The past met the present at St. John Medical Center last week when current UH SJMC President Robert G. David welcomed founding President John Rowland to his office for an hour of conversation.
The two leaders found plenty in common. They agreed that the mission of UH SJMC is the same as it was when it opened as St. John West Shore Hospital in 1980: Excellence in patient care.
“You are a man of vision,” said Mr. David as he learned Mr. Rowland’s story. Rowland consolidated the old BayView Hospital with St. John Hospital in Cleveland. The venture created an entirely new health campus on the then-outskirts of Westlake.
Rowland, who was President of BayView Hospital, originated the West Shore initiative in an effort to improve and increase health care services on the West Side. He knew from master planning that Crocker Road would someday connect I-90 and the I-480-Turnpike venues, creating an optimal healthcare locale to serve the growing region.
Along the way, Rowland had to navigate strategic challenges, including the merger of a Catholic Hospital with a community hospital, and the BayView osteopathic hospital DO’s with the MD’s of St. John.
The result was a “condominium” hospital at Westshore. It creatively formed a health campus. “We wanted something like a ‘one-stop shop’ for healthcare,” said Rowland.
David, a CPA, became president of UH SJMC in April. He had been president of UH Bedford and Richmond medical centers, where he restructured the organization’s strategic plan and recruited new physicians. He also served as president of UH Conneaut and Geneva medical centers from 2008 through 2013.The hospitals earned more than 15 national recognitions for care quality and patient satisfaction under his term. He helped obtain the Critical Access Hospital designation for both facilities from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
He brings to UH SJMC the same goals he defined at UH Bedford and Richmond.
“I wanted us to be the national leader in three areas,” he said. UH Richmond Medical Center became known for its uncompromising excellence in the areas of benchmark clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction. “I also wanted us to be the cleanest hospital in the country,” he said.
David’s commitment to patients is clearly noted on his business card. His title is listed as ‘President & Chief Patient Experience Officer.’ So serious is he about the patient experience that he jots his home phone number on the business cards he shares.
“St. John Medical Center has an excellent team of physicians, of nurses, clinicians, staff members, who really have an unwavering commitment to excellence in patient satisfaction and patient care each day,” David said.
It is a healthcare legacy that began with the vision of John Rowland and his ‘first hire’, Sr. Judith Ann Karam, and continues today – rooted in a promise that patients will experience a culture of excellence, safety and trust.