What healthcare leaders need to know now


At Ascension, Patricia Maryland’s patient-centered focus aligns with a passion for analytics

By | September 25th, 2015 | Blog | 1 Comment


Patricia Maryland: “As we think about population health management and the direction that the health industry is moving, analytics and the ability to predict outcomes using data is so important.”


One in a series of interviews with Modern Healthcare’s Top 25 Women in Healthcare for 2015.


As the oldest daughter in a large family, Patricia Maryland, Dr.PH, was often left in charge when her mother was hospitalized during a years-long struggle with Type 2 diabetes. Her mother eventually died of complications from the condition, and Maryland recalls her frustration with the fragmented healthcare system in which they found themselves.


“We didn’t understand at that time she needed more than general primary care,” she says. “Someone should have been helping us navigate her care to the appropriate subspecialist and other support systems as her condition continued to worsen.”


Unfortunately, similar stories have played out within hospitals and health systems across the United States.


As president of healthcare operations and chief operating officer of Ascension Health, a subsidiary of Ascension, Maryland is committed to leading change – knowing from experience the great need for personalized, coordinated care in this ever-changing healthcare environment.


“I think we can do a better job in healthcare,” says Maryland. “The time has come for us to turn the process upside down – or should I say right-side up – organizing the providers around the needs of the patients, not expecting the patients to figure where to go in our complicated health systems to get the care they need at the convenience of the providers.”


As the world’s largest Catholic health system, Ascension’s mission is steeped in delivering spiritually-centered, holistic care to all with special attention to those who are poor and vulnerable. Maryland makes a point of saying that all healthcare leadership should approach the business of healthcare from a similar perspective.


“Without passion for why we are here and what we are trying to do, we will not be able to be the transformational leaders that healthcare needs today.”


That passion has not dampened her business objectivity, however. Quite the contrary. Maryland’s passion is paralleled only by her dedication to analytics, cultivated through her master’s degree in biostatistics and doctorate in public health. Read more…



Adapt, commit and listen: A physician’s advice on leadership development

By | September 17th, 2015 | Blog | Add A Comment


“It is incredibly helpful to talk through work-related issues with someone who is invested in your success.”--Dr. Ira Nash


By Bob Clarke

CEO, Furst Group


Physician leadership is a hot topic in our industry today and deservedly so – in the move to value-based care, who better to lead that charge than the clinicians?


Many organizations exist to help the physicians who are willing to embark on that journey to leadership. In fact, Furst Group has a successful program that you can read about here if you wish.


Sometimes, some of the lessons that stay with us most are stories. And so, in that light, I’d like to share some insightful notes we found on the blog of Ira Nash, MD, senior vice president and executive director of the North Shore-LIJ Medical Group in New York.


Dr. Nash recently shared his career journey with members of his organization’s leadership academies. His career path was not as well-planned as it might have appeared, he says.


“I was not ‘aiming’ for where I ended up,” he writes. “There were lots of points in time where it could have gone in an entirely different direction.”


In addition, he notes that it was not simply his own talent that brought him to where he is today — he had invaluable help along the way. “I was fortunate to have a supportive spouse and a few key mentors, the value of both being hard to over-estimate.”


Although he is a veteran leader, his three key pieces of advice are very contemporary:


    Healthcare is in a state of flux; adapt: “The world is changing too fast to expect that you can reliably predict what your work environment will be like or what opportunities may arise more than 3-5 years ahead.”


    When you make a decision, let go of the past: Nash was named to an interim post he very much wanted but was still trying to hold onto his old position — until someone told him “it is really hard to steal second base if you never take your foot off of first.”


    Get wise counsel, such as a coach: “It is incredibly helpful to talk through work-related issues with someone who is invested in your success. All too often, the people we work with have their own agendas.”


Read the full post here.





A CEO’s candid thoughts on building trust with the board

By | September 11th, 2015 | Blog | Add A Comment


Liam McGee chose the path of transparency in dealings with his board of directors.



Liam McGee helped turn around the Hartford Financial Services Group (“The Hartford”) during his tenure as chairman and CEO from 2009 to 2014. Before he died from cancer last February, he penned a very honest piece of advice for CEOs and boards everywhere. Though Harvard Business Review gave it the title, “CEOs, Stop Trying to Manage the Board,” it might be more aptly headlined, “How to Build Trust with the Trustees.”


