Lauren Yedvab traces her healthcare career to the summer she was a locker-room attendant at a beach club on Long Island. She happened to sweep out the locker of a hospital administrator all summer long, so when a career planning class in college indicated her calling was either in hotel management or hospital administration, she chose the latter.
"I was able to get additional credit if I did an internship in one of those two areas," she says. The administrator whose locker she maintained offered her one at 165-bed New York Westchester Square Medical Center in the Bronx, and she took it.
"What I loved most about it was every single day was different," Yedvab says.
Soon she was on her way to a master's degree in hospital administration from Cornell University, a summer residency at 439-bed New York Hospital Medical Center of Queens, and then a yearlong residency at 570-bed New York Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn, where she has been ever since. In the 12 years she has been there, Yedvab, 36, has held a series of progressively senior management positions, culminating in her current job as senior vice president of administration. The hospital has no chief operating officer, and she is one of only two senior vice presidents.
"I give her all of the high-voltage projects, so to speak," says Mark Mundy, New York Methodist's president and chief executive officer. "She has a very bright, upbeat exterior, and more importantly she's got amazing substance behind all of that."
Managed care came late to New York hospitals, but Yedvab "amazed us with how quickly she was able to grasp the whole subject, as well as deal with all these managed-care companies," Mundy says. She has established and negotiated contracts for more than 120 products with 30 managed-care companies and increased managed-care discharges from 12% to 56% over nine years. In 2004, contracted revenue increased by 17%, which meant $8 million more in revenue for the hospital.
Yedvab also orchestrated the hospital's implementation of a clinical information system that now includes computerized physician-order entry, a nurse documentation system and an electronic medication- administration record. As of 2004, it had already saved $4 million from lower costs, improved efficiency and improved quality related to the effort.
The daughter of a high school science teacher, Yedvab married into healthcare. Her husband, Joshua, is a hospital administrator at North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, her father-in-law was a hospital administrator, and her husband's mother was a professional in healthcare informatics. Her husband's siblings are also in healthcare, and her brother is a chiropractor.
"My guess is a 36-year-old man would say I want to be a CEO in three years," she says. "As long as I'm happy, and as long as I continue to grow, that's really what it all comes down to."