For the record, C. Thomas Smith never much worried about investor-owned hospital chains taking over the world, but he is a hero to those who did.
Smith, 63, has spent the past 24 years of his 45 years in healthcare marshaling not-for-profits into a powerful force. First as president of Yale-New Haven (Conn.) Hospital and Yale-New Haven Health Services Corp., then as a shareholder and founding member of Irving, Texas-based VHA, and since 1991 as chief executive officer of the hospital cooperative, Smith has been in the forefront of a not-for-profit movement. "There was concern by some (VHA) founders that (investor-owned hospitals) had a competitive advantage in the marketplace, and not-for profits needed to do some of the things for-profits did with one exception: Don't give up local control," Smith recalls.
Under Smith's leadership, VHA has matured into a financially successful organization that is using technology to build stronger bonds with its more than 2,200 healthcare organizations and the patients they serve.