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“A piece of leadership advice (and I would argue good life advice) I would give is to truly commit to lifelong learning.”
Delvecchio S. Finley, FACHE, is the winner of ACHE's 2014 Robert S. Hudgens Memorial Award for Young Healthcare Executive of the Year. He will be honored with the award in March at the Malcolm T. MacEachern Memorial Lecture and Luncheon during ACHE's 57th Congress on Healthcare Leadership in Chicago. He will also particpate in a Q&A session at the Early Careerist Breakfast at Congress, Wednesday, March 26. Click here to register for Congress or update your registration to attend the breakfast.
Q. Briefly describe your job responsibilities.
A. I am responsible for all day-to-day operations of the hospital and accountable for planning, organizing and directing the hospital to ensure that quality patient care is provided and that the financial integrity of the hospital is maintained. In addition, I ensure compliance with applicable laws, regulations, policies and procedures that the governing board and medical staff set forth, as well as The Joint Commission standards. I am also responsible for creating an environment and culture that enables the hospital to fulfill its mission by meeting or exceeding its goals, conveying the hospital mission to all staff, holding staff accountable for performance, motivating staff to improve performance, recognizing and rewarding performance, and being responsible for the measurement, assessment and improvement of the hospital's performance.
Q. What was the one spark that led you to become a hospital leader?
A. I decided I wanted to become a healthcare executive just before graduating from college. As an undergraduate chemistry major, I, like many of my colleagues, had intentions on becoming a physician. I served in several clinical and administrative roles at a local hospital, but while in my senior year, a physical chemistry course helped to ascertain what was becoming a clearer reality for me—I had maximized my scientific ambitions and was no longer motivated to become a physician. Despite this reality, I continued to have a great love for hospitals and healthcare in general and decided to pursue a career in healthcare administration.
Q. What has been the most challenging aspect of being a CEO?
A. Being a CEO, especially in a safety-net organization, has presented a plethora of challenges. But the most over-arching challenge I face is striving to ensure that I maximize my most valuable toolâ€”time. Harbor-UCLA Medical Center is a level-1 trauma center, acute-care teaching hospital, and ambulatory care provider of both primary and specialty-care services. Like many organizations, we are striving to become a high-reliability provider that consistently delivers high-quality care that is safe, efficient, cost-effective, and emphasizes wellness and prevention. My responsibility is to ensure that all parts of the organization are aligned to achieve our vision. To do so, I have to acutely focus on where I expend my time. This means making sure I allocate the right amount of time rounding and engaging staff, physicians, patients and partners within all levels of the organization. This requires not only ensuring that meetings I attend are efficient and effective, but also that any meeting itself (or my presence at it) is necessary at all.
Q. What do you attribute as keys to your success? What leadership advice do you have for an early careerist?
A. In healthcare administration, it's important to note that any success we achieve is made possible through the efforts of others. With this fundamental belief, I would say that the keys to any success I've had thus far include: humility; determination; a solid support network of family, friends and mentors; opportunity; and divine intervention. A piece of leadership advice (and I would argue good life advice) I would give is to truly commit to lifelong learning. I've used my local chapter, Congress on Healthcare Leadership and other events to strengthen and learn new skills. Sometimes the skills I learned didn't immediately apply to the position I had at the time, but much, if not all, of it eventually has. If you are learning skills not yet applicable to your current position, I recommend finding ways to apply these skills through either volunteer activities or entrepreneurial endeavors.
Q. How has ACHE helped in your career and professional development?
A. I say with all sincerity that ACHE has been one of the most significant contributors to my professional development, primarily through educational offerings, networking opportunities and opportunities to serve. I joined ACHE after graduate school and had instant access to thousands of colleagues to whom I could reach out to for guidance, insight and support (which I did then and still do today). Serving actively at the local chapter level, I was able to develop an even closer network of colleagues and mentors to provide job leads, continued education and growth, encouragement, and opportunities to improve my leadership skills. Finally, becoming an ACHE Fellow as an early careerist allowed me to distinguish myself both within my organization and throughout the profession.
Practical Finance and Waste Reduction Tips
By John M. Buell
You may believe the jumble of opportunities, interests, regulations, resources and restrictions in the healthcare field can seem extreme. You would not be wrong. Even seasoned executives, administrators and managers struggle to make sense of the outside regulations, standards, rules and guidelines often imposed from outside the organization. Nonetheless, it is the job of all employees, contractors and physicians to meet or exceed these standards.
