Saturday, September 5, 2009
Profile: Bruce Holstein, CEO of Christus Spohn Health System; He Has Reawaken The Initial Missionary Zeal of the Entity!!!
CORPUS CHRISTI — Bruce Holstein – approachable, down-to-earth yet the “big picture” sort of guy -- is about to complete two years as the CEO of Christus Spohn Health System. He is currently involved in one of the most exciting chapters of the history of the mentioned Health system (which is a faith-based one) he leads. One of his goals currently is to seek input on a regular basis from the community as well as staff members of hospital to capture the main theme – that is, of “compassionate” – that has historically defined the foundational aim of the health system he is now in charge of steering.
Holstein, who has an extensive professional health-care background in his field, is passionate about this area, a geographical area that reminds of the traditional and rich make-up of culture and views that he grew up as a boy. “I feel very much at home here,” he told El Defenzor.
He grew up in a challenging background; this reporter believes the average working person can relate to him. He started working in a hospital environment when he was 16 in the kitchen area and eventually (though training and education) up the totem pole to management. "His story mirrors our story," said Oscar Villa "Bullet" and Hispanic Movement activist and musician. His (Holstein's) father served as his role model (i.e., his father was involved in a health field in the military.
His work ethic and nimble mind yet affable demeanor made him a good candidate for administration. Before coming to the area, he headed Sentara Norfolk General Hospital and the Sentara heart Hospital in Virginia. He did not just come to run the hospital on a predictable and management recipe. He approached it first as a facilitator.
He has first started a dialogue with diverse parties in the community to try to identify themes that carry a hefty amount of emotional weight and pragmatic evaluative value. He told El Defenzor: “First I focused on getting my feet on the ground, and then I started working on a strategic plan. I want to meet as many people as I could before I began to translate everything into coherent goals for the system. No preconceived plan. I honestly want the strategic plan to meet the needs of this area in a bona fide manner.”
Holstein has been overseeing half a dozen Christus Spohn Health System hospitals. Three in Corpus Christi and one in Alice, another in Kingsville, and thus one in Beeville. His day-in and day-out job description is elementally to work methodically with the board of directors in addition (to iterate) to overseeing the mentioned six campuses.
Holstein’s is using his extensive knowledge and background to promote a sense of grows in the region. “I am working closely with the medical residency programs that train postgraduate physicians in various fields. I am passionate about assisting the current board working closely with me to promote the hospital’s programs,” he said. Family medicine and emergency medicine – these are two programs that Christus Spohn Memorial currently has. Spohn Memorial is rated a level-three trauma center and is vying for a level-two status.
Holstein wants to do his best to reach out fairly and integrate well with the various sectors of the burg. Many in health fields believe that Holstein can be catalyst to take the hospital to level-one status. “The key variable that determines the various levels is a hospital’s potential to treat traumatic injuries… This is Holstein’s forte,” a local MD shared.
A local newspaper reported soon after he was appointed: “Holstein’s appointment comes at an important time for the health system. In November, the Joint Commission, a nonprofit group that accredits hospitals based on patient care and facility operations, released preliminary reports to Spohn officials stating that Spohn Memorial, Shoreline and South did not comply with the commission’s standards during an unannounced site visit…The hospitals were given six months to improve operations in 18 areas, which include standardizing policies and procedures and improving infectious disease control.”
Holstein is becoming the sunlit face of the Health System, a Health System that is well on its way – during his the tenure -- to fixing some of the setbacks of the past. But he is more concerned about moving into the future closely interspersing the theme of “compassion” along the way.
The morale and confidence is high at Christus Spohn Health system. Holstein is proving on a daily basis that he not only has the knack to escort organizations to the highest merit they can achieve with their available resources, but most importantly, he exemplifies the “culture of compassion” that was the initial goal of the hospital. He has reawakened the original missionary zeal of the entity he leads.
(Note: Bruce Holstein has a Bachelors degree in health care administration, University of La Verne in California; as well as a Masters degree in business administration with a focus in health care from the University of Colorado at Denver.)