B. Lynn Det­ter­man

“It was more about a big­ger pur­pose in life for me. ... I felt like I need to make a dif­fer­ence in my community.”

Modern Healthcare - - SPECIAL FEATURE - —Joe Carl­son

Lynn Det­ter­man wasn’t plan­ning to leave her job as a staff ac­coun­tant for a ma­jor firm in Cleve­land. Yet some­thing about the job open­ing as a fi­nan­cial op­er­a­tions man­ager at a mis­sion-ori­ented hospi­tal not far from her home town of New Lon­don, Ohio, ap­pealed deeply to her. In a role as man­ager of an ac­count­ing depart­ment at Mercy Wil­lard Hospi­tal, she knew she wouldn’t be pro­vid­ing di­rect pa­tient care, but the idea of serv­ing as a fi­nan­cial stew­ard to an in­sti­tu­tion serv­ing vi­tal community needs in­ter­ested her in a way that work at a big ac­count­ing firm didn’t, she says.

“It was more about a big­ger pur­pose in life for me,” she says. “I think it’s just how you’re wired as an in­di­vid­ual. I felt like I needed to make a dif­fer­ence in my community.”

So in June 2002, hop­ing to make a pos­i­tive community im­pact, she made the leap to the hospi­tal job, be­com­ing man­ager of fi­nan­cial op­er­a­tions.

Less than a decade later, Det­ter­man found her­self as the top ex­ec­u­tive re­spon­si­ble for over­see­ing the con­struc­tion of a new, $35 mil­lion community hospi­tal to re­place Mercy Wil­lard’s out­dated plant.

In 2009, she had taken the job as pres­i­dent and CEO of the 25bed crit­i­cal-ac­cess hospi­tal, owned by Catholic Health Part­ners. Af­ter ground broke for a hospi­tal in July 2010, she got a hard hat with her name on it and fre­quently vis­ited the con­struc­tion site to over­see con­struc­tion of the 101,000-square foot build­ing, which opened in May.

She says that al­though she comes from a fi­nan­cial back­ground, she re­spects the need for pa­tient safety as a goal in it­self. For ex­am­ple, the hospi­tal re­cently in­vested $60,000 in soft­ware that re­duces the amount of ra­di­a­tion de­liv­ered to pa­tients dur­ing CT scans by more than 40% be­cause of re­cent con­cerns about the ef­fects of high ra­di­a­tion lev­els on chil­dren and adults.

“That was com­plete ex­pense to our or­ga­ni­za­tion,” she says. “We are not re­im­bursed one cent for adding that soft­ware. But it was just the right thing to do.”

An­drea Price—pres­i­dent and CEO of Mercy’s North­ern Re­gion, the CHP cor­po­rate division that in­cludes Mercy Wil­lard— says Det­ter­man has a strong con­nec­tion to her staff.

“She’s def­i­nitely an ad­vo­cate of pa­tient safety and em­ployee safety,” Price says. “Tra­di­tion­ally, years ago we were told to round on pa­tients, and that’s fine, but we also need to round on our em­ploy­ees to make sure that they have the tools to do their jobs and to make sure they’re safe.”

Price praised Det­ter­man’s mis­sion to cul­ti­vate lo­cal health­care tal­ent, which in­cludes reach­ing out to students and na­tives who have left the area to see if they’re in­ter­ested in com­ing back to live near their fam­i­lies in north­ern Ohio.

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