Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Steve Ahnen, President & CEO, New Hampshire Hospital Association

Today’s guest is Steve Ahnen, the President and CEO of the New Hampshire Hospital Association. The New Hampshire Hospital Association is an independent, non-profit association representing the interests of the hospitals in the state of New Hampshire.

Steve joined the New Hampshire Hospital Association in 2008 after spending sixteen years in progressive leadership roles with the American Hospital Association in Washington, DC.

In this podcast we talk about the role of both the American Hospital Association and the New Hampshire Hospital Association, and what it is like to work as an industry advocate at the national and state levels.  

Links to the Podcast

Links to Topics Discussed

New Hampshire Hospital Association

American Hospital Association

Related podcasts: 

Kathy Bizarro-Thunberg, Executive Vice President, NH Hospital Association 

Dr. Kenneth P. Anderson, D.O., M.S., CPE, Chief Operating Officer for the Health Research & Educational Trust

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Chris Sloan, COO, Capital Medical Center


Today’s guest is Chris Sloan, the Chief Operating Officer of Capital Medical Center in Olympia, Washington. Capital Medical Center is a 107-bed hospital with about 600 employees. It is part of LifePoint Health, a for-profit hospital system headquartered in Brentwood, Tennessee.

Chris joined Capital Medical Center after retiring from the Army Medical Service Corps in September of 2019, with 23 years of service as a military medical logistician and hospital administrator. During his service he deployed to Kosovo and Iraq, and ended his career as the Chief Operating Officer for Madigan Army Medical Center, one of the Army’s largest hospitals.

In this podcast we talk about Chris’s military career, transition to leadership in the civilian sector, his leadership philosophy, and, since this interview was originally recorded in October of 2020, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Links to the Podcast: 


Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Celebrating Veterans Day - current and former Military Health System guests

Happy Veterans Day to all!

I hope you enjoy your day. As you reflect on the sacrifices made by our fellow citizens who have served our country, I would invite you to listen to any of the interviews I have done with former or current leaders of our Military Health System:

Lieutenant Colonel (Ret) Art Mathisen, President, Memorial Hospital, retired Army Medical Service Corps officer https://healthleaderforge.blogspot.com/2020/09/arthur-mathisen-president-memorial.html 

Lieutenant Colonel Jared McGee, Commander of the 11th Field Hospital, deployed to Javits with his hospital in support of NYC corona virus response https://healthleaderforge.blogspot.com/2020/06/ltc-jarrod-mcgee-commander-11th-field.html  

Lieutenant Colonel (Ret) Mark Mellott, Senior Director, Cerner Corporation, retired Army Medical Service Corps officer https://healthleaderforge.blogspot.com/2020/03/mark-mellott-senior-director-cerner.html  

Lieutenant Colonel Amy Thompson, MD, Division Surgeon, 101st Air Assault Division https://healthleaderforge.blogspot.com/2020/01/ltc-amy-thompson-division-surgeon-101st.html  

Colonel Jean M. Barido, Commander, Public Health Command - Central https://healthleaderforge.blogspot.com/2018/02/colonel-jean-m-barido-commander-public.html

Major General Thomas R. Tempel, Jr., Commanding General of the U.S. Army Regional Health Command – Central, and Chief of the Army Dental Corps https://healthleaderforge.blogspot.com/2017/06/major-general-thomas-r-tempel-jr.html

Brigadier General Jeffrey J. Johnson, Commander, Brooke Army Medical Center https://healthleaderforge.blogspot.com/2017/03/brigadier-general-jeffrey-j-johnson.html

Brigadier General R. Scott Dingle, MEDCOM Deputy Chief of Staff, G-3/5/7 (now the Army Surgeon General) https://healthleaderforge.blogspot.com/2016/07/brigadier-general-r-scott-dingle-medcom.html 

Major General Jimmie O. Keenan, Deputy Commanding General, US Army Medical Command, and Chief of the Army Nurse Corps https://healthleaderforge.blogspot.com/2015/07/major-general-jimmie-o-keenan-deputy.html

Colonel David Bitterman, Chief of Staff, Southern Regional Medical Command https://healthleaderforge.blogspot.com/2015/04/colonel-david-bitterman-chief-of-staff.html

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Learned the Hard Way: A Model of Executive Leadership Competencies


Earlier this fall, I was able to publish a paper with my colleagues Chris Mayhugh and Mark Mellott, based on the Health Leader Forge podcast interviews. The paper is called Learned the Hard Way: A Model of Executive Leadership Competencies. Using qualitative research methods, we analyzed the interviews and focused especially, though not exclusively, on answers executives gave to one of my favorite questions, what is a leadership lesson you learned the hard way? The paper was originally presented at the 2019 American College of Healthcare Executives annual congress. I recorded the presentation live, so the sound quality isn’t studio, but I think it still sounds pretty good. If you find the lecture interesting, I encourage you to check out the full paper here (free): https://globaljournals.org/GJMBR_Volume20/5-Learned-the-Hard-Way-A-Model.pdf  

The YouTube link below includes the slides used during the presentation. 

