As a partner to more than 5,000 member organizations, The Advisory Board Company is fortunate to have relationships with many of the leading health care CEOs in the country. This year, more than a dozen hospital and health system CEOs sat for interviews that ran in the Daily Briefing and shared their thoughts on leadership, strategy, and the future of health care.
While all of the interviews are worth reading in full, the Daily Briefing editorial team has selected quotes from each that provide insight into what it takes to be a leading health care CEO in a rapidly changing market.
We look forward to continuing our "Lessons from the C-suite" series in 2016 and hearing from remarkable leaders in a remarkable industry.
“Never lose sight of the fact that leading health care organizations is a great privilege and responsibility. Ours is very important work … You've got to get down deep and understand the central dynamics that drive your business—both operationally and in terms of your marketplace.”
Richard Gilfillan, president and CEO of Trinity Health
- The full interview: How an ACO champion—now a health system CEO—plans to put one in every market
- Six communities, $80 million: Trinity Health's big bet on population health
- CHE Trinity partners with nation's largest pharmacy for coordinated care
“People thought I was absolutely nuts because I took a job that paid maybe 10% of my previous salary. But health care disparities is a passionate subject for me.”
Ram Raju, president and CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals
- The full interview: Was it 'absolutely nuts' to take a 90% pay cut? A CEO reflects.
- Raju: What hospitals don't understand about the patients of the future
- Why one of the nation's largest hospital systems just overhauled its management structure
“My job is to hire the smartest, brightest people possible and let them do their job. Agree on the vision, agree on the strategy, and let them work.”
Joel Allison, CEO of Baylor Scott & White Health
- The full interview, part one: How two CEOs found a 'third way' and created one super-system
- The full interview, part two: When a super-system forms: How two CEOs foster a 'shared culture'
- Why recruiters are looking to insurers, Amazon to fill hospital C-suites
“What I tell everybody what's different this time around—what's different than the other attempts to reform our industry—is that the safety net's gone. Whether you like the Affordable Care Act or not, I don't see any of those cuts being reversed. The federal budget can't take it.”
Patrick Fry, outgoing president and CEO of Sutter Health
- The full interview: Why Sutter Health partners with other providers: 'We're not a believer that we have to do it all.'
- A promising care model for patients with serious illnesses
- Sutter hospital awarded Baldrige Award
“Realistic optimism is a really important concept as a leader. One of the things that [outgoing CEO Patrick Fry] has been really successful in projecting is a sense of confidence but not overconfidence. We're confident that we can take on this challenge and succeed, but it's going to be hard work.”
Sarah Krevans, incoming president and CEO of Sutter Health
- The full interview: Meet Sarah Krevans, Sutter Health's next CEO
- Salmon with surgery? Hotel 'room service' comes to hospital food service
- What the hospital 'CEO of the future' looks like
“The attitude on our part is we're not going anyplace we're not wanted. There won't be any hostile takeover. But if somebody wants our help, we are prepared and ready to help. That's how we built the system.”
Michael Tarwater, CEO of Carolinas HealthCare System
- The full interview: Why one CEO made a $36M bet on behavioral health
- Making an Impact: Carolinas HealthCare System
- Make smarter deals with a dedicated M&A team
“You have to remember why you're doing population health and have a good reason to do it. Not to be cool, not because Modern Healthcare says you should be doing it, but because it will provide better care for the local community and you have the capability to make it work.”
Trevor Fetter, president and CEO of Tenet Healthcare
- The full interview: He took a job no one wanted. How Trevor Fetter brought Tenet back from a crisis, and where he thinks health care is headed.
- Tenet poised to become America's largest ambulatory surgery provider
- Tenet enters market for urgent care clinics
“Even in its short history ... our new health plan has begun to change the whole system. It has become a catalyst that enhances our focus on care management, on utilization, on access and on price.”
Michael Dowling, president and CEO of North-Shore Long Island Jewish Health System
- The full interview: He was told he'd never go to college. Now he's CEO of an $8 billion health system.
- Advisory Board congratulates members on the 'Most Influential' list
- How to 'sell' care management to your patients
“We are all talking about this movement from volume to value. Most executives can say the words, but I think there are very few who understand how perilous that gap is. Either end is fine. It is life in the gap that's tough—and that is where most people are going to be over the next few years.”
