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.”
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responsible for overseeing the construction of a new, $35 million community hospital to replace Mercy Willard’s outdated plant.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.