Links to the Podcast: 

YouTube: https://youtu.be/B1EUDRPV4R8

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Arthur Mathisen, President, Memorial Hospital


Today’s guest is Art Mathisen, the President of Memorial Hospital in North Conway, New Hampshire. Memorial Hospital is part of the MaineHealth system, the largest integrated healthcare system in Maine. Memorial Hospital is the only member hospital not located in Maine. Art had a first career in the US Army as a Medical Service Corps officer, and retired after twenty years as a lieutenant colonel. In this podcast we talk about his military career, his transition to civilian leadership, and his experiences with Bon Secours Health System in Virginia, his time as CEO of Copley Hospital in Vermont, and his leadership at Memorial Hospital, and what it is like leading a critical access hospital that is part of a larger healthcare system.

Links to the Podcast: 


Saturday, August 15, 2020

Richard Corder, Managing Director, TiER1 Performance


Today’s guest is Richard Corder, a healthcare management consultant and Managing Director at the management consulting firm TiER 1 Performance. In this podcast we discuss Richard’s journey from his start as an apprentice in the hotel industry in London, England, following his heart to Boston, Massachusetts, his decision to enter the healthcare industry after his own experience as an inpatient, how he applied lessons he learned from the hospitality industry to become an expert on patient experience, and ultimately his move into healthcare consulting. We conclude the podcast with a discussion about leadership and mentorship. 

Links to the Podcast: 

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/healthleaderforge/id981989377  

Podcast Outline

0:01:17 Apprenticeship in hospitality management 

0:04:47 coming to the US for love - Four Seasons Hotel in Boston

0:06:47 service across cultures - regional and corporate culture

0:08:47 lessons learned from hospitality - hire the right people

0:10:52 crossing industries to healthcare - environmental services at Beverly Hospital

0:13:12 "if we ran a hotel like we ran a hospial, we would be out of business"

0:18:54 earning an MHA and the transition to health administration

0:21:17 director of guest services, Cooley-Dickinson Hospital 

0:26:22 progession to VP of Operations and Facility Management

0:34:27 looking for growth - COO of Curbside

0:37:22 Senior Director of Service Excellence, Massachusetts General Hospital

0:49:35 CRICO Strategies - Consulting Services

0:58:19 becoming a consultant - the pros and cons

1:03:58 Wellesley Partners Healthcare Management Consulting

1:08:02 Comparing large and small consulting firms

1:09:25 Tier One Performance Solutions - a mission to build a better world

1:14:55 How does consulting work?

1:19:36 what's great about consulting?

1:21:03 what makes a good consultant?

1:23:58 leadership philosophy

1:25:47 what does he look for when hiring leaders?

1:27:34 mentors and mentorship

1:29:36 advice to early careerists and consulting

Links to Topics Discussed

TiER 1 Performance

Beverly Hospital 

Cooley-Dickinson Hospital 

Massachusetts General Hospital

CRICO Strategies

Wellesley Partners

Four Seasons Hotel - Boston

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Vanessa Druskat, PhD, Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior and Management, UNH

Today’s guest is my colleague Dr. Vanessa Druskat, associate professor of Organizational Behavior and Management here at the University of New Hampshire. Vanessa studies and teaches about team emotional intelligence, helping organizations develop more effective norms and behaviors. In the full length version of the interview, we go through Vanessa’s intellectual journey from an early interest in social work to work on leadership, teams, and emotional intelligence. We talk in detail about a few of her papers, particularly a Harvard Business Review paper she coauthored called Building the Emotional Intelligence of Teams, which I have included a link to in the show notes below.


