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Q&A with David Cheney, Banner Boswell Medical Center's CEO

by Diana Bradley, Staff Writer | November 01, 2012
From the November 2012 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

DMBN: How long have you been CEO of the hospital and how did you get to where you are today?
DC: I have been CEO since September 2008, but I’ve actually been with part of the Banner Health system for 30 years. Banner came into existence in 2000. And it was a merger of two other systems: Lutheran Health Systems, based in North Dakota, and Samaritan Health System, based in Phoenix. Prior to the year 2000, I was with the Samaritan Health System. I started out as a paramedic and moved my way through the organization in different roles. In September 2008, I was the senior administrator at Banner’s big tertiary hospital in downtown Phoenix. That month, Banner acquired Sun Health Corp. At that time, they asked me to come up here and be the CEO.

DMBN: What have been some of the highlights during your time with the hospital?
DC: Being recognized as one of the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals by Thomson Reuters was a big highlight for us. We have transformed the culture here to one of being the best and achieving excellence, and this is a good mile marker for us that shows we are heading in the right direction.

DMBN: What are your main goals as CEO?
DC: I’ve got about 2000 staff, 1000 volunteers and 700 medical staff. My personal goal is to watch this group of people really become everything they want to become and help them achieve what they are capable of achieving. My group wants to become an excellent hospital, provide a fantastic patient experience, be the safest hospital in the U.S., and they want great clinical outcomes. Further to this, our mission statement is really important, and we really do live by it. We aim to make a difference in people’s lives through excellent patient care. That is something we don’t just talk about, but actually live through.

DMBN: What are the biggest challenges facing your hospital and the health care industry in general today?
DC: The whole changing landscape of health care is a challenge for us. In addition to that, we have decreasing reimbursement for Medicare. And given we are in a very large Medicare population, that’s a big challenge for us. Furthermore, we do have Medicaid problems.

DMBN: With reimbursement cuts and the current economic issues going on, what actions have your facility taken to cut costs and curb spending?
DC: The system has undergone a significant reflection on our structure.We have asked: How do we restructure what we do on a day-to-day basis to take care of patients under a very different model going forward? In some cases, when we talk about health care in the future, we understand we are going to need more case management RNs. At the same time, we look at those opportunities at each facility and see if there is an opportunity for us to centralize some of those functions and become more efficient.

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