Transforming a hospital in crisis

By Jeff Carlton

Michael Williams

 

When Dr. Michael Williams took charge as CEO of Hill Country Memorial in 2008, the rural hospital in Fredericksburg faced systemic problems.

It was losing money every year. Patient satisfaction was low. Employee morale had plummeted. And community members routinely were seeking better care in Austin, San Antonio and elsewhere.

But under the innovative leadership of Dr. Williams, now president of UNT Health Science Center, Hill Country Memorial became a hospital transformed, ranking among the nation’s best for quality and safety. It received a presidential honor for health care excellence through innovation and leadership.

PBS News Hour declared the success at Hill Country Memorial “a model for other rural hospitals” and interviewed Dr. Williams about his leadership in a story that aired last week.

Among his innovations was a willingness to look outside of health care for answers. He hired a Toyota engineer to help implement the car manufacturer’s management philosophies, a Southwest Airlines consultant to focus on hospital culture and a Ritz Carlton executive to remake customer service.

Dr. Williams’ experience as a physician leader and business executive informs his role as president of UNTHSC. He’s called for transformational change that will turn the Health Science Center into a national leader in education, research and health care innovation.

By 2020, he wants the university positioned as the education and research partner for Tarrant County hospitals and health care systems, a new MD school with TCU up and running and the establishment of a Patient Safety Institute that will leading the way in reducing medical errors.

“My vision is that we will be an extraordinary team committed to excellence and unafraid to challenge conventional wisdom,” Dr. Williams said.

Watch the PBS News Hour story

 

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