Mark Howard has worked in just about every kind of hospital there is: military hospitals in Vietnam and Thailand, a teaching hospital in California, a succession of not-for-profit hospitals during a 21-year career with Intermountain Healthcare, and, most recently, 235-bed MountainView Hospital in Las Vegas, an HCA facility. He remembers when MountainViews site was an open field, and has been at its helm since the day it opened in 1995. Weve delivered 27,000 babies here, he says. Thats a small citys worth.
For this broad swath of experience, and the leadership he has displayed every step of the way, Howard, 65, has been given the American College of Healthcare Executives Gold Medal Award for 2008, bestowed on outstanding leaders who have made significant contributions to the healthcare field through a career of service.
Mark is considered an extraordinary individual, says ACHE President and Chief Executive Officer Thomas Dolan. Hes been able to bring together the medical staff and his various boards to make his hospital a leader in its community. And hes certainly made a contribution to the larger healthcare community. I cant think of anyone else whos chaired two different state hospital associations (in Utah and Nevada). He has also served on a host of ACHE committees, including two stints on the board of governors.
Howard received his Master of Health Administration from UCLA in 1969, doing an administrative residence at what is now called the University of California at Irvine Medical Center, Orange. After graduating, he promptly went to work for his uncleUncle Sam, that isrunning a succession of Air Force hospitals. He was one of the youngest U.S. military hospital administrators in Vietnam. In 1974, he went to Intermountain in Salt Lake City, where he held several positions of increasing authority, ending up as CEO of IHC Hospitals of Central Utah. From there, he moved on to HCA as MountainViews first CEO.
Today, the hospital has a medical staff of 1,200, all board-certified. Howard says it was one of the first hospitals to make board certification a credentialing requirement. I want people to walk out of here saying, I got good care, he says.
Along the way, Howard estimates that he has had at least 250 health administration students shadow him, and he has done his best to encourage the next generation of health administrators, whom he admires for their smarts and dedication. Mentoring is in his best interest, he believes: When Im in the hospital 20 years from now, I want it to be well-run.
Howard is about to embark on a new chapter in his career, one that will fulfill a long-held dream. Hell retire from MountainView in the spring to head a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It could be anywhereAfrica, the Philippines, even somewhere in the U.S.but he knows what hell be doing. Ill be running things, he says. It wont be that different from what I do here.