The Corner Office: Quick Thoughts From Randy Oostra of ProMedica Health System

Randy Oostra has led Toledo, Ohio-based ProMedica as president and CEO since 2009. He is the first to complete Becker's Hospital Review's new "Corner Office" quesionnaire.

Mr. Oostra been with the system since 1997, previously serving as president and COO, along with other senior level positions throughout his career. The 11-hospital system, which serves northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan, includes nearly 15,000 employees and 600 employed providers.

Mr. Oostra grew up in rural Iowa. He and his wife Barb have three sons. Mr. Oostra earned a doctoral degree from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and two master's degrees (one in healthcare administration, another in management) from University of Minnesota and University of Wisconsin, respectively.

Here, Mr. Oostra took the time to answer our seven questions.

What's one thing (an event, idea or person) that really piqued your interest in healthcare?
"Karl Wegner was a physician who ran a company I worked for as a consultant. One day we were flying to western South Dakota, and he asked what I'd be doing when I was 50. I was 30 at the time. He told me healthcare is all about helping people, and he asked if I ever thought about working in healthcare management. He then lined me up with a couple of hospital administrators to talk to. It was his poking and prodding that helped me get started."

What do you enjoy most about the city of Toledo?
"It's a great sized community with a nice mix of arts, sports and entertainment options, and it offers a great quality of life. It also has a special community spirit. When people come together around an idea, they are extremely generous and gracious with their time and commitments."

If you could eliminate one the healthcare industry's problems overnight, which would it be?
"When people are negative or cynical about healthcare today, especially those who have lost sight of what drew them into their career in the first place. What bigger responsibility in life could you have other than taking care of people? There have been changes in this industry, but those don't change the fundamentals of healthcare."

What do you consider your greatest talent or skill outside of the C-suite?
"The drive to get better every day, whether that's with work, service, faith, things at home, or working out. It's about getting up every day and trying to improve. I don't know if that's a work ethic you get from your parents, but I think that's my biggest strength."

How do you revitalize yourself?
"I exercise a lot. I find running clears my mind more than anything. I try to keep balance in my work with exercise and spending time with family. I have also been working with a large church here in Toledo, doing work that is focused on leadership and faith. That's been stimulating."

What's one piece of advice you remember most clearly?
"My mom would always tell me, 'It's not about you.' So much of my role is about leading people to focus on what the hospital is about and what we represent to the community. It's about taking people along, in both minds and hearts, for the things we do every day."

What do you consider your greatest achievement at ProMedica so far?
"We are very focused on what we do everyday in our institution, but we're strengthening our focus outside of ProMedica and to change some of the social determinants of health in our region. That has the potential to be our greatest achievement. Part of your health is about what kind of home you grew up in, what kind of education you received, who your friends are, what types of foods you eat, whether you are employed. Who is more important to impact these things than healthcare institutions?"

If you're a hospital or health system CEO interested in completing the questionnaire, please contact Molly Gamble at mgamble@beckershealthcare.com.

More Articles on Health System CEOs:
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130 Nonprofit Hospital and Health System CEOs to Know

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