Monday, June 15, 2020

LTC Jarrod McGee, Commander, 11th Field Hospital

If you were paying attention to the news about the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City you will remember that two Army field hospitals deployed to provide support to the beleaguered health system. Today’s guest is LTC Jarrod McGee, commander of the 11th Field Hospital. In this podcast we discuss what a field hospital is, what its capabilities are, and what it’s like to move one from Ft. Hood, Texas to New York City with only a few days’ notice. This interview focuses mostly on the logistics of the movement to give listeners a sense of what it takes to accomplish something this complex and make it look easy.

In the full length version of the interview we follow the discussion of the 11th Field Hospital’s mission with a discussion of LTC McGee’s career – he started out in the Army as a combat engineer “running around the woods and blowing things up” to later getting a commission as an Army Medical Service Corps officer and becoming a health services comptroller, so he has had a varied and interesting career. He is also the Army Regent for the American College of Healthcare Executives, so we talk about the importance of professional organizations, and how his ACHE contacts actually helped provide intelligence as he brought his unit into New York. We conclude with a discussion about leadership.

Links to the Podcast: 


Friday, May 15, 2020

Quarantine Graduation Special

A special edition of the Health Leader Forge dedicated to the University of New Hampshire Health Management and Policy Class of 2020 and all of the future health leaders who are graduating this spring. In this podcast, I go back through the archives and gather advice for early careerists from nine previous guests. I then share a little advice of my own, and close with a reading of a passage from Henry David Thoreau's Walden.

Links to the Podcast: 
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/healthleaderforge/quarantine-graduation-special/
YouTube: https://youtu.be/WOmapf0wnpo 
Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/the-health-leader-forge
Podcast Outline

Time       Topic

19:10       Bonica's 3 Pieces of Advice
26:06       "I left the woods", from Henry David Thoreau's Walden

Links to Topics Discussed

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Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Brian Hall, President, Physicians Resources LTD

Today’s guest is Brian Hall, the president of Physicians Resources Limited, a revenue cycle management firm based in Merrimack, New Hampshire. Brian was employee number one of PRL more than thirty years ago, and on his way to being the president and eventually the owner of PRL, he did everything from sweeping the floors to business development. In this podcast we talk about Brian’s career, and what it’s like to be an entrepreneur working in a family business.

Links to the Podcast: 

Anchor: https://anchor.fm/healthleaderforge/episodes/Brian-Hall--President-Of-Physicians-Resources-LTD-egra6f 
iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/brian-hall-president-of-physicians-resources-ltd/id981989377?i=1000471604438
Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/the-health-leader-forge
YouTube: https://youtu.be/u4caRzv6u3s

Podcast Outline

Time       Topic
0:01:03 starting at PRL part time while in college
0:03:32 employee number one
0:06:44 PRL's early years - software reseller
0:08:03 evolving into an RCM company
0:11:32 director of RCM operations  - running the back office
0:13:26 the draw of RCM - "it gets in your blood"
0:16:12 growing as a leader - from supervisor to manager
0:20:50 growing and formalizing the business processes
0:23:18 the integration of automation into the business - electronic claims and electronic payments
0:27:47 impact of HIPAA
0:29:57 SVP of client services - changing focus from operations to business development
0:34:42 learning client relations
0:37:17 president and partmer
0:41:58 buying out founders
0:43:08 advantages and disadvantages of being privately held
0:47:08 who is the typical client
0:50:13 Why outsource RCM? Why PRL?
0:52:06 a primer on accounts receivable
0:53:34 "revenue cycle ecosystem"
0:59:21 a day in the life of the president
1:01:34 organizational structure
1:03:20 impact of the corona virus threat on PRL
1:05:51 leadership philosophy
1:06:38 leadership role models
1:07:19 characteristics of a good leader
1:09:33 a leaedership lesson learned the hard way
1:10:49 cultivating an organization culture
1:13:05 mentorship
1:14:20 working in a family business
1:16:08 why a career in RCM?

Links to Topics Discussed

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Sunday, March 15, 2020

Mark Mellott, Senior Director, Cerner Corporation

Today’s guest is Mark Mellott, a senior director with the Cerner Corporation. Prior to joining Cerner in 2017, Mark served in the Army first as a combat medic, and later as a Medical Service Corps officer specializing in health information systems management. He describes the field of health information systems management as the confluence of people, problems, and technology, and it was helping people solve problems through the appropriate and efficient use of technology that drew him to the field. In particular, some fifteen years ago Mark began thinking about the problem of electronic health records in combat zones and how to ensure the information about injured soldiers was being captured and preserved. Mark had observed this problem during his deployments to Kosovo and Iraq. This passion led him to earn a PhD in policy and to deploy to Afghanistan to test his theories. After retiring from the Army, he followed his passion for improving medical records to the Cerner Corporation where he is part of the team working to deploy an integrated electronic medical record to both the Department of Defense and Veterans Administration. (As an aside, I enjoyed doing this interview because Mark has been one of my closest friends for more than 10 years, so my interviewing style is a little less formal and we laugh a bit more than usual.)

