"The Ronan Report" provides insight about the activities at the Western Maryland Health System in Cumberland, Maryland, and about the changes taking place in healthcare today from a CEO's perspective.

Monday, April 25, 2016

We Are Unique

Last week after the Dr. Perman lecture, I stopped to thank him.  He was engaged in a conversation with Hans Killius, the WMHS Director of Pastoral Care.  Hans had a cell phone and a pager on the table in front of him.  I commented that I didn't realize that we still use pagers at WMHS.  We all laughed.  

The next morning, I received an email from Hans commenting on the preceding evening's event and asked that if I ever wanted to take chaplaincy call that I could and it would be assuredly eyeopening.  I responded that my days of "on call" were over, excluding urgent or emergent situations involving the CEO.  I explained that my start in health care was processing bedpans in Central Sterile Service as an equipment orderly.  I continued that throughout my career from that entry-level health care position to CEO and every position in between (Equipment Technician; Equipment Supervisor; Manager CSS; Assistant Director, Materials Management; Director, Materials Management; Assistant VP; VP; Chief Operating Officer; and CEO), that I had not only spent decades on call but also worked years of weekends and holidays.  During such time, I had to deal with some very interesting and enlightening situations over my 41 years in health care.  I told Hans that I would leave the eyeopeners of today to both him and his associates.  

Hans responded that he was glad that I knew health care from the front lines.  He said that knowing my career path will empower his advocacy of health care leadership and our health system going forward in the presence of occasional negative and ill willed messages.  (Very well stated.)  

Hans' response got me to thinking as to how fortunate and unique we are to have an administrative team that pretty much began their careers in health care at levels well below administration.  Many in health care leadership upon completion of their graduate degrees (MBAs, MHA, MPH, etc.) go directly into administration and never experience the "front lines," using Hans' terminology.  Personally, I have found working at every level of health care has been exceedingly beneficial and rewarding, as have my colleagues at WMHS.  The following is a list of our Senior VPs and VPs at WMHS and where they started in the front lines of health care:

  • Nancy Adams, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Nurse Executive - EEG Technician at Sacred Heart
  • Dr. Jerry Goldstein, Chief Medical Officer - Dishwasher at Baltimore County General Hospital
  • Kim Repac - Chief Financial Officer - Staff Accountant at Sacred Heart
  • Bill Byers - Chief Technology Officer - Computer Systems Manager at Memorial
  • Jamie Karstetter, Vice President Patient Care Services - EVS Assistant
  • Michele Martz, Vice President, Clinics and Practices - Staff Accountant at Memorial
  • Kevin Turley, Vice President, Operations - Manager, Sacred Heart Home Medical Equipment
  • Jo Wilson, Vice President, Operations - Radiologic Technologist
Impressive to say the least!

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