Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer at Seven Counties Services
Education: B.S. in accounting with double major in finance from the University of Kentucky; MBA from Western Kentucky University
Hobbies: When not involved in our teenagers’ sports and school activities, I like exercising, cooking, reading, gardening and traveling.
What was your first job in healthcare? What did you take away from that job that you use today?
I began my professional career as a staff accountant for Ernst & Young in Lexington. It was an environment that taught me how to be detailed, accurate and effectively manage multiple projects at one time to meet hard set deadlines. It also trained me how to think logically and critically in a business environment. At that time Ernst & Young had a significant healthcare practice, and I ended up specializing with their healthcare clients more by accident, than conscious choice.
What is your very best skill — the thing that sets you apart from others?
I am optimist and my goal is to impart that optimism on others I work with. I always tell my kids that you need to choose your attitude, because it is a conscious choice, whether they like to believe that our not. So I choose to have a positive attitude, even if I am having a bad day, and I thank God for my blessings because things could always be worse. It requires no more energy to be positive as opposed to negative. Choose a positive attitude and be amazed by the impact to those around you.
What was the most significant event/development at Seven Counties Services in 2015?
The successful implementation of our Electronic Health Record/Billing system, designed by NetSmart, for Community Mental Health Centers such as Seven Counties. Anyone involved in healthcare will understand what an undertaking this was and I am so proud of our teams’ unwavering dedication to implementing a new comprehensive EHR. This was a tremendous project involving hundreds of people, working together for a common and important goal.
While the implementation of our EHR was largely behind the scenes, the rollout of our new Seven Counties brand was very public. Our new look focuses on not only the people we serve but our employees who are really the heart of our organization.
How do you revitalize yourself?
By embracing a philosophy best illustrated by author and motivational speaker Steve Gilliland that life is a journey and you need to take time to enjoy the ride. Spending time with family and friends, exercising, doing volunteer work, cooking, reading and gardening all help maintain the balance between work and play and, as such staying revitalized.
How do you approach management and leadership at Seven Counties Services?
I tend to manage with a positive attitude and a calm, steady demeanor (most of the time). The surest way to manage effectively is to surround yourself with qualified individuals who are smarter than you and possess a healthy dose of common sense. Then give them the support, direction, encouragement and credit to excel in their jobs. I am also a firm believer in “management by walking around.” I enjoy taking the time to get to know my co-workers and chat about any subject that happens to be on their minds.
As a leader, we all face many challenges. What challenges do you face in your role that are unique because you work in healthcare?
Taking care of people – their mind, body and spirit, is the primary goal of any healthcare entity. There will always be a balancing act of how best to utilize limited resources to provide the highest quality care to the most individuals possible. We truly have a direct impact on the lives of our patients and families. To me, decisions we make as an organization become more personal in context. We are not impacting shareholders wealth, but the lives of real people. And, we willingly face those challenges so that we have a positive impact on the community we all live in.
What opportunities do you see for Seven Counties Services in 2016? Challenges?
Seven Counties could face difficult challenges in 2016 if Governor Elect Bevin dismantles kynect. While not a supporter of the ACA, I cannot deny that Kentucky has had resounding success with Kynect. It is an amazing infrastructure that works well and, more importantly is easy to use by consumers. During this year alone we have served over 1000 new clients who recently obtained coverage using kynect. Loss of this infrastructure would disrupt vital care for our clients for an indeterminate period of time.
Opportunities exist to continue working with our managed care companies on improved and streamlined access to care as well as designing and implementing medical health homes designed to track and improve outcomes. And we look forward to rolling out new programs and services in hopes of tackling our growing substance abuse problem.
If you could eliminate one of the healthcare industry’s problems overnight, which would it be?
No contest! Eliminate the administrative burden placed on all healthcare practitioners by the volumes of paper work required by federal and state regulations.
What’s one piece of advice you remember most clearly?
That would be from my father. After finishing my first year of college, I had no direction or idea on what I wanted to do – and as a result – no GPA to speak of either. My father gave me the choice, (really no choice) that if I dropped out of school, I would need to get a full time job! I wrangled a job as a mechanics apprentice at Don Jacobs Oldsmobile, Honda, BMW in Lexington where I grew up and quickly became an ASC Certified Technician.
Funny thing happened though (and I am certain in my father’s wisdom he had a good idea this would happen), when a hobby becomes a job it often times is no longer appealing as a hobby. More importantly, I could not see myself doing this long into my life – and this revelation had a unique way of motivating me to head back to school with a renewed drive and focus – and the rest is history. Working on cars is back to an occasional hobby now, especially since my son is now driving and is also very interested in cars. This is something we enjoy doing together. Life does have a way of coming full circle!
Where do you do your best thinking?
Sitting on my patio at home on the occasional evening, looking out at the lake and celebrating the end of the day with a fine cigar. (Don’t tell anyone I occasionally smoke cigars – I am in healthcare after all.)