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What healthcare leaders need to know now

'What Does Leadership Look Like?' Read our new magazine

By | April 6 th,  2017 | chief executive officer, Furst Group, MPI, C-suite, governance, NuBrick Partners, Blog, leadership, magazine, What Does Leadership Look Like | Add A Comment

 

In today's healthcare climate, leadership is not easy. We're grateful for the insights and innovations of many of the industry's top leaders.

 

As part of our sponsorship of Modern Healthcare's Top 25 awards programs honoring diverse executives, we explore what leadership means through in-depth interviews with many of these top leaders.

 

We've compiled these profiles, along with pertinent articles on governance, in the new magazine "What Does Leadership Look Like?"

 

Stories from the 52-page leadership magazine include:

 

  • Philip Ozuah's journey from medical school at age 14 in Africa to caring for underserved populations in the Bronx
  • Pat Maryland's axioms of risk-taking as a leader
  • Bruce Siegel's observation that a diverse board will lead to a diverse organization
  • Debra Canales' insistence on people-centered leadership
  •  

    Click here to read the magazine.

     

     

    2016 Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare--Gene Woods: The best leaders reinvent their organizations, and themselves

    By | December 16 th,  2016 | American Hospital Association, Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare, ACHE, governance, healthcare disparities, Modern Healthcare, Blog, Carolinas HealthCare System, CEO, Christus Health, diversity, Equity of Care Committee, Ernie Sadau, Eugene Woods, Gene Woods, leadership, National Call to Action, safety, quality | Add A Comment

     

    Classic content: One in a series of interviews with Modern Healthcare's Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare for 2016.

     

    It’s the little things that tell you a lot about people.

     

    After CHRISTUS Health nominated Eugene “Gene” Woods, its chief operating officer, for Modern Healthcare’s Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare awards, the respected executive took a position as president and CEO of Carolinas HealthCare System. But when Woods was presented the award at a Chicago banquet six months later, two tables of CHRISTUS people, including President and CEO Ernie W. Sadau, flew in to show their appreciation to Woods. It was a classy move that revealed volumes about the character of both CHRISTUS and Woods.

     

    “CHRISTUS Health was honored to support Gene’s acceptance of this award for the same reason we nominated him—because we firmly believe that his time at CHRISTUS had a positive impact on our ministry,” Sadau says. “Our relationship was truly a symbiotic one, and we wanted to honor that and cheer Gene on to his future endeavors.”

     

    Woods helped lead CHRISTUS’ international expansion, expanding in Mexico, and establishing flagships in Chile and Colombia, where he was able to use his Spanish fluency (his mother is from Spain) to communicate with the teams there.

     

    “I really enjoyed working with Ernie, the sisters and the whole CHRISTUS team,” Woods says. “We were able to diversify the organization and reposition CHRISTUS internationally. But I’ve always had the goal of serving as the CEO for a large nationally recognized organization committed to being a model for redefining healthcare in the next decade. And that is why I am so excited to be leading Carolinas HealthCare System. It has the depth and breadth of capabilities to chart a new course.”

     

    Carolinas is not a turnaround situation. It’s a historically successful healthcare provider and the second largest public healthcare system in the nation, serving patients through nearly 12 million encounters each year. But, during his interview, Woods says board chair Ed Brown quoted the famous adage that, “What got us here won’t necessarily get us there.”

     

    Woods says his opportunity is to inspire his Carolinas team “to set a bold agenda for change that outpaces the industry and brings true value to individuals and communities.” In so doing, he says, he’ll be following in a tradition of innovation at the system.

     

    “What I appreciate about Carolinas is that there have been a number of pivotal crossroads in our history where leaders could have tried to hold onto the past. Instead, they took the risk of reinventing the organization, and that’s really the reason it’s been so successful.”

     

    Success in leadership has been a staple of Woods’ storied career, from serving as president of the ACHE club at Penn State University, where he earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees, to his positions with the American Hospital Association, where his term as chair begins in 2017 and where he also serves as chair of the Equity of Care Committee.

