When administrators at 199-bed Shore Memorial Hospital, Somers Point, N.J., set out to recruit a vice president of medical affairs in 2003, they sought a physician leader who could excel at the role's traditional responsibilities and also take on some broader operational functions.
It was just the challenge that Peter Jungblut, 39, was seeking. Jungblut, an internist, had been involved in administration almost from the start of his clinical career as chief of hospitalist services at the Group Health Cooperative in Seattle. There he headed a group of 10 hospitalists, representing their interests on a number of administrative committees while at the same time earning his MBA.Jungblut returned to the East Coast to be near family in 2001 and after a two-year stint as medical director at St. Peter's University Hospital in New Brunswick, N.J., he learned about "exciting things happening at Shore Memorial."
"There were a number of projects that had been started, but were about midway to completion," Jungblut says. The projects, each costing nearly $10 million, included the construction of a cancer center on the hospital's campus and the renovation of a cardiovascular institute housed within the hospital.
When he became Shore Memorial's vice president of medical affairs in 2003, the projects' multimillion-dollar budgets and complex logistics didn't intimidate Jungblut, who modestly credits the "highly skilled professionals" who worked with him to finish both projects on time and on budget.Jungblut's modesty is reflected in the results of a recent 360-degree review conducted at the hospital in which his peers gave him higher ratings than he gave himself, according to Shore Memorial President and Chief Executive Officer Al Gutierrez. Gutierrez says Jungblut's consensus-building style has helped him succeed since coming to Shore Memorial. "Peter's able to bring together people from different groups who are advocating for their individual points of view and coalesce them into strategic action."
In managing issues related to length of stay, for example, Jungblut is able to build a bridge between the hospital's need for efficiency and the clinical team's need for proper care, Gutierrez says. "Peter is able to facilitate those discussions in a way that allows us to do the right thing for both the patient and the organization."Gutierrez adds that Jungblut's ability to discuss financial issues with the hospital's chief financial officer has been a welcome surprise. "Usually that is a difficult encounter with someone who is a strong clinical advocate-breaking down (an issue) into financials," Gutierrez says.
Says Jungblut: "As a physician-executive, I think I'm able to offer an appreciation of the clinical challenges of bringing new services into the community and an awareness of where some of the potential pitfalls may be."