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April 19, 2012 1:55 pm

Building trust in a new hospital CEO

Written by Tessa Schweigert

Patten brings new direction, vision for PVHC

As details of former Powell Valley Healthcare chief executive officer Paul Cardwell’s disastrous stint here continue to emerge, it’s understandable that residents are wary when they hear the words “hospital CEO.”
Stories of scandal circulate through the community, and feelings of betrayal linger.

This is the aftermath that Bill Patten faces as the new chief executive officer of the organization.
Four days before Patten began his job in Powell, his new employer, HealthTech Management Services, filed a lawsuit against Cardwell. On Patten’s first day in February, the PVHC board voted to join that suit. Within weeks, Cardwell was indicted on 15 federal criminal charges.
Meanwhile, Patten was settling into his new job.
Talk about trial by fire.
Thankfully, Patten came on board with plenty of experience in managing rural hospitals.
As he told the Tribune recently, “If I were a rookie, this would be a scary situation. But I’m pleased that, in many ways, the experience I’ve had prepared me for this job.”
Patten brings 25 years of experience in healthcare — 15 of those years as chief executive officer of small, rural hospitals in the West.
Building on that expertise, he has outlined clear goals to lead Powell Valley Healthcare in quality care while also working to make the organization profitable with strong cash reserves to afford needed infrastructure. He also wants to achieve high satisfaction scores from patients, physicians, employees and other customers.
We believe each of those goals are possible under a capable leader.
Perhaps most important for right now, Patten is seeking to be transparent and honest with Powell Valley Healthcare and the general public.
It’s now up to the Powell Valley community to give Patten a fresh start in his predecessor’s wake.
We understand that’s difficult. But remember that Bill Patten is not Paul Cardwell, and he deserves a fair shot.
Get to know Patten. Listen to his ideas and goals. Allow a relationship of trust to be established.
Yes, Powell Valley Healthcare and our community have baggage to work through, questions to answer and a case to settle.
The community is right to expect a better future under Patten’s leadership — but we cannot hold his predecessor’s actions against him.


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