     

    But his interest in healthcare actually stems from two childhood incidents that showed him both the promise and the challenge of the healthcare industry.

     

    When he was 10 years old, he was with his mother, sister, aunt and uncle in a car that slammed into a brick wall at a high rate of speed.

     

    “Miraculously, we all survived,” he says. “I don’t remember the impact. I just remember that, as soon as the accident happened, it seemed like everybody was instantly there to care for us. It was just an amazing moment.”

     

    A later encounter with medical care ended tragically.

     

    “One of my aunts died in a hospital of a medication error. She had three young children,” Woods remembers. “It was something that could have and should have been avoided. To this day, I think about what life could have been like for her kids if that didn’t happen to my Aunt Carmen.”

     

    Thus, patient safety has been a key priority for Woods throughout his career—in fact, his first management job in a hospital was as a director of quality. He recognizes the industry still has a long way to go on that front but says the latest AHA statistics show the trends moving in the right direction. Between 2010 and 2014, the AHA says hospital-acquired conditions decreased by 17 percent, saving 87,000 lives and $20 billion in healthcare costs.

     

    “The goal is to reach zero harm, and I believe the field is on the right track in that regard,” he says.

     

    While he also believes much progress is being made in diversifying senior leadership in healthcare, he’s very firm on how that needs to become a bigger priority at the board level.

     

    “Our boards do not reflect the communities we serve,” he says flatly. “One of the biggest levers in diversifying an organization is when the board declares that it’s a priority. That was done at CHRISTUS and again here at Carolinas. I think it is an obligation of governance.”

     

    What gives him optimism is the work of the AHA Equity of Care Committee, where it’s been demonstrated how diversity leads to improving healthcare disparities. In fact, more than 1,000 health systems recently signed the AHA’s National Call to Action pledge to eliminate disparities. Woods says the goal this year is to have 2,000 systems sign the pledge.

     

    “That pledge includes improving collection of race, ethnicity and language preference data so, as we’re studying disparities in care, we have the right data set to use for that,” he says. “The pledge also includes increasing cultural competency training and increasing diversity in governance and leadership. You can’t solve for population health issues without solving for the disparities in care that exist and, in some cases, very dramatic disparities.”

     

    After many years as a leading voice in healthcare, Woods remains bullish on where the industry is headed. In a recent talk to students at his alma mater, he told them the opportunities are brighter than at any time in recent memory.

     

    “It’s an exciting time to be in healthcare because, in some respects, we’re all learning together,” he says. “Young people have an opportunity to bring an innovative spirit to their careers. But we can never forget that it’s about patients and communities. If you’re in it for those reasons, you’ll be successful.”

     

     

    Gene Woods' influential leadership poised to enhance Carolinas HealthCare System

    By | July 27 th,  2016 | American Hospital Association, Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare, ACHE, governance, healthcare disparities, Modern Healthcare, Blog, Carolinas HealthCare System, CEO, Christus Health, diversity, Equity of Care Committee, Ernie Sadau, Eugene Woods, Gene Woods, leadership, National Call to Action, safety, quality | 1 Comments

     

    One in a series of interviews with Modern Healthcare's Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare for 2016.

     

    It’s the little things that tell you a lot about people.

     

    After CHRISTUS Health nominated Eugene “Gene” Woods, its chief operating officer, for Modern Healthcare’s Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare awards, the respected executive took a position as president and CEO of Carolinas HealthCare System. But when Woods was presented the award at a Chicago banquet six months later, two tables of CHRISTUS people, including President and CEO Ernie W. Sadau, flew in to show their appreciation to Woods. It was a classy move that revealed volumes about the character of both CHRISTUS and Woods.

     

    “CHRISTUS Health was honored to support Gene’s acceptance of this award for the same reason we nominated him—because we firmly believe that his time at CHRISTUS had a positive impact on our ministry,” Sadau says. “Our relationship was truly a symbiotic one, and we wanted to honor that and cheer Gene on to his future endeavors.”

