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Embarking on a new leadership role during the pandemic

por John W. Mitchell, Senior Correspondent | June 11, 2021
From the May 2021 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

HCB News: How are you serving patient populations in your service area?
LD: We have a very diverse population, and we keep our community needs assessment up to date to make sure we're best serving our patients. With the switch from fee-for-service to value healthcare delivery, our challenge is to be the lowest-cost provider with the best outcomes. That requires MultiCare to act as a steward of our resources and to reach out to form community partnerships to deliver value care. One example is our partnership that offers free dental services in South King County for individuals on Medicaid, people experiencing homelessness or those that are uninsured. This kind of program removes barriers for underserved populations.

A skyway between two buildings above ground at Tacoma General Hospital.
Another example is if we can safely move a patient out of the emergency room (the most expensive point-of-entry into the healthcare system) to an urgent care center or the home. That reduces the cost of care to our community.

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HCB News: So far, what has surprised you or impressed you the most about your new position?
LD: Taking on a new position in a pandemic has been a challenge. I have enjoyed helping our leaders and our amazing staff during the pandemic. Our organization focused on making sure our team has had the proper protective equipment and support to care for patients properly. In December, I volunteered as a nurse to give vaccines. I don’t often get to provide hands-on care and that was an absolute joy. MultiCare completed our 100,000th vaccine recently. I’m really proud of our excellent work in meeting this milestone to protect the community’s health.

HCB News: Are there any initiatives or special projects you're undertaking or planning to launch?
LD: We’re working on updating a strategic campus master plan for Tacoma General now because we are building a new Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital across the street from our existing campus, with completion scheduled in 2024. This will allow us to expand into 92,000 square feet once the new children's hospital moves out. It's exciting because we'll be able to expand the care we provide throughout our patients' entire lifespans when these projects are finished.

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