hfm: You were named 2009 Hospital Chief Financial Officer of the Year by LifePoint Hospitals. What are some of the leadership success strategies that you employ in your hospital?

Goetzinger: LifePoint's vision statement is "Making Communities Healthier," and that's what we use here at our local level. It's a very simple statement, but that's what we do. The vision statement is especially important for a small hospital like Riverton Memorial Hospital in central Wyoming.

As part of making communities healthier, we have our High Five Principles: putting your patients first, providing community value, supporting physicians, creating an excellent workplace for our employees and peers, and being financially responsible. And honestly, there are no secrets to success. When I have to make tough decisions, I always go back to those principles.

If I'm dealing with a self-pay patient who has no insurance and needs $60,000 worth of chemotherapy or other treatment, I consider what is best for the patient. Are there any alternative resources available? Does the patient really need it? Is it an emergency? I use those High Five Principles a lot, and base my decisions on what is best for the patient or the employee or the community when it comes to those types of situations

hfm: How is your organization thinking about the impact of healthcare reform?

Goetzinger: Healthcare reform isn't one-size-fits-all; there are so many different issues, particularly between urban areas and rural areas. I think once we know what the changes are, we will adapt to those changes. Regulatory changes, community changes, and economic changes occur continually, and we will adapt to our model. We'll continue to use our High Five Principles, and we'll continue to make our community healthier in whatever format that we need to.

hfm: As a leader in your organization, how do you view the need for constant change?

Goetzinger: The world of health care is changing every day for us. Things happen all the time; physicians leave and new regulations are implemented. We are constantly adjusting our strategic plans. We view these changes as, "This is an opportunity. How can we do this better? Or, even though what this physician did was great for us, how can we improve on it, and what can we do to embrace the change and turn it into lemonade rather than a lemon?" I think we'll do the same thing with any healthcare reform changes.

Publication Date: Saturday, May 01, 2010

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