     

    Woods helped lead CHRISTUS’ international expansion, expanding in Mexico, and establishing flagships in Chile and Colombia, where he was able to use his Spanish fluency (his mother is from Spain) to communicate with the teams there.

     

    “I really enjoyed working with Ernie, the sisters and the whole CHRISTUS team,” Woods says. “We were able to diversify the organization and reposition CHRISTUS internationally. But I’ve always had the goal of serving as the CEO for a large nationally recognized organization committed to being a model for redefining healthcare in the next decade. And that is why I am so excited to be leading Carolinas HealthCare System. It has the depth and breadth of capabilities to chart a new course.”

     

    Carolinas is not a turnaround situation. It’s a historically successful healthcare provider and the second largest public healthcare system in the nation, serving patients through nearly 12 million encounters each year. But, during his interview, Woods says board chair Ed Brown quoted the famous adage that, “What got us here won’t necessarily get us there.”

     

    Woods says his opportunity is to inspire his Carolinas team “to set a bold agenda for change that outpaces the industry and brings true value to individuals and communities.” In so doing, he says, he’ll be following in a tradition of innovation at the system.

     

    “What I appreciate about Carolinas is that there have been a number of pivotal crossroads in our history where leaders could have tried to hold onto the past. Instead, they took the risk of reinventing the organization, and that’s really the reason it’s been so successful.”

     

    Success in leadership has been a staple of Woods’ storied career, from serving as president of the ACHE club at Penn State University, where he earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees, to his positions with the American Hospital Association, where his term as chair begins in 2017 and where he also serves as chair of the Equity of Care Committee.

     

    But his interest in healthcare actually stems from two childhood incidents that showed him both the promise and the challenge of the healthcare industry.

     

    When he was 10 years old, he was with his mother, sister, aunt and uncle in a car that slammed into a brick wall at a high rate of speed.

     

    “Miraculously, we all survived,” he says. “I don’t remember the impact. I just remember that, as soon as the accident happened, it seemed like everybody was instantly there to care for us. It was just an amazing moment.”

     

    A later encounter with medical care ended tragically.

     

    “One of my aunts died in a hospital of a medication error. She had three young children,” Woods remembers. “It was something that could have and should have been avoided. To this day, I think about what life could have been like for her kids if that didn’t happen to my Aunt Carmen.”

     

    Thus, patient safety has been a key priority for Woods throughout his career—in fact, his first management job in a hospital was as a director of quality. He recognizes the industry still has a long way to go on that front but says the latest AHA statistics show the trends moving in the right direction. Between 2010 and 2014, the AHA says hospital-acquired conditions decreased by 17 percent, saving 87,000 lives and $20 billion in healthcare costs.

     

    “The goal is to reach zero harm, and I believe the field is on the right track in that regard,” he says.

     

    While he also believes much progress is being made in diversifying senior leadership in healthcare, he’s very firm on how that needs to become a bigger priority at the board level.

     

    “Our boards do not reflect the communities we serve,” he says flatly. “One of the biggest levers in diversifying an organization is when the board declares that it’s a priority. That was done at CHRISTUS and again here at Carolinas. I think it is an obligation of governance.”

     

    What gives him optimism is the work of the AHA Equity of Care Committee, where it’s been demonstrated how diversity leads to improving healthcare disparities. In fact, more than 1,000 health systems recently signed the AHA’s National Call to Action pledge to eliminate disparities. Woods says the goal this year is to have 2,000 systems sign the pledge.

     

    “That pledge includes improving collection of race, ethnicity and language preference data so, as we’re studying disparities in care, we have the right data set to use for that,” he says. “The pledge also includes increasing cultural competency training and increasing diversity in governance and leadership. You can’t solve for population health issues without solving for the disparities in care that exist and, in some cases, very dramatic disparities.”

