‘Never regretted’ becoming CEO
nization in 1997, when Denver Health, Colorado’s safety net provider anchored by the Denver Health Medical Center, changed its name from Denver General, and switched from being a city-owned managed healthcare organization into an independent political subdivision of the state.
“I believe in an integrated system of care,” she said. “I believe in employed physicians, and I believe in global payments to get rid of fee-for-service.”
Denver Health has operated in the black since 1991, and Gabow implemented procedures based on the Toyota Production System, which are said to have resulted in savings of $120 million since 2006.
The community apparently trusts Gabow with its money, as evidenced by voter approval of a $148 million bond issue in 2003 and their OK to borrow another $5.8 million in bonds in 2008.
Gabow, 67, was named to Modern Healthcare’s Top 25 Women in Healthcare and 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare lists twice each, and to the 50 Most Influential Physician Executives list four times.
Anne Warhover, president and CEO of the Colorado Health Foundation, said in an e-mail that Gabow’s work is recognized locally as well “and has positioned Colorado at the forefront of people-focused health reform.”
Gabow is expected to return to the system to help her successor with the transition after a three-month separation required under Denver Health policy, according to a news release the system.
Gabow said her mother questioned her decision to become a CEO saying, “Why are you doing that? I thought you went to med school to take care of people?” But Gabow countered that she knew she could assist more people as the administrator of system than as a doctor helping one patient at a time.
“I’ve never regretted it,” Gabow said.
Gabow will return to help successor with transition.