by Sean Ruck
, Contributing Editor | July 04, 2017
From the July 2017 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
In advance of the annual AHRA meeting taking place July 9-12 in Anaheim, Calif., HealthCare Business News caught up with the association’s president, Jason Newmark.
HCB News: What inspired you to get into the health care field?
Growing up in my family, I remember feeling as though it was simply, “go be a lawyer, go be a doctor.” It felt as though most of the parents I knew were in one of these fields and I don’t remember ever thinking about doing anything else. In college, I took all the classes and courses required to consider medical school, but these courses were too black and white and rigid for me. I’m a person that likes bouncing around, likes talking, challenging the norm, so I looked for options to change from the ”hard” sciences to opportunities to play to my more social and personal strengths. I had a great mentor in college that suggested I look into a degree in health care administration. I took his advice and went from there.
HCB News: Why did you join the AHRA and why did you get involved at the level you’ve risen to?
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I’m not a radiology tech, nor do I have any training as one. After earning my master’s in Health Administration, and then completing a one-year administrative fellowship at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, I transitioned into the world of health care management consulting. In 2003, the firm I worked for had a client that needed an interim director in a radiology department. We met with the client and they brought us on to focus on a few key operational improvement initiatives (scheduling/access/service levels and report turnaround times).
Admittedly, I was 100 percent outside my comfort zone trying to learn the technical aspects of radiology, but I was very comfortable with overall project management and interacting with staff, providers, and especially, senior management. I spent the first few weeks working side by side with staff and gaining a much better understanding of what the issues and opportunities were with general workflows. I was able to be a strong translator and advocate for what the radiology department needed, from more technical speak to financial and executive summary presentations and recommendations.
At that time, I was probably traveling about 120 days a year. I had just gotten married and that travel wasn’t the lifestyle we wanted. This client made me an offer to stay on board as an operational manager. They then hired a director (David Sack) to come in to fill that interim role that the firm had been hired to support. David was the best mentor and challenged me to be a better leader and better person overall. Within our first few weeks he then told me that I would be joining him on a trip to an AHRA meeting to learn more about radiology.