When Rick Stevens, 37, joined Caritas Health Services in January 2003, he was among a handful of managers hired to help a new chief executive officer turn around the hospital's financial performance.
Stevens has done his part. "Rick's areas have performed very well. He has really taken the corporate initiatives that we have laid out and implemented them effectively," says Tom Gessel, chief operating officer at Caritas, part of Catholic Health Initiatives.Stevens, executive director of support services at Louisville, Ky.-based Caritas, oversees 14 areas and 315 employees. He directs support services as well as a variety of clinical departments.
Before his move to Caritas, Stevens, an Illinois native, held a number of positions overseeing support services at hospitals in Dallas, where he originally moved for an administrative residency program at Parkland Health & Hospital System. Stevens earned an undergraduate degree in biology and a graduate degree in public health with a concentration in administration at schools in Nashville.
At Caritas, Stevens cut costs in a variety of ways. He embraced a flexible staffing program in which each of the areas he oversees bases staffing levels on the hospital's census. As a result of the program, Stevens' departments were under budget for 17 full-time employees at Caritas Medical Center, an acute-care hospital in Louisville, and five full-time employees at Caritas Peace Center, apsychiatric hospital.Another cost-cutting move: Stevens enrolled the system in an HHS discount program for outpatient drugs. The program, available to medical facilities that serve a disproportionate share of the poor, saves Caritas $250,000 annually.
Stevens also shaved 20% to 25% off the cost of remodeling some inpatient floors and nurse's stations using in-house talent for some of the work. "We have a lot of skilled tradesmen who work in our engineering department. They mentioned, 'Why send this out when we can do some of the work in here?' I took them up on that challenge," St evens says.
The efforts of Stevens and other managers led to a $10 million turnaround from fiscal 2004 to 2005, which ended June 30. (Because the system is in partnership negotiations with Jewish Hospital HealthCare Services, Stevens says he can't share more specific financial information.)
Stevens also expanded Caritas' efforts to care for the poor.Along with Benjamin Richmond, president and CEO of the Louisville Urban League, Stevens co-chairs Louisville's Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day. The national program, sponsored by HHS and ABC Radio Networks, offers free health screenings to those who lack adequate insurance to seek preventive healthcare.
"Rick has gained some respect in the community because of this Take a Loved One to the Doctor,'' Richmond says. "He is an impressive young man."