Hospital Executive / Score Mentor – Joseph Gagliardi
Joseph graduated from St Louis University with a BS in Commerce and Finance. He obtained his MBA from Regis University. Joseph entered the health care industry when he began working for a hospital management/consulting company. He then went on to manage individual hospitals and healthcare systems. He advance quickly as a hospital executive in part because early in his career he gained a reputation for being able to turn around hospitals that were failing by concentrating on ways to improve patient satisfaction. During his career he was CEO of six hospitals and healthcare systems. The most rewarding experience was President and CEO of Cancer Treatment Centers of America. While he has retired from hospital management, Joseph still consults with hospitals and healthcare organizations. He is also involved in the Service Corp of Retired Executives (SCORE). This is a national organization of business mentors that is associated with the Small Business Administration and is made up of men and women who have owned or managed businesses. SCORE mentors provide free business consulting to people starting businesses as well as people who need help managing/growing an existing business. Joseph’s approach to hospital administration and the variety of leadership positions he has held will be of interest to anyone considering a career in this growing field. His comments on how SCORE mentors small businesses will also be helpful to anyone who is looking for advice on starting or managing their own business. It will also motivate seasoned business leader to volunteer to help growing or troubled businesses.
I grew up in St. Louis to a Father who was born in Italy and immigrated to the US. I attended an all-boys military High School, Christian Brothers High School in St. Louis. We were taught leadership and discipline as part of their education program. When I graduated I earned a scholarship to St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, TX. I completed my BS degree at St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO. I went on to receive my MBA from Regis University, Denver, CO. My first job after graduation was with a company that did business consulting for hospitals around the US and also bought and managed hospitals. I worked there for ten years during which time the company grew to 25 owned and managed hospitals.
I left that company when I had a chance to manage a hospital outside of Kansas City, Missouri. Because I was successful, I was given the opportunity to turn around a failing hospital in Texas and one in California. These hospitals were not performing well because they had internal conflicts about how the hospitals should be managed. These conflicts were between administrators, doctors and Board of Directors. These issues filtered down to direct patient care. The result was inconsistent treatment of patients and poor coordination among the hospital staff. Consequently, the hospital’s patients were not happy with the care they received and went elsewhere. Satisfied patients are the key to a hospital’s bottom line. If you treat the patients as the center of the universe the bottom line will take of itself. The hospital staff was asked “how would you want your mother treated”. We measured patient satisfaction and areas with poor results we acted very decisively.
Following these hospitals I had the honor and privilege to become President and CEO of Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA). When I joined CTCA, we had two hospitals, one in Tulsa and one in the Chicago area. CTCA now has five locations around the US. The CTCA hospitals were successful because they not only hired great doctors, they also encouraged them to develop and use cutting edge technology. Besides Doctors the hospital staff is the best I have seen in my career. Each patient has the benefit of all the specialist, nurses and staff at the hospital. We also had a policy at CTCA that we would never give up on a patient as long as the wanted to fight. We offered patients different treatment protocols if we thought there was a chance for a successful outcome. We always explained the risks and probability of a successful outcome and it was always the patient’s decision and not ours to receive any kind of treatment. During this time CTCA obtained Patient Satisfaction of 95% year after year.
When I left CTCA I became President and CEO of International Health Network (IHN). This company provided consulting services for national and international healthcare projects.
Preparing for a Career in Hospital Management
I was able to advance my career in hospital administration and become President and CEO of various organizations because I worked hard at gaining experience in a variety of hospitals and settings. Now if you want to manage a hospital or healthcare organization you should consider a Master of Business Administration in Health Administration (MHA) and seek a variety of opportunities to broaden your experience. The MHA programs have been developed to give you that kind of broad background and perspective. The magazine US News and World ranks graduate programs for hospital management as do other publications. When you do your research, you will see there are many good programs in universities across the country. But like any other field, graduating with a good class ranking from one of the better rated programs for hospital administration will give you an advantage when you are meeting with recruiters.
I also do volunteer mentoring for SCORE, an organization sponsored by the Small Business Administration. There are over 13,000 SCORE mentors and 365 locations in urban, suburban and rural communities. All SCORE mentors have owned their own businesses or held executive/management positions with large and small companies. Although the organization was originally made up of retired business people, about one third of our chapter is made up of people who are currently running a business. Our mentors come from a variety of backgrounds including management, marketing, manufacturing, retail, accounting, law and engineering. Financial support from the lending institution and the SBA allows most SCORE services to be provided without charge.
One of the key things SCORE mentors do is help people develop a good business plan. We do this by meeting with our clients, learning more about their business and then bringing in people with the expertise to help them solve their various business problems they are facing. Once the basic plan is established, we put it in a form that will allow the client to go to a bank or investor for whatever financing is required. For most small businesses, you are going to have to be able to contribute a minimum of 20% to 25% of the initial capitalization for a new business venture if you are looking for bank support.
We also put on over fifty workshops/seminars each year on topics relating to starting a business and running/growing a business like marketing and finance. You can get more information on our SCORE chapter and our workshops at: http://tulsa.score.org
I have enjoyed my career in hospital management. It has allowed me to work with talented doctors and nurses and help patients. It also gives someone the opportunity to also be in charge of all the other departments that make a hospital facility run like accounting, food service and housekeeping. I found managing this variety of departments challenging but always interesting. Although the hours were long, I got a lot of satisfaction from building patient oriented organizations. If you think you have the ability to manage an organization and are looking for the satisfaction everyone in health care feels when they know they are delivering good services to their patients, hospital management is a career you should consider.
US Bureau of Labor Statistics – Health Service Mangers
The most recent BLS survey from May of 2014 shows the median salary for all categories of health service management at $92,810 with those in the highest 10% earning over $161,150. Here are some specific categories:
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals $110,840
Office of Physicians $102,990
Nursing Care Facilities $85,730
Home Health Care Services $93,220
Outpatient Care Centers $97,400
Employment of medical and health services managers is projected to grow by 23 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. As the large baby-boom population ages and people remain active later in life, the healthcare industry as a whole will see an increase in the demand for medical services.