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Keck CFO on New Care Strategies: 'We're Going to Have to Break Those Chains'

By Jack O'Brien  
   March 19, 2018

James Uli, chief financial officer of Keck Medicine of USC, talks about healthcare growth opportunities and monitoring industry trends.

The University of Southern California (USC) has hired the person who will head the financial operations of its clinical medical enterprise as it seeks to expand services in the competitive Los Angeles healthcare market.

Last month, James Uli, MHA, was introduced as chief financial officer of Keck Medicine of USC. Uli previously served as CFO of Providence Saint John's Health Center and the John Wayne Cancer Institute in Santa Monica, and held leadership positions at Loma Linda (CA) University Medical Center.

HealthLeaders Media spoke to Uli about his first month on the job at his alma mater, the initiatives he is pursuing at Keck, and what industry trends he is following.

The transcript below has been lightly edited.


HealthLeaders Media: Outside of growth and expansion initiatives, what are some insights regarding Keck's cost containment strategy?

Uli: Cost management, cost containment, and ensuring value-based care from the health system are some things we have to look at and continually reevaluate ourselves on what we're doing and if we can do it better. We know payers are going to continue to ratchet down how much they pay, and while we're primarily a tertiary, quaternary center, that doesn't mean we shouldn't focus on the cost of care we provide.

That includes ensuring that the different types of care we are providing to our patients are done in the right location at the right time. We have the new outpatient building and center. If you're providing outpatient surgeries in your primarily inpatient operating rooms, and negatively impacting the throughput of the inpatient operating rooms, then you're adding cost. Doing an outpatient surgery in the appropriate outpatient surgery setting is really important to make sure we're getting those cost savings.


Jack O'Brien is an associate editor at HealthLeaders. 

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