11 standout quotes from healthcare CEOs

This year, healthcare CEOs from across the U.S. have shared insights with Becker's about the industry and their strategies.

There have been many standout quotes, particularly related to the pandemic. Here are 11, in no particular order.

1. "During the pandemic, I continued to share facts thinking information can save lives. I feel very fortunate. This is the town I grew up in. When we are treating patients, it is not market share. [These are] my friends' parents and grandparents and cousins and people I know — so we've been very dedicated in telling the flat-footed truth." 

Steve Edwards, president and CEO of Springfield, Mo.-based CoxHealth 

2. "We already have a values-based culture and now this builds on that culture — one that is even more patient-centric and one where people know when it comes to what it takes to protect patients, we are unwavering and unyielding. We will not bow to external pressure when we know the right thing to do."

Marc Boom, MD, president and CEO of Houston Methodist, on making COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for staff

3. "I'm a dietitian by training, and I went into dietetics with a personal interest in health and well-being. I started out being interested in preventive medicine yet found my way into a burn and trauma unit, where what really drew me to critical care was the multidisciplinary nature of it and truly equal people with different roles. My early mentors gave me that language — we are truly equal people with different roles, and all voices matter for the care of our patients. And what I found and discovered in my early leadership journey is that by serving those who serve, we can actually have a greater impact on those we serve."

Lisa Shannon, president and CEO of Minneapolis-based Allina Health

4. "The first thing that came to my mind was an inclusive culture. And inclusive on a lot of different levels — not just from a diversity perspective, but also inclusive in decision-making and the feeling that you can come to work every day and do your very best for patients."

Cheryl Nester Wolfe, RN, CEO at Salem (Ore.) Health Hospitals & Clinics, on which changes are needed within the healthcare work environment to improve retention.

5. "The single biggest lesson that has been reinforced to me is to trust your team, because, I have to tell you, when you give your team broad parameters and you just let people go — it's amazing the innovation that I've seen at the bedside."

Brian Gragnolati, president and CEO of Morristown, N.J.-based Atlantic Health System, on the most pivotal lesson he's learned as CEO during the pandemic.

6. "I've been reminded that healthcare is still a 'people taking care of people' business, regardless of which side you're on. And that every individual — nurses, physicians, housekeepers, transporters, etc. — are critical to us doing what we do best, and that's caring for others."

Richard Liekweg, president and CEO of St. Louis-based BJC HealthCare, on the biggest lessons he's learned during the pandemic.

7. "My favorite piece of advice is from my father, who counseled me to always do the right thing — especially when no one is looking. These words of wisdom have served me well in my life, both personally and professionally."

David Dill, chair and CEO of Brentwood, Tenn.-based LifePoint Health.

8. "COVID-19 cases are waning throughout the nation. Hospitalizations are down. Mask mandates are being lifted. While we prepare for the pandemic’s next phase, let's also use this time to recommit to transforming healthcare and even accelerating the pace of innovation."

Robert C. Garrett, CEO of Edison, N.J.-based Hackensack Meridian Health. 

9. "More importantly for us, it's around, 'How do I find folks who love what we do, who love our mission?' That's hard to teach. I can teach a lot of things on the skill set and the knowledge and the experience side, but being able to say how do we take care of kids, how do we take care of children and families — that is the most important thing I look at when I look at leaders in the organization from the top to the bottom. You have to be able to live and breathe our mission, which is taking care of kids."

Matthew Love, president and CEO of Miami-based Nicklaus Children's Health System, on his strategy for recruiting employees.

10. "As the healthcare industry enters a post-pandemic world, we have to think differently than we ever have before. We must remain dynamic and ensure we don't lose sight of our vision with a renewed focus on long-term viability. We need to look past short-term strategies and invest in all of the components that have made us who we are and that will set us up for success. By investing in our mission, our people and our culture, we will in turn invest in the patients and families we serve — not just tomorrow, but for years to come. As the nation's largest pediatric and women's hospital, it is Texas Children's responsibility to reach, create and strive for what is ahead."

Mark Wallace, president and CEO of Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected his role and what the facility will focus on when the virus is no longer an acute crisis.  

11. "Our strategy for everything we do starts with the patient. How can we eliminate their pain points, what do they need and how can we change to meet those needs? It's a balanced approach to quality, patient engagement, team member engagement and operational excellence."

Carl Armato, president and CEO of Novant Health (Charlotte, N.C.), on ensuring patients feel heard.

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