When I arrived on campus this past September, it was clear to me that NCH was more than just a hospital. NCH, the award-winning health system, was comprised of two amazing hospitals, a number of easily accessible facilities, and a staff of truly terrific healthcare professionals and physicians.
As amazing as NCH is, what excites me most is being part of what NCH can become.
Previously, I had been the CEO of medical groups, accountable care organizations, and acute care hospitals, but NCH feels different. For me, this job is about connection to the community, partnerships with doctors, and excellence in patient care, all of which I am passionate about.
Within my first days, Hurricane Dorian served Southwest Florida a brief threat; however, I immediately witnessed NCH teamwork that was inspirational. Luckily, the hurricane turned out to have minimal effect, but medical staff was still more than ready to serve the community, and I applaud that. It quickly became obvious how vital communication and collaboration are to the organization, and I was glad that this was something we all had in common. With open communication being of the utmost importance to me, I integrated myself by engaging with as many people as I could through my 90 day listening tour.
Throughout those 90 days you’ve given me a lot to think about. I’ve made it a point to connect with community members, physicians, nurses, administrators, and staff so that I could better learn about NCH from the people that serve this community so well. Beyond the focus on quality and care, I quickly realized that many wanted a greater emphasis on making this a true community hospital where all physicians are welcome. I thoroughly agree.
I’m also proud to witness the beginnings of our Emergency Department renovation project. This two-year, multimillion dollar expansion project will be well worth it by improving patient satisfaction, patient safety, and patient privacy.
In December, we held our 61st annual Hospital Ball, where we enjoyed the company of 350 guests and together raised over two million dollars. Additionally, during the ball, three of our board members purchased germ-zapping robots that will fight disease and infection in our hospital. For that, I’d like to extend a sincere thank you to Mariann MacDonald, Jay Baker, and Scott Lutgert.
At NCH, we’ve established ourselves as a healthcare system of world-class quality, and we’ve received the accolades to prove it. This year, we earned four stars from CMS, which is the gold standard quality ranking system in the country. We also learned that Healthgrades named us a top 100 hospital in America for seven specialties, and once again, U.S. News & World Report named NCH a best regional hospital, ranking us #14 in the state.
This past year has been full of change, however, one thing that has remained constant is that NCH will always be a community health system that we can be proud of. Until next time, thank you and I look forward to continuing our mission in the many years to come.
Paul Hiltz is the President and CEO of the NCH Healthcare System, an alliance of 775 physicians and medical facilities in dozens of locations throughout Collier County and Southwest Florida that offers nationally recognized, quality health care to our community. For more information, visit www.NCHmd.org.