There’s an event on the horizon Rick Davis is looking toward.
As a hospital administrator, it may be one of the biggest he’ll ever see — health care reform.
“Either you’ve been doing your homework or you’re dead,” said the 53-year-old Davis.
Being prepared is key for a small hospital like Central Peninsula Hospital, but it’s certainly not easy, Davis contends.
“That’s difficult in a community hospital like this,” he said. “It’s not a part of a big system like Providence or Alaska Regional. You kind of have to do a little more preparation ahead of time because when it hits, in a hospital like this you are going to be in big trouble if they haven’t done a lot of ground work ahead of time.”
Those big hospitals — both of which Davis worked for before coming to CPH — are waiting for it to hit before sorting out how to respond.
“The difference is that when that time does come, they’ve got all that system support to make a rapid change,” he said in his office Friday.
“But, a stand alone community hospital like this doesn’t have that system and support behind them.”
As the new Chief Operating Officer for CPH, Davis will help lead the hospital head on into a stack of new regulations most people — politicians included — have never read, he said.
Davis, a longtime Alaskan, took his new post at CPH Aug. 1. Davis started his career in hospital management at Providence Alaska Medical Center in 1992. He moved to Alaska Regional Hospital in 1996 where he worked up to the position of COO.
According to a news release, Davis helped Alaska Regional recruit key physicians, develop service lines and expand preferred provider contracts to “create a solid base of business.”
Davis’ background is in finance and economics and before moving to Alaska in 1991, he was an Idaho cattle purchaser.
He said he was pulled to CPH, in part, to be a part of a management team he contends is steering CPH in a better position all the time.
“(CPH Chief Executive Officer) Ryan (Smith) actually hired me at Alaska Regional 15 years ago, so we’ve worked together before,” he said. “I think this hospital is kind of working on its transition plans and Ryan approached me about the position and it sounded like a good opportunity.”
Davis said he was drawn to the Peninsula for a number of reasons.
“I like the community and I like the community-owned hospital model,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot about the for profit and not for profit hospital models and now community owned seems like a good model for me.”
The new COO also wants to help build on the wave of additions CPH has recently implemented.
“Ryan, the board and the community have all supported adding service lines and raising the bar in terms of quality and breadth of services,” he said. “I just want to keep that going.”
Smith praised Davis in a news release.
“Rick brings a wealth of experience, market knowledge and a sterling reputation to our local hospital,” he said in the release. “I am confident that Rick is dedicated to CPH’s unrelenting focus on quality and patient-centered care. We are extremely pleased and fortunate to have him join the CPH team.”
Being in and around the “raising the bar” attitude at CPH, Davis said, is infectious.
“It’s very pervasive throughout this hospital and I can feel it in the employees,” he said. “The employees here are very engaged and have good attitudes and that makes the job a lot easier.”
“We have a really strong, involved board and we have a really good medical staff. Those are some of the things that really drew me to the Peninsula. Without a good medical staff or board, this job is no fun at all.”
Although Davis will immerse himself in the business and operations of the hospital, he said he still likes the fact that his work still has a powerful impact on those in need.
“It is a field where you can really make a difference in people’s lives,” he said. “By improving the systems and the processes within the hospital, you can end up making a difference in a lot of people’s lives and their health. It’s a good feeling.”