Top 25 Emerging Leaders
Maggie Koehler, 40
chief financial officer and senior vice president, Wyoming Valley Health Care System
Maggie Koehler is well prepared when she walks into a meeting.
"When Maggie calls a meeting," says Mary Cummings, general counsel for the Wyoming Valley Health Care System in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., "you know you're not going to waste time."
And Koehler is certainly ready when she sits down to negotiate. One of her early responsibilities with the system was negotiating managed-care contracts. After two insurers announced they were exiting the Wilkes-Barre market while Wyoming Valley was in negotiations, "The running joke for a while was, `Let Maggie negotiate and then they'll leave,' " Koehler says. She adds: "A lot of insurers have a take-it-or-leave-it attitude. We weren't about to do that."
In June, Koehler, 40, became chief financial officer and senior vice president of the system, which includes an acute-care and a behavioral health hospital. Cummings, who's seen Koehler's negotiating style firsthand, says Koehler was an obvious choice for the system's CFO position.
William Host, the system's president and chief executive officer, says Koehler's negotiating skills were one reason she was selected for the job. She meticulously prepares for negotiating "to the sadness of the people she's negotiating with," he says.
Recently, she helped win a wage-index appeal, which will give the system access to an additional $3 million in Medicare reimbursements annually, Host says. Koehler also played a significant role in negotiating an $11 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that's been used for interconnectivity technology that helps Wyoming Valley's facilities communicate with other hospitals.
Soon after Koehler joined Wyoming Valley in 1995 as the director of managed-care services, tumultuous times started. The system, which had an operating loss of $25 million in its fiscal 1999, hired the turnaround firm Hunter Group. About 800 full- and part-time jobs were eliminated as part of its remedial plan, but Koehler's responsibilities increased as she was promoted to the administrative director of managed-care and physician services, and eventually vice president of planning and development, the position she held until June.
During the time Koehler worked in the system's managed-care services, she helped collect more than $1.8 million in 5-year-old account receivables, a significant reduction, Host says.
In fiscal 2003, the system suffered a net loss of $8.5 million, but it posted net income of about $3 million in fiscal 2004. Some of the loss in 2003 was attributed to charges related to a nursing strike, Host says.
"Things are getting better," Koehler says.