Becker's Speaker Series: 4 questions with Ochsner Health System CEO Warner Thomas

Warner Thomas has served as president and CEO of New Orleans-based Ochsner Health System since 2012.

He joined Ochsner in 1998 and served as the system's president and COO for 14 years. A former certified public accountant, Mr. Thomas earned an MBA from Boston University Graduate School of Management. In addition, he is a fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives and a board member of the Louisiana Hospital Association.Thomas Warner headshot

On Wednesday, April 19, Mr. Thomas will speak on a keynote panel at the Becker's Hospital Review 8th 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 17 through April 20 in Chicago.

To learn more about the conference and Mr. Thomas' session, click here.

Question: What do you most enjoy about New Orleans?

Warner Thomas: The people of New Orleans and their incredible spirit are unmatched. Surviving Hurricane Katrina nearly 12 years ago was a challenging time for our region and yet evidence of our ability to come together and demonstrate incredible resilience, tremendous courage and compassion. It gives me great personal pride to have been part of such an unprecedented effort and that spirit has propelled our work and is even stronger today.

There is new energy and sense of unity amongst the healthcare community and a fierce commitment to making New Orleans a healthier place to live. At Ochsner, we are always focused on bringing progressive changes to our patients and to our industry so that our city can continue to be a leading national and global healthcare destination for patients seeking a higher level of medical expertise.

Q: What sparked your interest in healthcare?

WT: I began my career at Ernst & Young in auditing and consulting. Following that, I had the opportunity to work directly for one of my former clients in healthcare. It was an interesting yet complex industry and there is no profession like it. We have the ability to help more people and impact lives, which can be a gratifying experience.

Q: What's the No. 1 challenge facing hospital and health system CEOs today?

WT: Healthcare in Louisiana — and across the United States — is undergoing monumental change and has been for numerous years. For those of us charged with leading during this dynamic time, it is a constant learning process with new changes introduced frequently while developing solutions to address pressing issues.

The No. 1 challenge today is the increase of prescription drug pricing, including potential Medicare drug pricing. Other key areas to watch include major changes within the government payment incentive programs and adequate Medicaid funding for states through a new reform bill. As health systems are working to care for more people, ensuring that they have more settings to provide the appropriate care in the most cost‐effective manner is critical.

Q: What do you consider Ochsner Health System's greatest asset?

WT: For 75 years, our vision has been to develop a healthcare model that delivers world class, comprehensive care while putting patents first. That vision remains unchanged.

Our success in fulfilling our vision would not be possible without our greatest asset, our people, who work relentlessly to ensure that the very best healthcare is available to more and more patients every year. We stand behind our mission to serve, heal, lead, educate and innovate; to keep healthcare local; to maintain our legacy of giving as we work with like-minded organizations to improve quality; improve access to care and make healthcare affordable for generations to come.

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars