Bob Allen became Chief Executive Officer of Pipeline Health on Feb. 6. Pipeline Pulse posed some questions to the company’s former Chief Financial Officer to explore his thoughts on his new role and the future of our health system.
What excites you about your new role as CEO of Pipeline Health?
Our future looks bright. We are a much stronger company now than we were five months ago. We have worked through the COVID pandemic and significant financial challenges. We have very dedicated employees and physicians who have stayed with us because of their commitment to the patients we serve in the diverse, underserved communities around us. I see opportunities for change to improve that service to our patients—and that is really motivating.
What do you consider to be your key qualifications for the job?
I have more than 30 years of executive-level experience in the healthcare industry, including leading several significant financial turn-arounds. I have held both CEO and CFO positions at other hospitals, and I have achieved success in technology acquisitions and physician recruitment, as well as in managing accounts receivable, managed care contracts, cost control and government reimbursement programs. I also have a sense of humor—that helps.
What should our employees know about your leadership style?
Employees will be seeing me at our hospitals. I want to hear from them – their opinions matter. I will be visible at our hospitals, and I want to hear what our employees are thinking and experiencing on the job, including what they think we can do better.
I believe in two-way communication at all levels of the organization. Our executive leaders will be working together in new ways to communicate with our employees. I also have an inclusive leadership style – I want to engage more individuals in discussing issues and opportunities. We plan to do that with some employee focus groups and surveys in the coming months.
You became CEO as Pipeline officially emerged from bankruptcy Feb. 6. What can our employees expect to see as we go forward?
Employees will see an enhanced organizational focus on quality and service to our patients. I also will work with our executive leadership to focus on employee relations, making sure we are taking care of our employees as they take care of our patients. We will consider ways in which we can enhance our service to the communities around our hospitals. We will look at several growth strategies, and, of course, we will keep our eyes on our financial health along the way.
How do you reassure employees that we won’t go down the road of financial difficulty again?
We have a new strategic business plan that was developed in recent months with input from our executive team, hospital leaders and outside consultants. We will focus on executing that plan while we recommit ourselves to providing quality care to our patients. We need to ensure that each patient receives what is needed, when it’s needed, without unnecessary days in the hospital. These activities are key to our financial health going forward.
What are your top priorities for 2023?
I see four priorities that we will focus on in different ways across the Pipeline Health system. First, we need a renewed focus on quality – and we will be working to define what that really looks like and how we measure it. We will focus on employee relations and new ways to ensure that we recruit and retain staff, working to meet their needs. We will have a focus on better understanding and meeting the needs of our communities. And, of course, we will look at controlling costs as we move forward.