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Foresight is the key to David Lopez’s leadership

By | July 14th, 2014 | Blog | Add A Comment

 

David Lopez: “Once you’ve established what you need to get accomplished, you’ve got to keep after it. You don’t let little things deter you.”

 

One in a series of profiles of Modern Healthcare’s Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare (sponsored by Furst Group)

 

Over the last several years, as many hospitals and health systems across the country were building patient towers for their acute-care needs, David Lopez, the outgoing CEO of Harris Health System in Houston, was quietly shifting his organization in anticipation of some of the changes that the Affordable Care Act has brought.

 

He didn’t expect more revenues from inpatient services; he worked to build a strong wellness program and to ramp up primary care heavily. There’s a reason for that.

 

“If you look at our statistics, 64 percent of our patients have no insurance,” he says. “For us, more volume on the acute-care side means we spend more money. For us, it’s not about generating more revenue. It’s about managing our costs.”

 

Harris provides 35,000 admissions every year, but Lopez notes that outpatient visits have reached 1.4 million annually, with an additional increase of 300,000 expected in the next 18 months.

 

“If the patient can be taken care of in a primary-care setting or another setting, the best way to lower your cost overall is to avoid the admission,” he says. “You’re better off doing that than looking at the patient as a potential revenue opportunity.”

 

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