Q&A: Texas Health Resources Incoming CEO Talks Strategy

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media , August 1, 2014

For example, I worry a bit that in a few years we may have as many freestanding ERs as we do CVS or Walgreen's drugstores. That doesn't make a lot of sense to me. We also have a predominant physician population that remains relatively independent, so there's still a lot of change that has to go on in the marketplace.

There will be traditional and nontraditional competitors. We've differentiated ourselves. We are and have been great acute care company, but that's not the only thing that fulfills our mission of improving the health of the community.

We're great at taking care of the sick and injured and delivering babies, but how do we manage cost of healthcare to make it more affordable? We're trying to make more sense of it from patient's point of view.

Our job going forward is to help them manage and traverse their healthcare journey through a lifetime. And there's a lot of waste. We want to take that out and be a relevant guide and navigator through various stages of the patient's life. In essence, we're concerned with the well-being of populations because that drives value.

HealthLeaders: Doug Hawthorne has been here a long time. In fact, he's been here since before there even was a Texas Health Resources (as you have too). How do you feel about filling such big shoes?

Berdan: They are very big shoes to fill, but it's an honor and privilege to take the baton from Doug and continue down the track he set. He's a unique individual who has taught us all a lot and created a lot. I'm fortunate to work with him and to have the opportunity to carry forward.

HealthLeaders: Sorry to get personal, but how old are you, Barclay? How long do you envision yourself doing this job?

Berdan: I'm 61, which is pretty young these days (laughs). I feel energetic and as long as the board feels I'm providing good leadership, I feel confident I have a good number of years left to contribute.

HealthLeaders: Can you name the top two or three strategic challenges that will be priorities for you as CEO?

HealthLeaders: They are pretty basic. First is to make sure we have a smooth transition and don't lose a beat. Second is to make sure we drive to the highest levels of performance in quality and safety and sustain those to be a reliable organization.

Third, we have to do that and remain affordable. Fourth, we have to continue to look to how we can innovate across health and healthcare, and begin to redesign care delivery and link it to prevention and well-being.

Philip Betbeze is senior leadership editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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