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HL20: Patrick McGuire, CPA—On the Path of Mutual Alignment

Karen Minich-Pourshadi, for HealthLeaders Media, January 9, 2013

In our annual HealthLeaders 20, we profile individuals who are changing healthcare for the better. Some are longtime industry fixtures; others would clearly be considered outsiders. Some are revered; others would not win many popularity contests. All of them are playing a crucial role in making the healthcare industry better. This is the story of Patrick McGuire, CPA.

This profile was published in the December, 2012 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

 "There was this lingering mistrust with the physicians so we came to the conclusion we had to burn down our old way of doing things and start anew."

Patrick McGuire, CPA, the senior vice president and CFO at St. John Providence Health System in Warren, Mich., is not your average finance leader. Like many of his peers, he's played a pivotal role in his system's financial transformation, but it's his innovative approach to physician partnership that sets him and his organization apart.

"I feel like my greatest achievement has been maintaining the financial wellness of the organization in one of the toughest markets in the country," says McGuire. Indeed, two of Michigan's three largest employers declared bankruptcy during the recent recession, which caused an economic cascade that bankrupted numerous other state businesses and spurred massive layoffs. McGuire watched as his community's economic crisis led to a growth in the system's uninsured population, testing the organization's ability to creatively reduce costs.

"We had to do what we could to keep our costs in line, but we also had to keep our focus on our mission. We didn't stop caring for the uninsured as they came into our ER. We needed to try to be a vibrant beacon for our community during a very challenging time," he says.

Since joining St. John Providence Health System in 1986, McGuire has helped his system through numerous ups and downs. He's worked to grow the system from a single hospital to seven, helped diversify the enterprise across five counties in southeast Michigan, and saw the organization become the largest single component of Ascension Health, which is the nation's largest Catholic and nonprofit health system, and the third-largest system (based on revenues) in the United States.

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