Becker's 10th Annual Meeting Speaker Series: 3 Questions with Benjamin Anderson, Chief Executive Officer for Kearny County Hospital

Benjamin D. Anderson, MBA, MHCDS, serves as Chief Executive Officer for Kearny County Hospital. 

On April 3rd, Benjamin will speak at Becker's Hospital Review 10th Annual Meeting. As part of an ongoing series, Becker's is talking to healthcare leaders who plan to speak at the conference, which will take place April 1-4, 2019 in Chicago.

To learn more about the conference and Benjamin's session, click here.

Question: What one strategic initiative will demand the most of your time and energy in 2019?

Benjamin Anderson: Kearny County Hospital (KCH) has partnered with MASS Design Group (MDG) a not-for-profit, Boston-based architecture firm whose mission is to research, build, and advocate for architecture that promotes justice and human dignity. Our service to rural/frontier people originating from 30 nationalities requires the redesign of our space. As MDG helps us develop our story, I will share it with stakeholders across the United States, raising funds toward that end. Our story of reconciliation is timely and relevant in an American culture seeking healing.

Q: Healthcare takes a lot of heat for not innovating quickly. What's your take on this?

BA: KCH was one of several rural hospitals recently featured in a CBS Sunday Morning story on the crisis of rural medical care. Our industry is currently in a very disruptive place and organizations that resist change face an almost certain demise. Change is inevitable, and death is a form of change.

To use a medical analogy, our healthcare delivery system is acutely ill and facing a decision between surgery and palliative care. Surgery can be painful, expensive, and somewhat risky, but with it comes an opportunity for growth and healing. Palliative care is as is sounds. Delaying this decision only increases the risk. We have strategically chosen the surgical option, learning lessons along the way. We should never stop learning and innovating as doing so allows us to write our own destiny. We cannot wait on the government to solve our problems. Rather, the government is relying on us as providers to implement replicable interventions that improve outcomes and lower costs.

Q: Can you share some praise with us about people you work with? What does greatness look like to you when it comes to your team?

BA: We have an incredible team, and I love sharing their story. One example of greatness is our Chief Operating Officer, David Hofmeister, who we wooed away from a 30-year successful career in higher education. We had grown so quickly over the previous five years that we were experiencing persisting problems with employee morale and turnover. David has brought wisdom and maturity to our young leadership team and has taught us creative and effective ways to manage up.

David arrives nearly every morning at 6:00am, knowing the importance of a leadership presence during shift change times, even in departments for which he is not directly responsible. He works alongside the maintenance team, shoveling snow during winter storms. He writes grants. He is constantly bringing to our team articles, books, podcasts, or other tools that are teaching him something, encouraging the rest of us to grow alongside him. If my job as CEO is to tell our story externally, he and the others on our team are the stewards of that story, ensuring its integrity. I could share similar stories about hundreds of other team members. We are each doing our part to save and improve lives, justly and equitably.

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