Michigan Medicine CFO Paul Castillo sees light at the end of the tunnel

Paul Castillo has been Michigan Medicine's CFO since 2011. He recently reflected on the pandemic and his priorities for the health system's future.

Question: What are some of the biggest trends you've seen at Michigan Medicine since the beginning of the pandemic?

Paul Castillo: One of the major trends is the substantial growth and support of virtual care. Support comes in many forms — the willingness of physicians to deliver and patients to receive care in a virtual setting; the availability and utilization of multiple technology platforms enabling virtual care; and the willingness of payers to expand virtual care coverage. All parties have experienced new learnings and I anticipate the industry will see continued expansion of virtual care.

Similarly, the virtual approach has expanded to nonclinical services. Administratively, we have learned that we can work efficiently in remote settings, which creates new ways to think about work.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the importance of the liquidity and operational support provided by federal and state governments. These financial resources have been crucial to our ability to continue to be available for our communities.

Q: Where do your priorities lie as far as seeing the hospital out of the pandemic?

PC: The most important priority does not change, and that is to take care of the communities we serve. That includes ensuring vaccination is available to all faculty and staff and to provide vaccination support for our community. At the same time, our industry is balancing the need to take care of COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients. We are optimistic that the light at the end of the tunnel is near.

Q: Michigan Medicine had to postpone surgeries again as the state experienced another COVID-19 surge. What kind of challenges has this most recent wave presented?

PC: It is difficult to disrupt patient lives and adjust operations when experiencing a surge. However, these decisions are made in the best interest of our patients while also enabling care capacity for those in need. While our staff has been challenged, they have also demonstrated a resiliency I believe is characteristic of those who choose the healthcare industry and service. 

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