Saturday, October 19, 2002

My first "family letter"

It was three weeks yesterday, October 18, that the Board of Directors asked me to serve as CGH’s President & CEO. It is a privilege to have been asked and an honor to serve in this role.

In those three weeks I have had a number of meetings, often more than one, with our Medical Staff leaders, with our Board of Directors, with employees, and with Syracuse area business and community leaders. In these meetings I am asked similar questions:
- “With all the changes in the health care field, what is the best role for CGH in our community?”
- “What is CGH working on?”
- “Will an emphasis on financial performance hurt quality?”
These are important questions, and I want to be available to you for meaningful discussions about these and other notable issues. Obviously there are many who need to hear from me about such topics, just as I need to hear from you and from those outside our hospital.

One timely way to communicate is through the CGH web site: I plan to use our web site to post a weekly letter to members of the CGH Family. This will also allow me to respond to questions asked of me or of others in senior management. I hope this web-posted letter will allow me to say directly what is on my mind and to hear directly what is on yours.

This is my first letter. Over the coming weeks, we will experiment with this format…so please give me your feedback. Send a response directly to

As I return to Community General Hospital after several years away, I am comforted by the traditional strengths of our hospital. Over the years we have demonstrated a solid and unwavering commitment to the patients we serve, and we have paid attention to maintaining the technical skills that make us so good at care and caring.

My new role as CEO helps me see the CGH landscape in a new way. As important as they are, our traditional strengths don’t always help us when the world around us demands new ways of working efficiently or preparing for changes. So in the coming months I will be looking for ways that all of us at CGH can build on our traditional strengths to be sure, but also ways we can develop new knowledge, get exposure to new ideas, and work together in new ways.

A question I have heard more than once deals with the supposed trade-off between financial management and quality care. I was asked this question in employee meetings. Quality care can be achieved within a sound financial operation. Our Board of Directors is very interested in careful financial management and strong patient and physician satisfaction. It We have to do both things well: operate in a financially responsible way and improve patient care and service as an ongoing process. We do not honor one at the expense of the other. Both are essential.

It is in this spirit that I begin this new stage of my service to patients at Community. I look forward to hearing from you.

This text was originally sent to the employees of Community General Hospital, Syracuse, NY, as one of a series of letters from the CEO. The text was subsequently posted on the CEO's blog, More than Medicine, started in June 2007.

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