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Leading with transparency

by John W. Mitchell, Senior Correspondent | August 19, 2022
From the August 2022 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

HCB News: What kind of advantages come with being a member of the MercyOne health system?
GVM: The short answer is: many. It would be pretty challenging to be a critical access hospital on our own in today’s environment. MercyOne provides expertise in contracting, supply chain, and recruiting that we couldn’t afford as a stand-alone. We get really good value from the relationship. They’re available 365 days a year. I especially would be worried about IT support for cybersecurity to protect patient information from hackers. That could keep me up at night if we had to figure it out on our own. Their contract resource supports our continuum of care very well. This helps us be more financially viable to provide the services our community needs and wants.

HCB News: When did you take on your new role, and has anything surprised you?
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GVM: I became CEO permanently a year ago November, and was appointed interim in July. Not really any surprises, I had a lot of interaction with staff as CFO. But as CEO, ultimately, I’m responsible at the end of the day because the buck stops at my desk. Our hospital has a fantastic team, which makes the difference and helps us be successful. It’s been a good transition.

HCB News: Do you see the pandemic altering care delivery in any fundamental, long-term ways?
GVM: It certainly did. The pandemic accelerated the shortage of workers and increased supply costs. I don’t see labor and the supply chain going back to the way it was. We lost staff mostly to retirement. Many of them had been here 20 plus years and others were just starting in healthcare when the pandemic started. With the high stress and uncertainty that came with the pandemic, many of them decided to leave the field or retire. I understand that.

HCB News: What is one of the most important lessons you’ve learned in your career?
GVM: It’s very important to be self-aware. A leader must be open-minded and take calculated risk. Without calculated risk, there is no innovation. It’s important to create a space for your team to sometimes fail in the name of innovation. The previous administrator did a fantastic job doing that. When that happens, our customers win. I also learned to be humble, too. When I first got here, we had Jeans Friday, but I didn’t wear jeans. But I got called out by an employee who said: “Why aren’t you wearing jeans. You’re one of us, right?” I learned that you want staff to be honest with you. That kind of culture is very helpful when we are giving candidates a tour, whom we’d want to recruit. They can sense that we’re all engaged and want to also have fun at work.

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