Q&A with Dr. Steve Narang, CEO, Banner-University Medicine Phoenix

Q&A with Dr. Steve Narang, CEO, Banner-University Medicine Phoenix

April 12, 2019
From the April 2019 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

A patient room looks out at the Phoenix city
skyline and the mountains beyond
At that time, my wife and I were both in D.C. and decided to go to Louisiana. We had looked at the public health data, the gap in terms of numbers of physicians, and saw a state where we could make a significant impact. So in 2000, we made our move, and I began my career as a pediatric hospitalist in New Orleans. In 2008, I enrolled in Harvard’s Masters of Healthcare Management Program, a unique program designed to transform physicians into leaders.

It was this experience that help accelerate my personal transformation to being more effective in leading at the intersection of clinical quality, finance and operations, focused on maximizing potential of individuals and teams to improve outcomes.

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HCB News: How long have you been with Banner Health?
SN: I became CMO in 2011 at Banner Health’s Cardon Children’s Medical Center, and in 2013 I had the unique opportunity to lead Arizona’s largest medical center as CEO of Banner Good Samaritan, which is now named Banner-University Medical Center, Phoenix.

HCB News: What attracts people – both patients and employees – to Banner Health?
SN: Banner has a now 20-year history focused on improving clinical quality. I remember when I was looking at health systems around 2010, to find which systems fit with my personal vision, and I was struck reading about Peter Fine and his vision of creating a “clinical quality” company It was a powerful statement that empowered many and set Banner Health on the continual journey of defining, measuring, analyzing and improving processes to ultimately improve patient-centered outcomes. If there’s a better way to deliver care, Banner Health is committed to finding it.

HCB News: There’s been a lot of concern about staffing shortages in healthcare. Are you seeing that, is it a big concern for you?
SN: That’s one of the few topics I think that keeps health system leaders up at night, particularly in the area of nursing and physician staffing. We are going through a time where there is a high demand and not enough supply, nationally, of nurses and certain physician specialties. In Phoenix, we’re seeing continual population growth and expecting, actually, an increase in inpatient admissions, which is not a trend hospital systems in different markets seem to be experiencing. We also recently opened up a new 16-story patient tower and have already a significant uptick in both patient volume and acuity. Thus, it goes without saying that one of our highest priorities is to not only recruit the country’s best nurses and providers to join us, but also to retain our team members. Our partnership with the University of Arizona Health Sciences has been instrumental in our ability to train future healthcare professionals. And our most important strategy is simple – fostering and sustaining a culture of high engagement and leadership effectiveness. A great culture with a focus on people is by far your best recruiting and retention tool.

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