This article will focus on two areas of importance to help you improve your immediate area of responsibility if not your entire organization: practical finance and waste reduction approaches. Steven H. Berger, FACHE, president, Healthcare Insights LLC, Libertyville, Ill., provides advice on strengthening your approaches to financial management, and Wendy Novicoff, PhD, associate professor, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, Va., offers two points every healthcare manager should consider when taking on waste reduction and process improvement efforts.
Within the financial realm, there is opportunity for improvements, yet much of this has not yet been addressed in a cogent and actionable manner at the hospital and health system levels, according to Berger. “Many young healthcare executives have been educated in MHA classes, which tend to teach financial theory with a smattering of practice thrown in,” says Berger, who teaches three seminars for ACHE on financial management.
Berger provides three practical tips that can be used immediately to help improve your area’s financial results.
- Create achievable metric-based goals—always the first step—and ask yourself what do I want my area to achieve? “Lay it out clearly, cleanly and objectively,” says Berger. “Then, don’t take ‘no’ for an answer. Just make sure that the subordinates understand the goals and that failure is not an option.”
- Develop reports that are extremely easy to use, read and interpret. If your finance department has not provided you with these kind of reports, then do it yourself. “You cannot employ accountability management without understandable goals and reporting mechanisms,” he says.
- Use a strong level of accountability management, with a clear definition of what is expected. “When expectations are not met, then actions up to and including termination of employment need to be used to ensure that the highly sought out goals are met.”
Novicoff says two things you should consider when undergoing any waste reduction or process improvement effort are: identify who the primary customer is and determine the processes that occur behind the process that you are trying to improve.
Most healthcare professionals believe the patient is the ultimate customer, and that is definitely true. But in many process improvement endeavors, patients are only indirectly benefited. In any waste reduction effort, determining who the primary beneficiary will be is extremely important. Often it is a physician, another administrator or even outside agencies like The Joint Commission, according to Novicoff.
“A physician or other healthcare provider becomes a customer quite a lot,” says Novicoff, who teaches research methodology to graduate and medical students and is also a Six Sigma Master Black Belt and Lean Sensei. “The OR is always an interesting place to try to reduce waste because the surgeon is often not only the primary customer but also the head supplier, as he or she has such a big impact on how processes in the OR are run.”
A second easy and practical waste reduction opportunity can be found in areas of a process that tend to get overlooked. “It’s the process behind the process, or white space between steps in a process,” says Novicoff.
For example, consider the patient consult process. Once a consult is requested, the process should move forward unabated. “But we learned there was a lot going on in the process that caused delays in even getting to the consult-request stage,” says Novicoff. “It wasn’t anything obvious at first. We were able to learn after fully mapping the process that important information was needed before the decision about requesting a consult could be made.Â It completely changed the perspective of the team.”
$200 Board of Governors Examination Fee Waiver Offer Starts March 1
Make your goal of earning the FACHE® credential in 2014 a reality. And when you submit yourcompleted Fellow application with the $250 application fee between March 1 and June 30, ACHE will waive the $200 fee to take the Board of Governors Exam once your application has been approved. Apply now to become a Fellow of ACHE. As a bonus, save $100 on the Board of Governors Exam Online Tutorial session by selecting your Early Careerist Coupon. The next Online Tutorial session starts April 14, 2014.
Visit ECN online for more offerings.
Energize Your Career at Congress
The following complimentary offerings are available:
•Early Careerist Breakfast featuring Delvecchio S. Finley, FACHE
Career Counseling Service: Gain a greater understanding of how to advance your career from COO/CEO-level ACHE members.
• Resume Review/Critique Service: Even if you aren't currently seeking a new position, your resume may need a refresh. Get tips for improvement from ACHE Fellows. This service is very popular, as space is limited and appointment slots are filling up quickly.
• Employment Referral Service: Connect with potential employers, who are prepared to review resumes and conduct interviews, on-site at Congress.
Register for these services and many other career offerings—like leadership assessments and career development seminars—at ache.org/Congress.
Upcoming Online Seminars
Physician Alignment: Dos and Taboos
April 2–May 14
Strategic Planning That Works: Integrating Strategy With Performance
April 23–June 4
ACHE's 90-minute webinars are available for purchase on CD or on-demand streaming. Update your knowledge of a variety of healthcare topics and share the information with colleagues. CDs include the audio presentation, audience participation questions and comments. Click here to view the full list of archived webinars.
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