Douglas Hawthorne—A Chance to Do Something Big

Philip Betbeze, December 5, 2013

Douglas Hawthorne, CEO of Texas Health Resources, has repeatedly made big bets on where the puck is going in healthcare, and those bets have almost always paid off. Now his behemoth health system is seeking to take responsibility for caring for individuals over a lifetime. Making that change pay off financially is the critical challenge. From the 2013 HealthLeaders 20.

This profile was published in the December, 2013 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

The way Douglas Hawthorne sees it, hospitals are used to being accountable to patients for about 4.5 days. He wants that to change—as quickly as possible.

Those 4.5 days represent the average length of stay in the hospital for the inpatients at Texas Health Resources, the health system that Hawthorne has helped build over his 42 years at the same organization. When he started as an administrative resident in 1971 at Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, Hawthorne certainly couldn't envision that the organization would grow to become Texas Health, a behemoth in a land of behemoths, with 25 hospitals that are owned, operated, or joint ventured with the system that resulted from the 1997 merger of Presbyterian, Arlington Memorial Hospital, and Harris Methodist Health System. Never mind imagining that he would be the one leading the organization, which reported $3.7 billion in total operating revenue in 2012.

Yet the hospital is far from his focus for strategic growth at Texas Health.

"As we examine our future, it's about health and well-being as well as sick care," Hawthorne says. "That's the driving force for the conversations we have around here. The acute care model is not a sustainable one in its current form."

Philip Betbeze

Philip Betbeze is the senior leadership editor at HealthLeaders Media.


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