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Q&A with Joe Landsman, CEO of the University of Tennessee Medical Center

by Diana Bradley, Staff Writer | January 18, 2013
Joe Landsman, CEO of The
University of Tennessee
Medical Center
From the January 2013 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

In his eighth year as CEO of UT Medical Center, Joe Landsman’s personal goal is to make sure he leaves the campus in better shape than he found it. He sat down with DOTmed News to explain how he is setting up the facility’s successors in the best possible way to continue the Medical Center’s “great legacy.”

DMBN: How did you get to where you are today?
JL: I’ve been in health care since 1984. I initially started at the Medical Center to help its parent company —University Health System Inc. — purchase UT Medical Center from the University of Tennessee and the state. My first order of business was to put together the financing package to do that. From there, I began taking on operational and financial responsibilities, and a couple years after that I was placed in my current role.

DMBN: What have been some of the highlights during your time with the hospital?
JL: When I took over as CEO, we embarked on what I would call a three-step journey. It is all about quality care and safety, both for patients and staff, as well as the level of service provided to patients. We also want to ensure our own team members’ satisfaction. We aim to be efficient and effective.

The first step on that journey was the Magnet designation, which we achieved last year; the second step, which we are right in the middle of, is the TN Center for Performance Excellence; and the last step is trying to achieve Baldrige designation.

These are principles that have been studied and are attributable to high performing organizations. We have byproducts of that journey that are popping up. The most recent one is that U.S. News & World Report recognized us as one of America’s Best Hospitals in 2012. While that was never a goal for us, it is a validation that other things we are doing are certainly driving us towards being an outstanding, high performing hospital. We wouldn’t be where we are without our medical center’s great team members and medical staff.

DMBN: How are challenges in the health care industry impacting your hospital?
JL: We are facing challenges with our reimbursement structure; we don’t know what that’s ultimately going to look like at this point and nobody is sure where that is going to go. We do know we are going to be expected to provide more care at higher volumes, but be paid less for it. This is at top-ofmind for many hospital CEOs today.

DMBN: In November, you took over as chairman elect of the TN Hospital Association. Tell us a bit about how you work with other hospital decision makers in your area.
JL: I meet monthly with all of my competing CEOs that run other health systems in town. While we are fierce competitors, there is enough common ground, where if we work together, we can all benefit our individual facilities, as well as our patients.

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