Links to the Podcast: 

Podcast Outline

Time       Topic
0:01:50 triple major in liberal arts
0:03:37 dropping out to enlist as an Army medic
0:07:18 transitioning back to college; becoming a flight medic in the reserves
0:09:14 becoming a Medical Service Corps officer
0:10:27 early career - discovering health IT
0:14:20 IT problems are management problems
0:15:33 becoming an official Medical Service Health Information System Management Officer (70D)
0:18:15 Mark turns the tables on me for a minute
0:19:45 going to a medical brigade; deploying to Kosovo
0:20:44 describing a combat support hospital
0:23:05 learning to lead soldiers, first command in Iraq
0:25:37 turning point - deciding to make the Army a career
0:27:06 helping people work through hard sets of problems
0:28:34 career progression - continued focus on being a leader
0:32:18 developing a career against the grain - staying with field units
0:34:23 PhD in Policy from Clemson
0:43:23 trying to solve the problem of battlefield medical documentation
0:46:03 teaching at Army-Baylor, waiting to go back to the field
0:47:10 deploying to Afghanistan, testing economic theories
0:50:09 Army Medical Department Headquarters - quantified self
0:53:02 deciding to retire, reflecting on a career of service
0:57:14 preparations to transition to civilian life
1:04:35 Cerner and the DOD/VA EHR transition
1:08:40 what's the big deal about EHRs?
1:10:15 machine learning, AI, and EHRs
1:11:32 learning to work in corporate America
1:13:54 what's most exciting in the health IT space
1:15:50 leadership philosophy
1:17:01 what leadership competencies does he look for
1:18:22 what makes a good mentor
1:21:13 guidance on professional reading - something bigger than you
1:23:58 why should early careerists choose health IT?

Links to Topics Discussed

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Saturday, February 15, 2020

Eileen Keefe, Chief Nursing Officer, Parkland Medical Center

Today's guest is Eileen Keefe, the Chief Nursing Officer at Parkland Medical Center in Derry, New Hampshire. Parkland Medical Center is part of the country's largest for-profit health system, HCA Healthcare

This interview was special because Eileen is interviewed by her daughter Sara Elmendorf, a junior in Health Management and Policy here at UNH. Sara and Eileen talk about Eileen's career, starting as a nurse at Beth Israel Hospital , up through her role with Parkland. They conclude with a discussion of leadership, and Eileen gives advice to young people interested in pursuing a career in healthcare. 

(Sara and Eileen)

Podcast Outline

Time       Topic
0:01:33 Boston College for Nursing
0:04:19 1st job at Beth Israel - "primary nursing"
0:06:02 making the transition to practice
0:07:50 med surge to ER
0:10:12 coming to Parkland
0:13:25 masters degree in nursing leadership at UNH
0:15:16 about Parkland Medical Center and HCA
0:18:03 difference between for-profit and non-profit hospitals
0:19:33 competition in healthcare
0:21:10 how has healthcare and nursing evolved during her career
0:22:37 transition from direct patient care to leadership
0:23:45 merger trend in healthcare
0:25:28 moving from nurse educator to VP of quality
0:26:24 mentoring and mentorship
0:29:16 becoming the CNO of Parkland
0:30:41 scope of the CNO
0:31:33 a day in the life of the CNO
0:35:08 working with the senior leadership team
0:36:15 management metrics for the hospital
0:39:41 greatest challenges facing the CNO
0:40:37 what are the big changes in healthcare coming?
0:43:05 advanced practice nurses (APRNs)
0:45:11 policy changes for access to care
0:45:59 career goals, pursuing a DNP
0:47:55 leadership philosophy
0:51:10 organizational culture
0:53:47 leadership lesson learned the hard way
0:55:11 professional organizations
0:56:44 for a career in health, why nursing and/or nursing leadership
0:58:17 book recommendation for early careerists
1:00:30 advice to young people seeking a career in healthcare graduating from college

Links to Topics Discussed

Parkland Medical Center

HCA Healthcare

Beth Israel Hospital

Boston College Nursing

University of New Hampshire Nursing

Gawande, The Bell Curve

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