Hospital CEO talks healthcare changes

MARQUETTE — “For me it’s very important that we connect with our community. These were community leaders that were willing to come in, spend some time with me to better understand healthcare. It’s a very complicated, ever changing industry.”

During his 60-minute presentation to community leaders, UP Heath System CEO Brian Sinotte says the healthcare industry has never really been forced to change until recently. In 2009, Ezekiel Emanuel, the architect of the American Healthcare Act- predicted 20% of all hospitals would close.

Twenty one hospitals across the country closed last year. And so far in 2017, 12 hospitals have already closed or filed bankruptcy.

“Change is painful. But those that are willing to change right now can position themselves to succeed long-term very quickly by focusing on quality, service and looking at greater efficiencies,” said Sinotte.

So what’s driving these changes? Cost is one of them.

A 2014 study showed Americans spent nearly double on healthcare compared to any other country. And almost one third of working Americans don’t go to the doctor simply because they can’t afford it.
For some, deductibles have increased from 3% in 2006 to 29% last year.

Out-migration, known as going out of the area for healthcare services, is a concern for the hospital. For Sinotte, it all comes back to engaging the community.

“We’ve got to connect with them and celebrate our many successes,” said Sinotte. “There are miracles happening here every day with our medical staff, our nurses, and our techs- everyone here are good people working very hard and doing great things. We just need to be better about telling that story.”

Sinotte wants the hospital to become what he calls a ‘High Performing Organization.’ He said the hospital is working towards that.

“I’ve got the entire team very focused, the board of trustees very focused and our medical staff very focused on what are those near-term goals and wins that we have to go get. And then we’ll take on that next step.

Sinotte said construction of the new hospital is right on schedule and that contract negotiations are ongoing with the Michigan Nurses Association.