Q&A with WellPoint's Next CEO, Joe Swedish

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , February 15, 2013

HLM: How do you expect to spend your remaining time at Trinity Health?

The good news is there is an incredibly gifted and strong team at Trinity that will carry the responsibilities to new levels of performance. They are very accustomed to achieving. That is a great blessing for the organization that's been formed over many years and one that I am very proud of.

The second point is that I have a lot of hand-offs to administer to new leadership that will come on board and to help support the team in the migration to a new leadership structure. In that regard I have a significant contribution in the governance and management transitions.

I will do what I can regarding some of the recent accomplishments, specifically the consolidation with Catholic Health East. It is of significant importance to me because I have such a command of the process and the transition we envisioned taking place.

There are a lot of moving parts but I'll say it again—it is all about leadership and Trinity has a tremendous leadership team that will carry forward without any hiccups.

HLM: What do you regard as your greatest accomplishments at Trinity?

The organization created a lot of remarkable achievements around its commitment to becoming high performing in both the financial and clinical arenas. Financially it is one of the strongest health systems in the United States. It is recognized by its bond rating, AA, and its year-over-year performance in terms of profitability and cost performance.

Clinically it is a remarkable organization in terms of the pursuit of excellence and promoting quality and safety. The statistics will bear out that it is a safer, higher quality organization than when I arrived eight years ago because of the focus on metrics, the focus on our IT transformation and having unified medical records throughout our organization.

Our integration measures to a large extent have been met. We are taking that to a higher ground as we speak. But obviously we are able to do so because of the foundation that was laid over many years that allowed us to be more unified in our clinical and financial performance.

Finally, the growth of the organization is a remarkable achievement such as our consolidation effort with CHE, our acquisition of other organizations, the entrance into the Chicago marketplace through Loyola University Medical Center and Mercy South in a market where we were not previously engaged. So, those are just a few.

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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