     

    After many years as a leading voice in healthcare, Woods remains bullish on where the industry is headed. In a recent talk to students at his alma mater, he told them the opportunities are brighter than at any time in recent memory.

     

    “It’s an exciting time to be in healthcare because, in some respects, we’re all learning together,” he says. “Young people have an opportunity to bring an innovative spirit to their careers. But we can never forget that it’s about patients and communities. If you’re in it for those reasons, you’ll be successful.”

     

     

    Diverse governance is a key to population health

    By | March 18 th,  2016 | American Hospital Association, Furst Group, population health, governance, Blog, board of directors, diversity, Trustee magazine, Deanna Banks | Add A Comment

     

    Classic content from Trustee magazine and Furst Group:

     

    "From allocating capital funds to improving community health status, the diverse makeup of the service area has to be factored into decisions, and trustees steeped in the unique factors of that diversity are essential..."

     

    That's the beginning premise of a recent article in Trustee magazine from the American Hospital Association on why diversity in the board room is pivotal for organizations seeking to understand and equip their leadership teams to achieve success in population health.

     

    Without diversity, notes Furst Group principal Deanna Banks in the article, "What you get is a group-think. You've got similar-minded people from a singular exposure making decisions on behalf of things for which they lack insight and understanding -- and sometimes empathy."

     

    Kelvin Westbrook, chair of BJC Healthcare in St. Louis, shares a memorable experience he had years ago about the "shoe test."

     

    "If you look under the table and you don't have a diversity of shoes, you're probably going to get a much narrower perspective on what can and cannot work."

     

    To read the complete article, click here.

     

     

    As Chief Administrative Officer Shirley Weis prepares to retire, her fingerprints are all over Mayo Clinic's success

    By | May 30 th,  2013 | women in leadership, C-suite, CAO, governance, John Noseworthy, Lean In, Mayo Clinic, Mayo Clinic Health System, Minnesota, Shirley Weis, Blog, CEO, Denis Cortese, Destination Medical Center, leadership, Mayo Clinic Care Network, provider, payer, Rochester, Top 25 Women in Healthcare | Add A Comment

     

    One in a series of profiles of Modern Healthcare’s Top 25 Women in Healthcare (sponsored by Furst Group)

     

    It’s a busy time at Mayo Clinic. Plans for the new Destination Medical Center are in full swing. New affiliates are being added to the Mayo Clinic Care Network. A new partnership with Optum Labs is taking the venerable institution into the realm of big data. So why would Chief Administrative Officer Shirley Weis decide to retire now?

     

    Because, she says simply, that’s been the plan all along.

     

    “One of the hallmarks of Mayo is excellent succession planning,” she says. “We’ve put even more attention into it in recent years, making sure that we have a good stable of folks ready from all different backgrounds of diversity and talents.”

     

    And, for those keeping score at home, she says, you’ll notice a pattern to their planning. Weis was named to the No. 2 role at Mayo about halfway through the tenure of then-CEO Denis Cortese, MD. Weis is leaving four years after John Noseworthy, MD, succeeded Cortese. Mayo’s initiative of staggering C-suite entrances and exits keeps disruption to a minimum.

     

    “People don’t understand that Mayo has a term-limit process for these top jobs,” Weis says. “Usually, you’re in these roles for about six to eight years as CEO, CAO or department chair. It’s one of the ways we keep ideas fresh. In some settings, you’ll see people who are named to a role and they’re in it for 30 years. That may work for some organizations but I think that after six or seven years, you’ve done what you came to do.”

     

    Among the tasks that Weis says she is gratified to have accomplished since she stepped into the CAO role seven years ago is changing the structure of the company.

     

    “I have really felt proud of the fact that we were able to get our governance in good shape,” she says. “We went from being a holding company to an integrated operating company. Most of the things I wanted to get underway are now, in fact, underway and are in good hands.”

