Thursday, December 15, 2016

Michael D. Peterson, FACHE, President of Androscoggin Valley Hospital

Today’s guest is the Michael Peterson, the President of Androscoggin Valley Hospital in Berlin, New Hampshire. Androscoggin Valley Hospital is part of North Country Healthcare, a system of four critical access hospitals in the North Country of New Hampshire.

In this podcast, I talk with Mike about his career, which included 28 years of service to the Eastern Maine Health System, where he worked his way up from part time work while in college, through being a licensed social worker, moving into information systems, and then back to operations, to ultimately being the chief operating officer at Sebastacook Valley Health before coming to Androscoggin in 2015.

I really enjoyed talking with Mike and I think you will especially enjoy his insights about leadership and the experience of being a new hospital president. I have produced an extended version of the interview that covers Mike’s career leading up to and including his work at Androscoggin. An abridged version of the interview begins with his work at Androscoggin.

Links to the Podcast:
Extended Version:
Abridged Version:

Interview transcript is available here.

Podcast Outline

Time       Topic
0:01:57 education background - deciding on healthcare
0:06:48 early experience in healthcare
0:07:48 1st full time job in healthcare - Aspen Ledge and Acadia Hospital
0:09:09 moving into project management through information management
0:11:54 Y2K project manager for Eastern Maine Healthcare (predecessor of Eastern Maine Health)
0:14:55 what was Y2K --> disaster drills
0:18:47 learning large scale project management
0:20:17 the origin of the Eastern Maine Health System
0:22:07 moving to Eastern Maine Medical Center - director of surgical and imaging systems
0:26:52 cultural conflicts between administrative and clinical 
0:28:49 Director of e-Business of EMHS
0:33:15 Corporate Director for Information Systems, EMHS
0:35:10 Chief Administrative Officer of Sebastacook Valley Hospital
0:39:34 learning to ask the right questions
0:41:03 detecting problems when you are not the expert
0:43:01 responsibilities of being part of the senior executive team
0:44:00 Lean management
0:48:41 promotion to COO of Sebastacook
0:49:55 Androscoggin Valley Hospital and Berlin, NH
0:55:08 the North Country Healthcare - a unique affiliated system of four critical access hospitals
1:01:42 governance and the Board of Androscoggin Valley Hospital
1:06:17 the work of the Board of Trustees
1:07:19 strategic planning at Androscoggin Valley Hospital
1:08:47 how does the Board evaluate the President
1:10:31 challenges of running a hospital in a rural environment?
1:12:42 payer mix
1:14:38 what are the skills required to be president of a critical access hospital
1:16:15 how did COO experience prepare for the President role?
1:17:41 what was surprising about becoming the President of a hospital?
1:20:59 what keeps you up at night?
1:22:05 leadership philosophy
1:22:41 what are the characteristics of a good leader
1:24:32 leadership lesson - letting people make mistakes
1:27:57 where do junior leaders make mistakes?
1:29:05 leadership advice to junior leaders
1:30:08 mentors and mentorship
1:32:04 being a mentor
1:33:21 role of professional organizations in development
1:35:10 book recommendations
1:36:42 advice for early careerists

Topics Discussed:

Androscoggin Valley Hospital

North Country Healthcare

Eastern Maine Health System

Sebastacook Valley Health

Eastern Maine Medical Center

Acadia Hospital

Lincoln on Leadership

The Servant

If Disney Ran Your Hospital

American College of Healthcare Executives

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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Susanna Fier, Esq., VP of Public Affairs and Marketing, Elliot Health System

Today’s guest is Susanna Fier, the Vice President of Public Affairs and Marketing for the Elliot Health System in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Susanna made a mid-career transition from law to healthcare. Prior to coming to the Elliot, she worked as an attorney specializing in civil litigation, arguing cases all the way to the state supreme court. In this podcast we talk about how she became a lawyer, what it was like to be represent clients in court, and then how her prior experience helps her do her job today as a member of the senior leadership team in the Elliot Health System. Susanna explains how she manages communications, both internally and externally, her relationship with the press, and how she prepares members of her organization to interact with the press themselves.

Susanna and I had a lengthy conversation, and I think I probably laughed more in this interview than any other, so I have produced two versions of this podcast, an abridged version and an extended version.

Links to the Podcast:


Link to transcript here.

Links to Selected Topics Discussed

The Elliot Health System

Mary & John Elliot Charitable Foundation

University of New Hampshire School of Law

University of Vermont

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