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A conversation with Steve Edgar

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Saturday, March 9, 2013, at 10:42 p.m.
  • Updated Saturday, March 9, 2013, at 11:02 p.m.

For Steve Edgar, who was appointed CEO of Galichia Heart Hospital in December, a career in health care was sparked by having physical therapy after a high school football injury.

“The reality for me is I hadn’t even been aware of physical therapy until I was injured,” Edgar said.

“I had put a lot of focus on the athlete side more so than what I was going to do professionally down the road. Having that happen made me realize all of a sudden that some things are not going to be options.”

The Brookfield, Mo., native has a physical therapy degree from the University of Missouri and a master’s degree in health administration from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

He worked as a physical therapist for more than 20 years before deciding to move from the clinical side to the administrative side.

Edgar made the switch to administration through Hospital Corporation of America’s executive development program and moved to Wichita in 2007 to work at Wesley Medical Center as chief operating officer.

Galichia, which has 99 beds and 337 employees, was acquired by Wesley in February 2012.

What impact has your clinical background had on you as an administrator?

My time spent in providing care has made an impression on me. In some ways, that ties back in with working with therapists and trainers that were good at what they did and impressed upon me the importance of doing things correctly. From a rehabilitation stand point, I apply that to my professional career to establish a continuum of care in every area. …I was fortunate to have folks along the way, mentors and coworkers who encouraged me from the leadership and administrative side of things.

What have you enjoyed so far in your role as CEO?

I very much enjoy the professionalism of the staff. They’re a very welcoming group. I love the opportunity to stop in on patients and visit with them and their families and just kind of see how they’re doing and get their feedback on some things we’re doing well and where we can still improve.

Do you have specific goals for the hospital?

There are several opportunities for us. Certainly from a growth opportunity, the physical location and accessibility give us some really great opportunities to continue to expand the type of services and the scope of services that we provide.

Galichia has long been recognized for the heart and cardiology side of things, but I think there’s an opportunity for us to continue to expand the subspecialty practices that we do as well.

What sort of subspecialties?

Orthopedics is probably the one we’ve seen some initial growth around already. Cardiovascular surgery is continuing to grow as an extension of cardiology services that have been the historic backbone of the hospital.

Because of the physical layout, we have a real opportunity to do more with our seniors and the accessibility of the facility, the ease of which they can get into the emergency department, and the hospital sets itself up nicely for senior services in general.

So are baby boomers going to impact the direction of the hospital?

We need to be responsive to that and take into account as the population continues to age what’s going to be needed from a clinical and operational (perspective), things like the types of beds, type of furniture in the rooms, how we’re doing lighting and the general environment in which we’re welcoming our senior patients.

What is the future for specialty hospitals such as Galichia?

The advantage we have is that we’re also part of Wesley and a part of the larger HCA community. In order to drive quality initiatives around patient care, some core measures and other metrics consumers are looking at – from the clinical stand point and satisfaction stand point – we have the ability to really pull some of that data and measure ourselves on a consistent growth trajectory.

We can identify areas where we need to dedicate more resources and attention and realize where we’re doing well.

So do you think the trend will be for more speciality hospitals to be absorbed by larger entities?

I think there will probably (be some) of that. You’re going to continue to see those services that are very specific, and where you have a large enough mass of patients that can support being a very focused type of service hospital, you’ll have some that are absorbed by larger systems to get some economies of scale, or the support a larger system can provide.

Reach Kelsey Ryan at 316-269-6752 or kryan@wichitaeagle.com.

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