37 Chief administrative officer Alameda (Calif.) Hospital
WHEN BONNIE PANLASIGUI ARRIVED at Alameda (Calif.) Hospital as chief administrative officer in October 2014, the facility was operating in the red with more than $10 million in debt.
To improve finances, she set out to change the entire culture of the organization. Leaders throughout the hospital began working together to spot inefficiencies in their departments and to implement new processes. A daily huddle with all of management was implemented to discuss any potential issues for that day.
Within a year, Alameda paid off the debt and now boasts a 5% operating margin, Panlasigui said. “The real transformation wasn’t only the financial turnaround, it was building a culture of transparency and trust, arming our leaders with as much information as possible to do their jobs,” she said.
Panlasigui said her leadership philosophy is to listen closely to those on the frontlines who interact with patients every day, which helps her learn more about the organization’s strengths and shortcomings.
Many on staff at Alameda are Asian-American, and because Panlasigui is Korean-American, she says they can easily relate to her. She also works to connect with patients on a personal level. Panlasigui once bought a Korean patient a Korean ginseng chicken soup, after staff told her she wasn’t eating.
Advocacy for more diversity at all levels in healthcare, especially leadership, is also a passion for Panlasigui. In 2005, she founded the Asian Healthcare Leaders Forum, a subsidiary of the American College of Healthcare Executives. The organization provides resources and tools for other up and coming leaders in healthcare. “We need more diversity in executive-level healthcare positions that truly reflect the workforce and community served,” she said.