Top 25 Emerging Leaders
Mike Stuart, 32
Chief Financial Officer, Daughters of Charity Health System
Mike Stuart got a unique opportunity in 2002, when he was asked to join the newly formed Daughters of Charity Health System.
Stuart, now 32, was working as a healthcare consultant with Deloitte & Touche when Daughters of Charity left Catholic Healthcare West to form its own system that year. The seven-hospital system had a rich 150-year-old mission of serving the poor in California. But it had no system office (it is now based in Los Altos Hills, Calif.), and no central administration.
“It was a start-up situation,” Stuart says.
He joined an eight-member team at the system level, working as a consultant on all aspects of the new organization. After nearly a year, Stuart came on full time. In 2005, he was named vice president of system finance and was promoted to chief financial officer in 2007. Among his achievements are obtaining a first-ever public bond rating for the system.
Charles Plimpton, director of Citi Global Markets, says Stuart “makes decisions easily and wisely. His strategic foundation and vision carry him way beyond simple numbers.”
Stuart is a recent graduate of the Ministry Leadership Center's Leadership Formation program, a three-year process that develops healthcare leaders in the Catholic tradition. Although he is not Catholic, he says his job at Daughters of Charity suits him perfectly. “It's an organization that lives its mission and instills it in all of its associates,” he says. That mission has become ever more important to the communities it serves during the economic downturn. Daughters of Charity operates in towns in California where the unemployment rate tops the state average of 12%. In one Southern California market, the unemployment rate has reached 20%. Charity care is up 40% over last year across the system, and patient volume has dropped over the past 18 months, though it has stabilized, he says. Right now, Stuart is working with colleagues toward immediate financial improvement, and also seeking to set up accountable care organizations and pursue other ways to become more integrated. “The challenges are doing more with less and becoming more efficient and nimble,” he says. “It's going to be difficult, I can't understate that.” He likes a quote from St. Vincent de Paul: “You can't feed the poor with empty hands.” Vincent de Paul founded Daughters of Charity in 1633. The Daughters started their first social ministry in San Francisco in 1852 and went on to open charitable hospitals around the state. “It's our mission to be good stewards of our resources,” Stuart says. “My challenge is to find a way to make the resources available.”