In an exclusive interview, Warren Geller, President and CEO of Englewood Hospital and Medical Center (EHMC), offers an inside look at how his facility has evolved from a community hospital into an award-winning medical center that cares for its community.
EHMC is a nonprofit health system. What does that mean for patient care and the surrounding community?
We provide care to everyone regardless of their ability to pay. We know that the more we can provide care on a proactive basis, the less sick our patients will be in the future. We are constantly striving to be the best for the populations we serve. We think about the needs of our community and invest every dollar earned back into cutting-edge technology and development of new programs. As healthcare is a rising and expensive need, we are charged with providing care in an increasingly efficient manner at a lower cost. Nothing we do would be possible without our Board of Trustees who give their time, energy and expertise, as well as our generous benefactors.
You are in the final stretch of a $50-million capital campaign. What has this funding allowed you to accomplish?
Our campaign has raised more than $43,000,000 to date. It is humbling to be the beneficiary of our community’s generosity. The funds raised through this record-breaking philanthropic initiative will underwrite the single most significant modernization program in the medical center’s history. The centerpiece project is the Lefcourt Family Cancer Treatment and Wellness Center, our state-of-the-art, 180,000-square-foot center which houses all oncology services and experts in one location. We also built a new Family Birth Place, where we offer award-winning maternity care in luxury accommodations, as well as a state-of-the-art neonatal intensive care unit for our smallest and most vulnerable patients.
Could you comment on the leadership style and success that have won you recognition?
EHMC is not my hospital; it’s our community’s hospital. I’m honored and privileged to be the steward of this dynamic ship. My goal is to give caregivers and their teams the safest and most efficient environment possible to deliver care. Our strength is in our medical staff, nurses, clinical and nonclinical teams. It doesn’t matter what your job title is; this is a 100 percent team effort. It is our responsibility to nurture the next generation of leaders, and I strive every day to promote an environment that fosters success.
Tell us about the community partnerships that are integral to EHMC’s success.
Our medical center enjoys collaborative partnerships with many local and regional businesses and nonprofit organizations, all focused on providing access to the highest-quality services for all members of our shared communities. Our relationship with Benzel-Busch and the Agresta family is one of particular pride. Their brand personifies the highest level of quality and customer care. J. and Arthur Agresta always deliver above and beyond; I am proud to call them colleagues and friends. All of us in the service industry have a lot to learn from them, and they are willing to share. Their generosity and support go a long way toward helping us achieve our goals.
You are known to make frequent patient rounds as well as interact with employees in your organization and be active in the community. Why is this important to you?
An important component of quality leadership is the ability to listen. I need to be omnipresent in the hospital and out in the community to observe interactions firsthand. It’s important, as a leader, to build that time into my daily routine. To accomplish this, I ensure my days are not entirely booked in conference rooms and meetings. I want to be out in the halls, listening to our team, to understand what we are doing really well and what we can build upon as we strive to achieve optimal performance. It all goes back to being a good listener. Our patients and the entire organization love to interact with our management team, and we can’t be out there too much. It’s not possible to over-communicate. When we are all in agreement on our standards of excellence, we can rise to the occasion together.
What do EHMC’s many awards and recognitions mean to you?
We receive a multitude of awards for high-quality care and the safe experiences we provide. We are not excited as much by the trophies as by the fabulous outcomes we achieve. Our entire team puts their personal needs and interests aside to focus on our patients, and these awards reinforce our standards of excellence. They are a testament to the effort it takes to provide the level of care our community demands and deserves, and help our team members feel encouraged by the positive impact they are making on our patients and families.