Though some hospital CEOs are stepping down rather than continuing to deal with the pressures of managed care, government red tape and competition, don't ask William Considine or Treuman Katz about the "R" word.
Rather than retire, both men are still going strong after a quarter century of service to the same children's hospitals. Considine, president and CEO of Akron (Ohio) Children's Hospital, and Katz, president and CEO of Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center, Seattle, have spent most of their careers at one facility, building key partnerships and clinical and research programs at the free-standing pediatric hospitals. In the process, the not-for-profits have been established as two of the most successful children's facilities in the country.
The two healthcare leaders have a long-standing working relationship as colleagues on the Children's Hospital International Executive Forum, a global group of CEOs who meet annually to discuss best practices for pediatric care.
"The core quality that I've always admired in Bill is his integrity and his strong commitment to kids," Katz says. "I admire what he's been able to do in Akron."
Since stepping into the CEO role at Akron Children's in 1979 at age 32, Considine's cost-containment, investment and philanthro-
pic strategies have dramatically altered the hospital's bottom line, building its budget to nearly $400 million from $27 million in 1980 and its foundation's coffers to $100 mil-
lion from $1.7 million. He has grown the 114-year-old hospital's initial staff of 12 physicians to a roster of nearly 3,000 employees including 180 board-certified physicians and developed services to include a neonatal intensive-care unit, a pediatric ICU, adolescent and sports medicine departments and a heart catheterization laboratory. Considine has also overseen the construction of a Ronald McDonald House, a 250,000-square-foot inpatient facility and a $120 million building project, and attended more than 1,000 hours of meetings with 30-plus organizations.
"I get enormous inspiration from the strength and courage I see kids exhibit in the face of disease every day," says Considine, a former chairman of the Children's Miracle Network and the National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions. "When the organization you are part of embraces your home and family values, that's where the work becomes meaningful and where this kind of tenure comes from. I've had the opportunity to go other places, but I feel it doesn't get any better than this."
For Katz, mission is also the driving factor in his daily responsibilities at Children's Hospital in Seattle, where no child is turned away for medical care because of a family's inability to pay. From a revenue standpoint, uncompensated care at the hospital is roughly 40% of its costs, but a thriving philanthropy program and sound operations make up the difference, says Katz, whose father was a pediatrician.
"Initially, I had no intention of looking at this job," he recalls. "I was working as chief operating officer at Cedars-Sinai (Medical Center in Los Angeles)-the mecca. Home of the stars." He says he took the position at Children's because it was "an incredible oppor-tunity to make this small organization into something truly significant on a national basis."
Katz arrived at Children's in 1979 at age 36 to discover that the VIPs were the young patients. "It's wonderful to be able to spend a career or lifetime improving the healthcare of kids in the region," he says of the facility, which serves patients from more than 300 hospitals and clinics in Alaska, Idaho, Montana and Washington.
Since taking the chief executive's post at Children's, Katz has turned what was then a relatively unknown community facility into one of the Northwest's best-known pediatric centers. His partnerships have led to a model medical school affiliation with the University of Washington School of Medicine and the development of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, formed with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington to speed the delivery of new cancer treatments. In 2003, the hospital devoted $36 million to children's research initiatives.
During his tenure, Katz has built the hospital's assets to more than $1 billion from $70 million in assets in 1980. Charitable contributions totaled $60 million this year.
"I'm a very focused, determined person, and (expanding the hospital) became a personal challenge that I just wasn't going to let go of," he says.