Jim Hinton, president and CEO of Presbyterian Healthcare Services
- The full interview: Why one health system quit the ACO program—and partnered with Intel instead
- More on Presbyterian: Intel creates an ACO-style narrow network for its workers
- Why the CFO wants to put off value-based care—but shouldn't
“We've been doing population health since 1995. The truth is: it takes a long time—longer than I think politicians want to wait. In fact, it took us five years of losing money. It probably wasn't until the early 2000s, when we were writing off the losses, that we began to have a margin in that activity.”
Steven Safyer, president and CEO of Montefiore Health System
- The full interview: How fighting AIDS and tuberculosis prepared a young physician to become a CEO
- The story behind top Pioneer ACO Montefiore's success
- When hospitals launch their own health plans, insurance negotiations get trickier
“Retail medicine is based on a premise of high demand for easy-access episodic care to relieve symptoms of minor illness. Population health management will require models that reduce utilization of episodic care which begs the question are the two trends in conflict with one another? Time will tell.”
Steven Lipstein, president and CEO of BJC HealthCare
- The full interview: CEO: Retail medicine isn't a direct threat to hospitals—but dramatic primary care changes are coming
- How hospitals are becoming more 'retail' in response to the retail revolution
- What hospitals can learn from Walmart about supply-chain management
“Doctors think systematically about disease, but they don't think systematically about patient populations. That skill set is closer to what economists and political scientists do, whether it's looking at heat maps or referral patterns. I believe in the value of bringing the social sciences and medicine together.”
Ralph Muller, CEO of the University of Pennsylvania Health System
- The full interview: Why this CEO wants to know your favorite baseball team—and how it's shaping strategy
- Study: How AMCs can launch strong ACOs
- Should med students really memorize the Krebs Cycle? The case for a curriculum revamp
“My role as CEO is to make sure that this focus remains a part of the fabric of our organization going forward—that we continue to do what we can to improve the health of the communities.”
Kevin E. Lofton, CEO of Catholic Health Initiatives
- The full interview: Why Kevin Lofton banished 'bullet points' from his hospitals
- Major health system now moving 'full bore' toward becoming an insurer, too
- Lessons from the C-suite: Kevin Lofton, CEO of Catholic Health Initiatives
“The beauty of the national discussion on the Affordable Care Act wasn't what resulted from the act itself or the exchanges or any of that. It was the fact that patients became more educated about health care and they're more engaged now.”
Nick Turkal, CEO of Aurora Health Care
- The full interview: Aurora Health Care has had a great year. So why does its CEO want it to 'self-disrupt'?
- When you invest in patient experience—what are you paying for?
- The four reasons hospitals struggle to engage patients
“Focus relentlessly on the mission. Patient care, education, research, and community benefit are the mission of the institution. So, throughout the time I've been the CEO, we've constantly reaffirmed: Patient care is primary within the institution's mission, but without the other three elements we would not be the same organization, nor honoring the reason we exist.”
Thomas Priselac, president and CEO of Cedars-Sinai Health System
- The full interview: Cedars-Sinai's CEO survived an earthquake on his first day. Here's what shake-ups he sees for the health care industry.
- How Cedars-Sinai made SNFs its readmissions reduction partner
- Would you partner with six rivals to start an HMO? These hospitals just did.
“I believe that partnerships and integrations are going to remain a robust part of the health care landscape, especially as we move to value-based and total cost of care models of care. We believe that greater scale will help us improve access and make health care more affordable.”
Marna Borgstrom, president and CEO of Yale New Haven Health System
- The full interview: Yale New Haven CEO's journey from unit secretary to the C-suite
- Modern Healthcare names the industry's 'Top 25 Women'
- How your pharmacist can be in six places at once
Other lessons from the C-suite
The Daily Briefing also interviewed several other health care executives this year:
Bob Pryor, president and CMO, Baylor Scott & White Health
How two CEOs found a 'third way' and created one super-system
Larry Robbins, founder and CEO, Glenview Capital Management
Did this hedge fund leader invest in your hospital? Here's how he decides.
Patrick Conway, CMO and acting principal deputy administrator, CMS
How the government's chief medical officer views the health care industry