Q&A:  Award-winning CEO on Running a Small Hospital

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , December 5, 2012

HLM: Will VVMC be part of any mergers or acquisitions?

"The board has evaluated that several times and at this point they don't see an advantage in doing that. But they are always watching to see what is out there and what makes sense.

Because we are so rural and distant from a big city—we are 100 miles north of Phoenix—there may not be that many economies of scale. But the board is keenly aware and every couple of years re-evaluates it."

HLM: How can other hospital leaders emulate your success?

"First, you have to be true to yourself and do what is right for the patient. If you're doing what is right for the patient good things will happen. It simplifies the process. A lot of people say it but they don't necessarily live by it.

You have to put the accountability and all of the processes behind that but when you do it makes decisions a lot easier. Does this make sense for the patient? Whether it is an operational thing or an efficiency thing in the past you'd say 'it makes sense for the nurse or doctor, but look what it's doing for the patient.'

Then you'd say 'we'd better switch back.' But if you are truly doing it with the patient in mind it does make decisions easier. There are things you wouldn't see before because of your own personal biases. If you're a nurse or a doctor or a tech or an administrator you'd think things should go this way but if you follow the patient path it becomes more efficient."

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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