Becker's CEO + CFO Roundtable 2019: 3 Questions with Caitlin Beck Stella, Chief Executive Officer for Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital and Pediatric Services, Memorial Healthcare System

Caitlin Beck Stella serves as Chief Executive Officer of Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital and Pediatric Services, Memorial Healthcare System.

On November 11th, Caitlin will serve on the panel "The CEO Paradox: Can You Really Have Volume and Value?" at Becker's 8th Annual CEO + CFO Roundtable. As part of an ongoing series, Becker's is talking to healthcare leaders who plan to speak at the conference, which will take place November 11-13, 2019 in Chicago.

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

Question: What is going on right now?

Caitlin Beck Stella: We’re about to begin an expansion project that will double the size of our children’s hospital and allow us to better meet the healthcare needs of children and families in our region. This is not only an expansion of space (nearly 160,000 square feet), it will also enable us to utilize state-of-the-art technology to provide the highest quality, pediatric care in line with the patient and family-centered approach Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital is known for. We are investing in a neuro-interventional suite for pediatric brain surgery, a “one-stop” multi-disciplinary clinic for children with complex healthcare needs, expanding our heart institute with hybrid rooms and catheterization labs, and also increasing our educational space, not only for children and families but also for our graduate medical education and nursing residency programs. The project will cost approximately $170 million and is expected to take two years to complete. Our Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Foundation created a capital campaign (theme: “Catch the Love”) to raise $50 million in support of the expansion.

Q: There is a lot to improve upon in healthcare. Of the many issues that hold your attention, what is the one you consider exceptionally imperative and urgent?

CS: There is a lot to improve upon in healthcare. Of the many issues that hold your attention, what is the one you consider exceptionally imperative and urgent? 

Children are not mini-adults, but we often treat them that way when it comes to medical care. In many instances, they are sent to see doctors trained in adult medicine, which is not optimal care.

Pediatrics is its own medical specialty, and providers and support staff require different training to understand the developmental needs of newborns through young adulthood. A growing child’s body isn’t the same as a fully-formed adult, so providing access to appropriately-trained specialists is critical to securing positive outcomes, something that insurance should cover independent of the economics.

Q: Healthcare leaders today need skills and talents that span beyond those emphasized during formal training and higher education. What is one specific competency that you learned or sharpened in real life?

CS: Having grown up in a family where I was one of the oldest children and having studied Child Development as an undergraduate, I learned to see things from a younger person’s perspective, and that’s carried over to my leadership at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. While we strive to make our facility as child and family-friendly as possible (our theme is the ‘power of play’), the bottom line is adults still make decisions. So, we ask our kids at the hospital, whenever possible, for feedback and do our best to see the world from their perspective. We notice what’s at their eye level and focus on creating a developmentally appropriate environment that’s based on daily interactions with our most important audience.

Without being a caregiver to younger siblings and my educational background, I might not have developed the skill set required to be an effective advocate for those who often don’t have the voice to advocate for themselves.

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