DAVID BURDA, EDITOR OF MODERN HEALTHCARE AND MODERN PHYSICIAN: Oh, all right. Steve, why dont we, we start by getting your reaction to being named one of the 50 Most Powerful Physician Executives in Healthcare by the readers of Modern Physician and Modern Healthcare magazines?
DR. STEPHEN NEWMAN: Well, I was delighted to receive this honor. I was surprised and pleased to be named to the top 50, especially No. 4. And Ive gotten a lot of positive reinforcement from our colleagues at Tenet as well as my friends and colleagues around the country. So its really been a very nice thing, not to mention the fact my family is pleased.
DAVID BURDA: Have you asked Trevor Fetter for a raise since you are No. 4?
DR. STEPHEN NEWMAN: I have not asked him for a raise but thats an excellent idea, and I may transmit that to him electronically.
DAVID BURDA: Very good. Just make sure you dont slip to like No. 12 next year because, well
DR. STEPHEN NEWMAN: Got to keep pushing, right?
DAVID BURDA: Thats right. What happened in your career that made you decide to stop practicing medicine and get into management and administration?
DR. STEPHEN NEWMAN: Well, thats an interesting story. Its one of the most difficult decisions that Ive ever made in my life and it goes back to 1985 when I was asked to work on the Provider Relations Committee of a new Medicaid HMO in Ohio in Montgomery County. And I was asked by the Montgomery County Medical Society leadership to represent the medical society on that new Medicaid HMO. And then that was my first taste of managed care and subsequently I educated myself by taking a couple of courses in healthcare finance and healthcare accounting at Xavier University in Cincinnati. Subsequently made that decision over that five-year period to go into management and did it in 1990.
DAVID BURDA: Do you miss practicing medicine at all?
DR. STEPHEN NEWMAN: I dont miss practicing medicine. I think that I have a lot of exposure to clinical situations today in addition to my full-time responsibilities as chief operating officer. I serve as interim chief medical officer for the company, directly supervise those people in the Clinical Quality Department and, therefore, have virtually continuous contact with clinicians. And when I travel around the country seeing our hospitals from the East Coast to the West Coast I always meet with physicians. So I feel very comfortable with that clinical involvement and dont really miss the actual clinical practice every day.
DAVID BURDA: Do you think physicians carry more clout in healthcare management or business than other executives because they are physicians? What do physicians bring to the table?
DR. STEPHEN NEWMAN: Well, Im not sure I would use the word clout, but I do feel there, there is an additional element of synchrony that physician-executives bring to interactions with clinicians that practice in hospitals and outpatient facilities. And I think the fact that I practiced for 15 years gives me an understanding of the aspirations, the frustrations, the good times and the bad times that practicing physicians have each and every day. And I try to embed those thoughts and those values into making the very difficult healthcare management decisions we have to do today because resources are always constrained.
DAVID BURDA: Do you see physician-executives becoming a bigger force for change in healthcare in the future?
DR. STEPHEN NEWMAN: Well, I think as I look back over my career in management which now spans over 18 years, early on the feeling was that physicians would not move to positions of high authority or responsibility in large hospitals or health systems. I think weve proven that to not be true. I think over time the pressures on allocation of resources are such that those with a clinical background are in the unique position to try to balance that never-ending conflict between whats needed and whats wanted as we go through the evolution of our healthcare system.
DAVID BURDA: And where do you see yourself in five years?
DR. STEPHEN NEWMAN: Hopefully doing the same job that Im doing, just a little better in a stronger organization that is touching more lives each day and improving both service and clinical quality to the communities we serve across the company.
DAVID BURDA: Very good, Steve. Anything else you want to add to, to say to our readers?
DR. STEPHEN NEWMAN: No, Im just delighted to be here and want to thank Modern Healthcare and Modern Physician for sponsoring this particular gala and look forward to seeing all my colleagues tonight.
DAVID BURDA: Very good. Well done. Thank you.