In Puerto Rico—more than one month after Hurricane Maria devastated the island—many communities still lack the water, electricity, pharmaceuticals, communications, transportation, and other resources needed to sustain life and care for patients. At Hospital Español Auxilio Mutuo in San Juan, our cardiac perfusion team works under these challenging conditions to provide medical care, which has included a successful aortic dissection repair performed with the patient under deep hypothermic circulatory arrest while the hospital was on generator power.
The OR Manager Conference is the premier executive-level event for OR directors and OR business managers concerned with management of the surgical suite, and is dedicated to providing industry solutions and leading best practices. With 1,400 executive OR professionals in attendance, the focus this year was to improve efficiency and affectivity with sessions on patient safety, infection control, OR flow, staff motivation, and leadership. All of these topics were discussed in keynotes, in sessions, in networking events, and in the exhibit hall in the context of preparing strong OR leaders for the unpredictable climate we’re currently experiencing in healthcare.
SpecialtyCare announced exciting news today. Sam Weinstein, MD, MBA, President and Chief Medical Officer, has been elevated to Chief Executive Officer and Melvin F. Hall, PhD, who has served as CEO since 2014, will assume the role of Executive Chairman. It was also announced that the management team has partnered with Kohlberg & Company, a leading private equity firm, to acquire SpecialtyCare from American Securities, our investment partner for the last six years. These changes offer tremendous opportunities for us to further increase quality of care outcomes while improving value to our customers and patients through strategic acquisitions, organic growth, expanded service offerings, technology upgrades, clinical innovation, and other activities that strengthen our standing as a healthcare provider and an employer of choice.
A complex system offers a lot of places to hide bad behavior. Medicare and Medicaid—programs at the heart of the current healthcare debate—are particularly vulnerable to violations of Stark Law, the Anti-Kickback Statute, and the False Claims Act. Nearly every day, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) issues details of individuals and hospitals being charged or convicted of healthcare fraud and abuse. Financial penalties and the possibility of imprisonment aside, damning headlines can destroy the bottom line and reputation of even the most respected providers. Compliance violations drive up healthcare costs and compromise patients who are overcharged or subjected to unnecessary tests and treatments.
As I reflect on the past year, I’m reminded of the importance of leadership in organizations. While there is no one right way to lead, all effective leaders operate with clear values, authenticity, and integrity. In 2016, we launched a new reward and recognition program—SpecialtyCare Heroes. The program enables our staff members to nominate colleagues who have gone above and beyond in serving our patients, our customers, and our teammates. As I read through the nominations, I’m struck by the enormous dedication of our people, and I am truly inspired. The stories demonstrate a commitment to high performance, an attitude of caring, and a foundation of strong personal values. They reinforce one of the most enduring lessons I’ve learned about leadership over the years: Leaders can be found in all positions and at all levels of an organization.