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UCLA hospital system CEO's Rx for success: Put patients first

Los Angeles Times, May 13, 2011

The psychiatric clinic specialized in broken kids. But there was a big problem: Too many patients never made it through the front door. Families waited months for appointments at the UCLA facility, and those who nabbed slots often had to arrange their frazzled lives around doctors' morning-only schedules. Then an upstart named David Feinberg took over. The 32-year-old psychiatrist made same-day appointments available and handled extra cases. He scheduled visits in the afternoons so troubled youngsters wouldn't have to miss school, and he stocked the waiting room with fresh coffee and Graham crackers. It paid off. A clinic where fewer than half the patients showed up for appointments suddenly had a full house. UCLA took notice and handed Feinberg job after job. Almost two decades later, he's in charge of UCLA's entire hospital system, leading an empire with more than 10,000 employees and a reputation for groundbreaking medicine. Over all those years, he's never let go of his philosophy that patients -- and compassion -- come first.