McGee banned PowerPoint decks from presentations to the board. His team gave trustees highlights they could read in advance and used the time with the board to have some genuine dialogue on important matters. “Real transparency, I learned, isn’t so much in the numbers, but in open conversation,” he wrote.


Yet the chairman had a more significant moment of truth when one of his senior leaders left and criticized McGee’s management style to the board during his exit. What would he do now?


McGee took the conventional route and hired a coach. Then he did something very unconventional. He gave his directors an overview of the coach’s assessment, including the parts critical of McGee. Then the board added some feedback of its own. Though it was difficult, McGee came to see that the board really wanted him to succeed. One of his trustees became an unofficial coach for him as well. And with trust growing, it gave McGee and the company the confidence to make tough decisions that positioned The Hartford for the future after the recession.


“A CEO,” McGee noted, “can work in partnership with directors without sacrificing his or her authority — and thereby accomplish far more than is possible with an arm’s-length relationship.”


Some great grist for the mill here. Read the full article here.





Top 25 Women in Healthcare: A photo sampler

By | September 9th, 2015 | Blog | Add A Comment



It recently was our privilege to sponsor Modern Healthcare’s 2015 Top 25 Women in Healthcare gala in Nashville, Tenn. The full Flickr feed of photos from the event can be found here: http://bit.ly/1LilYCT


In the meantime, we hope you’ll enjoy some of the moments from this significant industry event.



















Even a small decision can have a large impact. So how do you make a good one?

By | September 4th, 2015 | Blog | Add A Comment


Decisions are powerful.



Leaders concern themselves with the big picture, and rightfully so. But every so often, it’s worth reminding ourselves that decisions large and small have a major impact on our organizations, our people and our own lives.


Entrepreneur and coach Jeff Boss gives some eminently practical guidance on decision-making in his latest post:


“The choices you make as a leader can have powerful impacts,” he notes. “The ‘chance of a lifetime’ can appear out of nowhere only to turn into something painful. Conversely, there are those opportunities that don’t seem worthy of a second glance at the time but eventually wriggle their way on to your missed opportunity list.”


So how do you make a good decision? Boss offers nine tests to see how the decision you face will work out for all concerned. Here are a few of his statements:


Good decisions positively impact others.


Good decisions are replicable.


Good decisions include others.


Good decisions are accountable.


Good decisions involve self-awareness.


Want to learn more? Read his full post here.





Karen Ignagni: The post-ACA landscape offers a blank slate for visionary leaders

By | September 2nd, 2015 | Blog | Add A Comment


Karen Ignagni: “There’s no handbook for where we are today. As a leader, you need to understand that and be willing to take out a blank piece of paper and create your vision.”


One in a series of interviews with Modern Healthcare’s Top 25 Women in Healthcare for 2015.


The healthcare industry is in a time of historic change. Hospitals and health systems are merging and acquiring each other; health insurers are doing the same. The provider and payer worlds themselves are converging as health systems create their own health plans and insurers are affiliating with providers.


But no one should read into what is happening now as a guarantee of what the industry will look like when the tectonic plates stop shifting, says Karen Ignagni, the new CEO of EmblemHealth who recently completed an incredibly influential run as CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP). Ignagni spoke with Furst Group during her final days at AHIP and before taking over at EmblemHealth.


“The way to think about convergence is that it’s the beginning of numerous possibilities,” she says, “and how it evolves will be dependent upon individual market dynamics and individual stakeholder leadership.”


Despite the uncertainty, it should be an exciting time for innovators, Ignagni notes.


“It’s crucial to be open-minded and not think the past is prologue,” she says. “Some folks love that idea; others who are looking to continue a strategy charted some years ago are terrified by it. There’s no handbook for where we are today. As a leader, you need to understand that and be willing to take out a blank piece of paper and create your vision.”


Ignagni leaves no uncertainty as to where she stands on that issue.


“If you can think about this as the best of times, then you’ll have an opportunity to make an enduring contribution.” Read more…