The Issue: Reform in the Era of Health-Care Reform

Imagine trying to turn around a struggling hospital that just four years ago was facing multimillion-dollar losses, despite an annual government subsidy of $10.7 million. Add to this financial nightmare pervasive apathy among employees and physicians alike, complacency bordering on inertia, and an absence of accountability for results, even within the institution's leadership ranks. Layer atop this set of circumstances the question of health-care reform in the U.S., whose outcome even the most knowledgeable are hard-pressed to predict, and you've got an impossible confluence of leadership challenges. But it's a task that Dr. Karen Bankston, senior vice-president of Cincinnati-based Drake Center, took on. With a determined spirit and an abiding belief that the hospital-based Drake could become an institution to be admired, Dr. Bankston decided the real issues were ones of culture and accountability. Her efforts to transform the culture to a high-performance organization have paid off. I began working with Dr. Bankston and her leadership team at Drake in the summer of 2008. Together, we embarked on a journey that is both improving the patient and employee experience at Drake and making a difference in the bottom line.

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