CORNER OFFICE: Each month, Medical News catches up with a hospital or health system leader to learn about their organization, interests, and favorite pieces of advice and healthcare issues that ruffle their feathers most.
Meet Matthew Holder, MD, CEO of Lee Specialty Clinic in Louisville, Kentucky.
Education: University of Louisville (BA, MBA, MD)
Hobbies: Travel, Exercise
Volunteer work: I am a proud board member of Special Olympics Kentucky, The Council on Developmental Disabilities and Cedar Lake Lodge
What was your first job in healthcare? What did you take away from that job that you use today? My first job in healthcare was as a janitor in my mother’s primary care office. What I learned more than anything is that everybody on the team plays a vital role in moving a business forward. If everybody takes pride in their work, it shows.
How do you approach management and leadership in your organization? My leadership style is pretty simple. Give people the freedom to grow and they will. Be supportive of their ideas and they will innovate and succeed. But, if you try to tell people that your opinion is correct just because you are their leader, chances are neither is true.
As a leader, we all face many challenges. What challenges do you face in your role that are unique because you work in healthcare? We operate a clinic that cares for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The greatest challenge in healthcare for us is that our patients are so far off the radar for most healthcare professionals and organizations. The vast majority of doctors have never been trained to provide care to this population. The vast majority of healthcare facilities are unprepared to work with these patients. Our challenge is not only to provide care to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, but also to help others feel confident that they can to do so, as well.
What is your very best skill — the thing that sets you apart from others? It is essentially the ability to neutralize fear. Fear leads to chaotic choices. Being able to remove fear from the decision-making process leads to better, more consistent outcomes.
Where do you do your best thinking? When I am in the midst of conflict. Nothing produces change better or faster than a challenge.
What was the most significant event/development in your company in 2015? Our unique approach to patient care was featured in the New York Times. They even sent a film crew and did a video about our clinic. Despite the fact that we only opened our doors in 2014, it was great to be recognized as national leaders so quickly.
What opportunities do you see for your company in 2016? Challenges? For us, challenge and opportunity are the same. Every state in the nation is lagging when it comes to caring for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They need what we have to offer. Our challenge will be to manage the growth in our organization as we begin to meet that need.
If you could eliminate one of the healthcare industry’s problems overnight, which would it be? Let’s see. It’s a toss up between litigation and regulation, both of which there are far too much of in healthcare.
How do you revitalize yourself? Sleep. It’s a boring answer, but it seems to be in short supply these days.
What’s one piece of advice you remember most clearly? Stand in the eye of the hurricane. That is, even in the midst of a powerful and destructive force, there is always a place of calm that can be found. You should always strive to find that place and not get caught up in the storm.