Mark Kloster­man

Modern Healthcare - - SPECIAL FEATURE - —Me­lanie Evans

“He’s al­ways look­ing for the next op­por­tu­nity for im­prove­ment.”

Mark Kloster­man’s early in­ter­est in sci­ence de­vel­oped into a med­i­cal tech­nol­ogy de­gree and led to a job in hospi­tal lab­o­ra­to­ries. But it was the de­sire to im­prove health­care and guid­ance pro­vided by an in­for­mal men­tor that drew him to­ward the C-suite. Kloster­man, 40, pres­i­dent and CEO of St. Joseph’s Hospi­tal in Breese, Ill., says he ben­e­fited greatly from an ac­ces­si­ble chief ex­ec­u­tive at the Min­nesota hospi­tal where he landed one of his first man­age­ment jobs.

“He re­ally in­flu­enced me in a pos­i­tive way,” says Kloster­man, who says he hopes he can “be an in­spi­ra­tion to some­body and give them a good idea if this is some­thing they want to do.”

From that Min­nesota hospi­tal where he served as di­rec­tor of lab­o­ra­tory ser­vices, now the San­ford Wor­thing­ton (Minn.) Med­i­cal Cen­ter, Kloster­man quickly went on to be­come a CEO him­self.

Kloster­man left the Min­nesota hospi­tal in 2002 to join then-Sioux Val­ley Hos­pi­tals & Health Sys­tem, now part of San­ford Health, as an in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy project man­ager. He holds a mas­ter’s de­gree in in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy, in ad­di­tion to his MBA. Less than a year and a half later, he was named chief ex­ec­u­tive of Avera Health’s Gre­gory (S.D.) Health­care Cen­ter. Mark Reif­steck, who re­cruited Kloster­man to his cur­rent role as head of St. Joseph, part of the Hospi­tal Sis­ters Health Sys­tem based in Spring­field, Ill., says Kloster­man’s com­bi­na­tion of clin­i­cal lab­o­ra­tory ex­pe­ri­ence, knowl­edge of in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy and his ex­ec­u­tive-level ex­pe­ri­ence made him a stand­out can­di­date for the hospi­tal’s top job. Reif­steck, pres­i­dent of Hospi­tal Sis­ters’ south­ern Illi­nois division, says Kloster­man has mo­ti­vated his em­ploy­ees and met tough times with an ap­proach­able style. “Mark is a very hands-on,” he says.

Kloster­man pledged to shave his head—and raf­fled off the rights to the clip­per—if the hospi­tal reached 100% par­tic­i­pa­tion in an em­ployee-sat­is­fac­tion sur­vey. It did. Funds raised through the raf­fle went to the Jo­plin, Mo., hospi­tal de­stroyed by a May 2011 tor­nado.

Reif­steck says it would be easy to dis­miss Kloster­man’s chal­lenge as kitschy. “It isn’t,” he says. Kloster­man did some­thing per­sonal to ac­com­plish an im­por­tant goal and help an­other hospi­tal.

Af­ter an in­mate be­ing treated at St. Joseph’s wres­tled a sidearm from a guard and fired it in the ER, Kloster­man raced to the hospi­tal to meet with pa­tients and em­ploy­ees. No one was injured, but Kloster­man “un­der­stood this was a trau­matic thing,” Reif­steck says.

Mary Star­mann-Har­ri­son, pres­i­dent and CEO of Hospi­tal Sis­ters Health Sys­tem, says Kloster­man also seeks to learn from his col­leagues even as Hospi­tal Sis­ters looks to St. Joseph’s for suc­cess­ful strate­gies. The hospi­tal’s pa­tient sat­is­fac­tion, em­ployee en­gage­ment and fi­nan­cial per­for­mance are strong, she says. “He’s al­ways look­ing for that next op­por­tu­nity for im­prove­ment.”

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