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Q&A with Sean Fowler

by Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | May 29, 2014
Sean Fowler
From the May 2014 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

In early February, Sean Fowler stepped into the role of CEO for Marina Del Rey in Los Angeles. DOTmed HealthCare Business News spoke with him about the challenges and advantages of running an independent facility in today’s health care environment.

HCBN: How did you get involved in the health care industry?
Sean Fowler:
It was quite frankly accidental. I grew up in South Texas on a ranch and I was always taking care of the cattle and horses. I was really interested in the scientific side of the care and ultimately went to Texas A&M with the intent to become a veterinarian. I realized I enjoy serving those in need — it’s an ultimate service because you’re dealing with life and death. I thought about becoming a physician, but realized it wasn’t just the science part that’s important, but the service people receive as well. Then I was walking around campus one day and saw a sign for hospital administration and I realized that was where I could impact policy. And next thing I knew, I was enrolled at University of Houston. It’s all about being of service to humankind.

HCBN: How did you get connected with Marina Del Rey Hospital?
Health care is a small world — most industries are. I had been out in Barsto CHS — they gave me $80 million to build a hospital from the ground up. I went out and was successful and improved the care to the community, but there’s that awkward moment, when your spouse just determines that it’s not the right fit for a place to settle down. I started poking around and my network led me to Marina Del Rey. In 1999, I actually lived in Manhattan Beach and really liked that area, so from the all-around perspective and the fact that it made my wife and my five-year-old son Russell so happy, it was a win all around.

HCBN: What challenges do you face as the new CEO for Marina Del Rey?
I think all hospitals are facing the same challenge of working with the ACA and doing more, more focus on customer service, but with less money. We’re a standalone hospital – I don’t view that as a negative, I view that as an advantage, because we’re able to move more quickly to do what we need to do. The challenge ultimately is to keep patients healthy and happy.

HCBN: What do you see as major challenges for health care as an industry? What goals have you set for yourself and your staff?
I think we’re going to focus on the economics — making sure that the hospital is taken care of financially — keeping the doors open. We’ll also focus on HCAP — making sure that the customer satisfaction is rendered well. I’m holding my staff to improving that. I think that as an admin, if I focus on the quality of service provided here, by virtue of that and the synergy, we’ll do well financially.

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