     

    One of those key ventures is the Mayo Clinic Care Network, in which health systems and physician groups affiliate with Mayo, extending the clinic’s reach beyond its bases of the upper Midwest, Arizona and Florida to the rest of the country. The idea had been created during Dr. Cortese’s tenure but truly came into being about two and a half years ago under Dr. Noseworthy’s leadership, Weis says.

     


    “We have built a very successful Mayo Clinic Health System in the upper Midwest but we understood that merger and acquisition was probably not the best course for us,” she says. “We came up with the idea to start building a network, but we also found more and more hospitals and physician practices approaching us – they wanted to be affiliated.”
    Mayo is up to 18 affiliate agreements but Weis sees a limit to the system’s capacity.

     

    “We do guard our brand jealously. It’s one of the most trusted names in healthcare and part of the promise we have to our patients,” she says. What helps, she adds, is that “the patients are very savvy and sophisticated. They understand that these groups are not Mayo Clinic – they simply have a connection to Mayo Clinic.”

     

    Mayo staff are consulting via phone and doing some cases together electronically. “We think it’s going to be a real model for the patients’ network of care,” Weis says. “Eventually, there may be some insurance products that go on top of the network.”

     

    The blurring of lines between providers and payers is accelerating in the healthcare industry, and Weis has been a key person to lead that charge at Mayo. She was the chief operating officer at Blue Care Network of Michigan, a large HMO, before coming to Minnesota.

     

    ”I feel blessed that I had 10 years of actual care delivery with my emergency-room background, and that I followed that with 10 years in the payer industry,” Weis says. “I wouldn’t trade that for anything. I think it’s helped the organization and, frankly, it is probably why I was selected for this job seven years ago.”

     

    Weis says both providers and payers need to focus on what’s best for the patient – and both need to collaborate more.

     

    “The payer world has the claims information but they don’t have a lot of rich clinical data. The provider world has the rich clinical data but they don’t know what happens after the patient leaves the hospital or the outpatient center, or after they pick up their prescription.”

     

    No matter what happens with healthcare reform, Weis adds, “there’s no more money, so it makes it more incumbent on all of us to figure out how we’re going to meet those patients’ needs and how we can engage the patients better.”

     

    Working with fewer dollars is something Weis experienced a few years ago during the recession when she put in place an administrative shared services program and an enterprise project management office, while also implementing cutting-edge tools for financing and reimbursement. All those things, and a few more, helped Mayo weather the recession without layoffs, though some employees shifted jobs and some changes were made to benefit packages and retirement plans.

     

    Weis had originally come to Mayo in 1995 to lead the Clinic’s managed care division. She resisted the overtures from a recruiter for a time, but finally agreed to a visit.

     

    “I already had a career path, thank you very much,” she says. “But I came to Rochester and started to meet folks, and I was struck by how patient-centered the organization was.”

     

    As she got to know Al Schilmoeller, who was her first boss, she noted that one of his daughters was a pilot and another worked for the Department of Natural Resources. That convinced her that here was a man who knew how to support women in their varied career aspirations. She remembers that, she says, as she mentors early- and mid-career women and men.

     

    “For women or men, for anyone to make it to the next level in your career, you have to be willing to take some risks,” she says.

     

    But she notes that young executives who only know the sound-bite version of Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In” best-seller do need to consider work-life balance.

     

    “I would not be where I am today if I didn’t have a supportive husband. Period. I see many people who want to have that balance, and the one thing I know for a fact is that you can’t always have it all. You can have it all in stages. But I do think that as long as women are in a traditional caregiver, chief household operating officer role, it’s tough to balance that.

     

    “So, particularly with families with young children, I always encourage them to put those kids first because they’re only there for a few years. And then your career is still there.”

     

    Weis came of age at a time when she often was the only woman on the leadership team, and she says progress has been made in gender equity – progress, but not equality.

     

    “I’m a tennis player, and I think of the days of Billie Jean King when Virginia Slims was a sponsor with their slogan, ‘You’ve come a long way, baby.’

     

    “We have come a long way. But I don’t think we’re there yet.”

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