Meet Paul Hiltz, CEO of NCH Healthcare System

What attracted you to this particular hospital system?

Paul Hiltz CEO NCH

The chance to be president and CEO of an organization with such a passionate community, exceptional team and top-notch patient care was an immediate attraction. Given my background and skill set it looked like a great fit. The weather and beautiful community is a bonus. I’m actually looking forward to winter this year.

What have you learned about Naples and NCH since you accepted the job?
The power of community. I’m surrounded by passionate individuals, who want to see us return to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services five-star rating. From the staff, to volunteers, to community leaders, I’m excited to be part of such a collaborative environment.

What did you learn from the conflict that led to the NCH administrative changes? How do you plan to engage doctors and nurses and other medical staff members?
Transparency is key. I speak about the 4 C’s – Community, Collaboration, Connection and Care. A key piece of collaboration is listening. That’s why my listening tour is so important. I want to hear what’s on everyone’s mind because together, we make NCH better. The power of a pluralistic approach connects the entire medical community
to and provides optimal patient care.

What is the future of NCH working with Physicians Regional, Lee Health and the Neighborhood Health Clinic?
The future is bright. It’s important for us to collaborate with surrounding healthcare systems. The overall objective is to have a happy, healthy community. Working together strengthens our community.

Do you have any thoughts on the challenges of providing uninsured indigent care?
It’s our responsibility to strengthen our relationship with our neighbors, especially the Neighborhood Health Clinic, as well as work with other providers who share a mission of serving the underserved. We need to be collaborative.

Do you have ideas for making the hospital experience more positive for seniors; for example, helping them feel more comfortable in the ER, sensitizing staff to their needs, and understanding the referral sources in the community including the Naples Senior Center?
The community is at the forefront of everything that we do. So, whether it’s children or seniors, patient experience and service are the focus. As part of my listening tour, I will speak to staff and patients to hear what they expect from NCH – what’s missing and what can we do to make their experience a positive one.

Do you have plans to convey a welcome to physicians not employed by NCH? Do you have plans to reserve any sections of the hospital to be available only to patients whose physicians are employed by NCH?
I strongly believe in a pluralistic approach to practicing medicine. Whether you’re a physician that’s employed by the hospital or are an independent physician, we want you to know that NCH’s doors are open to you and your patients.  I look forward to an open dialogue with the physician community – one that can help us collectively reach great heights.

Do you foresee expansion of NCH in the provision of outpatient
services, both in the employment of physicians as well as the provision
of diagnostic services?
Expansion is necessary, and we will continue to innovate and evolve because our organization is focused on growth. Healthcare is changing, and we must be flexible in our ability to grow. So, areas like outpatient services, diagnostic services – radiology, for example – are all necessary to the success of a health system and it’s something we’ll explore.

We have an active donor community; what plans do you have to effectively engage them?
Engagement is the key word. Throughout my career, my wife Kris and I have always been involved in our community. We have an amazing donor community in Southwest Florida and I look forward to meeting each
supporter individually to learn more about their needs as we work to make NCH a world-class healthcare system. I plan to increase donor communications and ensure we have a plan to actively connect with this important constituency.

Have you yet formed a vision for the NCH system and, if so, can you articulate it for us?
We’re in the process of defining our mission, values and reviewing our strategic plan in collaboration with our board and our strategic partners. In the first 90 days I’m focusing on my listening tour and accessing our resources and needs as we grow. It’s an exciting process and will certainly yield a clear direction for the organization. I will continue to share more of my vision in the coming months.

What do you think are NCH’s greatest challenges over the next 5 to 10 years? If it is too early in your tenure at NCH to answer that, what are the greatest challenges to the nation’s healthcare system and if you had one thing to change to improve it, what would it be?                                                                                    I firmly believe that the payment models across America are moving from volume-based reimbursement to value-based reimbursement, so we will be prepared for that shift. The great news is that NCH has excellent quality, which gives us a big edge over other health care systems.

Jeff Lytle

Jeff Lytle is the retired editorial page editor and TV host at the Naples Daily News. Jeff can be reached by email at Jlytle@comcast.net

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