Growing our six signature programs: cancer, heart, neuroscience, critical care, imaging and transplant;
•    Completing the activation of all the features of the inpatient electronic medical record and business management software system we installed system-wide this fall, [which will be] the final step in creating our fully integrated health information system;
•    Establishing care coordination processes guided by the highest standards for quality outcomes, patient safety, efficiency and patient satisfaction; and
•    Introducing a uniquely innovative medical school curriculum that will train 21st century physicians to lead, serve and inspire their profession and the patients and communities they serve."       

Bob Garrett, President and CEO, Hackensack (N.J.) University Medical Center. Hackensack University Medical Center's goals include reopening Pascack Valley Hospital, working on several construction projects, continuing a physician alignment strategy and enhancing the network development strategy. Hackensack UMC is planning an ED expansion that will double its size, include fixed private rooms and feature pods — different areas within the emergency department that are devoted to specialties such as geriatrics, cardiology and oncology. In 2012, Mr. Garrett hopes to complete construction of the new Heart & Vascular Hospital. In addition, the hospital aims to build a comprehensive wellness center. "It will include a large fitness component as well as wellness programs and community education. It will be the largest fitness and wellness center of its kind in the region," Mr. Garrett says.

The physician alignment strategy will include employment models for primary care physicians and cardiologists; joint venture opportunities for surgical specialties; and plans to form an accountable care organization. In addition, the hospital plans to continue to affiliate with community hospitals in the region. "We will be enhancing our status as an academic medical center by expanding our current medical residency programs and continuing to partner with medical schools," Mr. Garrett says.

Tim Hanson, President and CEO (retiring Jan. 2012), HealthEast Care System, St. Paul, Minn. "In fiscal 2012, HealthEast will begin to work toward our new milestone goal: 'Building on our benchmark performance, HealthEast will be a national leader in clinical quality, patient experience and cost effectiveness — the best value — by 2015.'

"This goal reflects HealthEast's commitment to embrace healthcare reform and value-based purchasing. We are expanding our focus on quality to a broader look at value: that includes clinical outcomes and patient experience viewed across all settings of care combined with the total costs of that care. We will be focused more than ever on the transitions of care from home to clinic to hospital to post-acute care to clinic and back to the home. And we'll have to be innovative, always looking for new and better ways to do our work collectively to best serve our patients."

Kevin Lofton, President and CEO, Catholic Health Initiatives, Englewood, Colo. "Our goal at Catholic Health Initiatives is to continue to improve the quality of care we provide to our patients and residents and to further underscore the mission of our ministry, which is to build and sustain healthy communities. As a system, we continue to move from "sick care" to "well care," focusing on the kinds of coordination and integration that will lead to higher quality and lower costs across CHI's network of 73 hospitals and other healthcare facilities in 19 states. A key element of that long-term goal is OneCare, CHI's $1.5 billion, system-wide initiative that will create a shared electronic health record for each CHI patient in both hospital and ambulatory care settings. This will help us provide the very best possible care to every patient we serve." 

Mike Murphy, President and CEO, Sharp HealthCare, San Diego. "Our goals in 2012 are to continue to build on our strengths and history of our comprehensive integrated delivery system and our commitment to our six pillars of excellence (quality, service, people, finance, growth and community). Together with our physicians, nurses and our entire allied healthcare team, we are focused on extraordinary performance in quality and patient safety and delivering these services in the most cost effective manner possible.

"We are continuing to innovate around the full continuum of care from ambulatory through post-acute while optimizing the use of information technology to enhance clinical outcomes and reduce the overall costs of care. We are committed to providing our patients and their families, our employees and our physicians with the very best experience within Sharp. We are developing new and enhanced care delivery models that further align all healthcare providers and our patients. Additionally, we are focusing on population management and chronic disease management and promoting healthy lifestyles and wellness to our patients and staff."

Stephen C. Reynolds, President and CEO, Baptist Memorial Health Care, Memphis, Tenn.
"In 2012, Baptist will celebrate 100 years of fulfilling the three-fold ministry of Christ — healing, preaching and teaching. The year 2012 will also mark significant progress toward constructing the first comprehensive cancer center in the Mid-South [and] replacement hospitals in Arkansas and Mississippi and implementation of advanced clinical documentation.

"We will focus on partnering with physicians to advance the quality of care in the communities we serve in Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas. We will continue to minister to patients and their families through our pastoral care team and volunteer chaplains across the Mid-South. We will continue our 100-year history of teaching future physicians, nurses and allied health professionals."

Amir Dan Rubin, President and CEO, Stanford Hospital & Clinics, Palo Alto, Calif. "At Stanford Hospital & Clinics we continue to focus on delivering that absolute best in patient care to the next patient who walks through our doors. This includes delivering care which incorporates the best in innovative treatments, care with demonstrated and outstanding performance on quality and service measures, care that is personalized and patient centered, care that is coordinated across providers and care which delivers high benefits and value."

Dan Slipkovich, Co-Founder, CEO and Chairman, Capella Healthcare, Franklin, Tenn. "Capella Healthcare is experiencing a time of exciting growth and unique opportunity and we anticipate a similar environment during 2012. During these next few years, we'll work closely with our hospitals to provide the resources they need to continue making impressive progress on quality and service initiatives. We'll invest in our staff, in recruiting needed physicians and in the newest technologies, including our clinical IT initiatives. And, we'll continue to integrate the newest hospitals that have recently joined our family even as we explore additional community partnerships where Capella can make a difference.

"Our ongoing work — in local markets and at the national level — with our physician and community board leaders will include expanded communication, involvement in strategic planning and education about the changing environment. This approach doesn't just help us to engage these key stakeholders but is essential in moving each hospital to the next level. 

"We will continue to work collaboratively and creatively to manage our costs and invest wisely as we seek to meet the needs of all of the communities we serve. And, we'll be proactive in our operational strategies to ensure that we come through this time stronger and in a solid position to continue to provide patient care excellence as well as to respond to the unique development opportunities these times will present.

"Our vision is for every hospital in the Capella Healthcare family to be the center point for transforming the quality of life in their communities, focusing first on improving the health and well-being of every individual. During this new era of healthcare, having the financial resources and talent needed to accomplish this will be even more vital. And working collaboratively is how we will best meet each community's specific needs, provide high quality care for all of our patients, and create even better workplaces for our staff to serve."

Ronald W. Swinfard, MD, CEO, Lehigh Valley Health Network, Allentown, Pa.
Dr. Swinfard says his top goal for the system is "to determine the appropriate innovations and directions relative to healthcare reform." For example, LVHN is considering collaborating with different payors on new initiatives. By working with different payors, he aims to "hone our skills, because we don't really know what firm direction CMS will take us. We think it will help us maintain flexibility by getting some experience in various risk-taking [projects] with various payors."

Another focus of LVHN for the new year is what Dr. Swinfard calls "mission possible," a philosophy of service to patients. "We are appealing to the service mentality that permeates all people who work in the health system regardless of their job," he says. "We believe that what patients really want is access and a caring environment."

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