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Leading with transparency

por John W. Mitchell, Senior Correspondent | August 19, 2022
From the August 2022 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

HCB News: What initially drew you to Hansen Family Hospital?
GVM: I was looking for a CFO opportunity, I had previously been a director of finance. Our kids were finishing up school, so it was a good time to look for a hospital that needed me where I could contribute to the mission. My wife and I like small towns and we’ve always lived in small towns when possible. I connected well with the CEO at that time, he expressed a good vision about the future of the hospital. During my interviews, I noticed that many of the department leaders had been here for a long time and their faces lit up when they talked about their experience at the hospital. My interest was always to continue in healthcare administration so when I joined the Hansen Family Hospital team, my years of experience was beneficial when working with the former CEO to create a succession path. As part of the senior management team, it was helpful for the hospital to have a plan in place to work through such leadership transitions when the time came for him to retire.

HCB News: How would you describe the leadership style of the organization?
GVM: Transparent. As leaders, it's important take feedback, exchange ideas, share results, and communicate short and long-term plans. Transparency and accountability are important for building a culture of trust so we can focus on our main objective: creating a patient care experience based on our mission and values. Continuous communication is key to maintaining that culture of trust so colleagues are aware of what is going on within the organization and are able to contribute and provide feedback to leaders. I regularly make rounds to departments to understand how the different areas of the hospital operate. It gives me a one-on-one opportunity to speak with the staff and understand how I can support them.

HCB News: What are the patient demographics that you're serving?
GVM: We have an older population; our payer mix is 50% Medicare. We also a have population of Vietnam and Gulf War veterans and some Hispanic population. Our population mix is pretty typical for a rural community.

HCB News: Are there any special projects or initiatives you are undertaking or planning to undertake?
GVM: We have a couple of renovation projects in progress. First there is an ED department renovation. Ours is an eight-year-old building, so we’ve got some experience thinking about colleague, patient, and visitor safety. We get a lot of behavioral health patients into the ER so we’re putting some safety changes in place. The same with a better infectious control layout, that was big lesson from the pandemic. We’re also using former administrative space at the front of the building to create a better infectious control patient flow. We recently outsourced billing, so that space is being converted to clinical use. While we’ve seen our Covid positivity rate decline, experience tells us that it can rise again. We want to be better prepared with patient flow if it happens again. Our clinical teams are very excited about these projects.

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