Top 25 Emerging Leaders
Kevin Unger truly has had a long-term relationship with Poudre Valley Hospital.
Unger was born at the Fort Collins, Colo., hospital in 1969, returning in 2001 as vice president of planning and strategic development for the parent company, Poudre Valley Health System. He was named vice president of operations and ambulatory care for the 252-bed flagship Poudre Valley Hospital in March 2003, rising to president and chief executive officer in October 2005.
As the top executive, Unger was quickly thrust into the public spotlight when the parent company announced plans for a new hospital in Loveland, Colo. Leaning on his local connection to Fort Collins during public meetings and one-on-one discussions, he earned the community’s trust, recalls Rulon Stacey, president and CEO of the health system.
Poudre Valley Health System opened 136-bed Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland in February. Employees of the 82-year-old Poudre Valley Hospital as well as residents of Fort Collins had misgivings about the new hospital’s impact on future investment in Poudre Valley, Stacey says.
Opening the new hospital created “jealousy and silos and conflicts, and he was the exact right person to be there and remind people what our vision is … we are not slighting anybody,” Stacey says. “I remember him saying numerous times, ‘I was born at Poudre Valley Hospital. I grew up in Fort Collins. I am a Fort Collins High School graduate. This is me—I am you,’ ” Stacey says.
In addition to soothing concerns about the new facility, Unger has led many achievements at Poudre Valley Hospital, which include:
- An increase in net patient revenue in 2006 to $383 million on gross patient revenue of $690 million from $340 million in net patient revenue on $575 million in gross patient revenue in the previous year.
- Nurturing a successful four-specialty robotic surgery program, launched in 2004, which celebrated its 500th procedure on June 19. Seventeen physicians are certified to use two, $1.5 million da Vinci robotic systems from Intuitive Surgical.
- Leading a $35 million construction program that includes a parking garage, medical office building, expanded surgery suites and a computerized medical-records system.
- Numerous milestones in the quality realm, including 100% compliance with employee hand-washing procedures and a 30-month run, ended in March, without a significant medication error. “I am very happy where I am,” Unger says. “I am at a good-sized hospital and really enjoy and love my job.”