Allegheny Health Network CEO vows to expand amid Pittsburgh health care war


four minutes in the past

The challenges had been many when Cynthia Hundorfean accepted the job as Allegheny
Health Network’s CEO in
2016.

For one, the hospital system reported a lack of $17.eight million within the first three months of 2016 and different losses in years prior.

The different problem was gaining respect in an trade the place its leaders are predominantly male.

“I found out pretty early on, as a female wanting to be in a leadership position in health care, a couple of things: You have to know what you’re talking about, maybe even more so than your counterparts. And you have to have a voice — a respectful voice,” stated Hundorfean, who took on the job on the area’s second largest hospital community after 34 years on the Cleveland Clinic.

In simply three years, Hundorfean has tackled each challenges and, in accordance to Modern Healthcare journal, she’s carried out a job value honoring.

Hundorfean, 61, was acknowledged in February as one of many nation’s Top 25 Women Leaders. She and the opposite honorees shall be acknowledged at a Chicago gala in August.

“I feel very humbled. It was probably one of the biggest things that I’ve felt so honored to be a part of,” Hundorfean stated in her workplace on the 29th flooring of Downtown Pittsburgh’s Highmark constructing. The nook workplace overlooks the Allegheny River. She jokes she may watch a Pirates sport from there — if solely she had the time.

Among the duties she has undertaken: a $1 billion marketing campaign to fund the development of hospitals, wellness and most cancers facilities; implementing an digital health information system and a same-day appointment program; and making a 24/7 “nurse line,” a free telephone service that enables individuals to speak to nurses about health questions and issues.

Before she may efficiently do any of that, Hundorfean stated she wanted to acquire respect and earn belief in a male-dominated trade. While ladies comprise 65% of employees within the health care trade, their presence doesn’t lengthen to the chief suite. Women make up solely 30% of executives and 13% of CEOs, in accordance to a 2019 report by consulting agency Oliver Wyman.

But respect and belief had been available for her, stated David Holmberg, president and CEO of Highmark Health — AHN’s dad or mum firm.

“She’s one of the best CEOs and leaders that I’ve ever worked with, whether male or female,” Holmberg stated of Hundorfean, including that she has a “quiet confidence” about her.

“She doesn’t need to pontificate or feels the need to speak with no reason. When she speaks up, she’s concise and clear in her message. And because she’s the real deal, she has real credibility when she’s in the room,” he stated.

Dr. David Blandino, AHN’s board chairman, agreed. At board conferences, Blandino stated she tends to be on the reserved aspect.

“When she has something to say, though, it’s worth hearing,” he stated. “But she’s balanced. She’s not totally extroverted and she’s not totally introverted.”

She stated certainly one of her success methods has been to promote physicians to management roles. Over the previous two years, AHN has named physicians as presidents of Allegheny General, Forbes and Saint Vincent hospitals. Plans name for a doctor to lead Allegheny Valley Hospital in Harrison, the place Bill Englert retired as CEO in February.

“(Physicians) needed to have a voice as to how we were going to turn the system around and make it financially and clinically viable,” Hundorfean stated.

Hundorfean stated a patient-first mentality will information the hospital’s decision-making sooner or later as competitors between Highmark Health, AHN’s dad or mum firm, and UPMC intensifies.

Challenges, alternatives

Under a 2014 consent decree, Highmark-insured sufferers will turn out to be out-of-network at most UPMC hospitals on July 1.

“(When I came to Pittsburgh) I think the level of competition was surprising,” she stated, including that it usually leaves sufferers in the midst of a battle for his or her patronage.

But there’s one other looming deadline — the tip of 2022 — that Hundorfean hopes doesn’t get ugly. If it does, it can contain youngsters within the ongoing divorce between the health networks.

Under the present settlement, Highmark-insured sufferers stay in-network at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh in Lawrence­ville. The settlement expires by the tip of 2022, and there was scant info on whether or not the settlement will proceed or finish.

“There’s only one children’s hospital in Pittsburgh,” she stated. “So that would be a real shame to have to try to duplicate those kinds of services. It would be very expensive, not great for the patients and, frankly, there’s not enough volume to warrant having two full-scale children’s hospitals.”

Currently, AHN and Highmark don’t have any plans to “do anything other than use the children’s hospital,” she stated.

“But you always have to be prepared,” Hundorfean stated. She stated a part of the
$1 billion marketing campaign to construct new hospitals is ramping up pediatric care.

“The intention is to get pediatricians in the right places. … It’s really to build pediatrics up so they can see our own patients right now. If patients need to be hospitalized, they’re going to the children’s hospital,” she stated.

The hospital community and Highmark are also increasing their most cancers therapy footprint in Western Pennsylvania. AHN has plans to construct up to 10 group most cancers facilities throughout the area as a part of its partnership with John Hopkins Medicine, a health care system primarily based in Baltimore, Md.

Monroeville’s Forbes Hospital just lately started treating sufferers at its new digs, constructed for $35 million. There are others prefer it being developed in Westmoreland, Erie and Beaver counties. Highmark has pledged almost $300 million to construct comparable most cancers facilities by 2020.

The most cancers facilities are a part of the hospital community’s $1 billion marketing campaign to expand, and AHN expects the initiatives will create about 800 jobs when accomplished.

Hundorfean stated Pittsburghers have but to understand the standard of AHN’s oncology therapy, noting that UPMC oncology services have had a number of years to construct their popularity.

“Our outcomes from our group are so good and so high — it’s just unfortunate that AHN is just a new system and people don’t know how good it is,” she stated.

In time, Hundorfean stated, individuals will see it.

For now, her management purpose is to be certain sufferers get entry to high quality care, she stated.

“The absolute best patient experience that you could ever receive so that they wouldn’t even think about going someplace else because they’re so well taken care of,” Hundorfean stated.

Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review workers author. You can contact Dillon at 412-871-2325, dcarr@tribweb.com or through Twitter .






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