CEO, Petaluma Health Center
1179 N. McDowell Blvd., Petaluma 94954; 707-559-7500; phealthcenter.org
Professional background: 35 years in Health Care Administration, 15 years as administrator and strategic planning consultant in the for-profit hospital industry and 20 years ambulatory care and community health center administrator
Positions: CEO, Petaluma Health Center, 12 years; CEO, Southeast Lancaster Health Services, Penn., five years; president and CEO, Physicians Regional Hospital, Texas, seven years; hospital consulting and management companies, Texas, 11 years
Education: M.S., health care administration, Texas Woman’s University; M.A., medical anthropology, Southern Methodist University; B.A. anthropology and Spanish, State University of New York, Oswego
Number of staff: 254 today, 315 by Aug. 1
Tell us about yourself and your company: Petaluma Health Center is a not-for-profit health center. Over the course of my leadership, Petaluma Health Center has blossomed from a small, struggling $5.5 million federally qualified health center to a thriving $27 million innovative, nationally-recognized, patient-centered health center. Petaluma Health Center provides over 130,000 prevention-focused health care visits to over 27,000 people in southern Sonoma County every year. Our mission is that every person in our community has access to prevention-focused, patient-centered health care. We pride ourselves in providing comprehensive primary care services, dental, obstetrics and gynecology, mental and behavioral health, nutrition. We also provide a wide array of “integrative” health, wellness, and prevention services — such as intensive case management and patient navigation services, and depression, anxiety, and chronic pain management and exercise classes. With 35 years of background in health care administration, I know that our success as an organization and our improved patient outcomes are a result of our team’s dedication. As such, we strive to create a vibrant and healthy work environment. Our vision to foster a healthy community goes full circle: a happy, healthy workforce translates to happier and healthier patients.
Words that best describe you: Compassionate, solutions-oriented, caring, tenacious, focused and driven.
What is a major accomplishment in the past year or so?: Petaluma Health Center celebrates two major accomplishments in the past year that are closely intertwined. PHC has ranked in the top 3 percent of health centers in the nation for quality outcomes, and we will be opening a new, state-of-the art health center in Rohnert Park to provide comprehensive primary and preventive care to an additional 20,000 medically-underserved individuals in our community.
What is your biggest challenge today?: One our biggest challenges as a patient-centered health organization is developing an improved model of health care that reduces per capita cost that also enhances the patient experience. This system will need to survive in today’s reimbursement environment, and, ultimately, thrive in tomorrow’s environment. We are confident that through our strong team work and innovation, we can adapt to industry changes and develop a strong system to maximize clinical effectiveness and enhanced patient experience.
How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?: I foresee that leaders of Federally Qualified Health Centers will need a stronger basic business foundation. Passion for healthcare is important, but it will not suffice as industry changes come to fruition. I envision that health centers will merge into larger, more efficient organizations, and their leaders will need to remain abreast of industry changes and be the catalysts of innovation.