Elliot Joseph, Hartford HealthCare

Elliot Joseph

Editors’ Note

Elliot Joseph is President and Chief Executive Officer of Hartford HealthCare (HHC). In addition, he hosts a monthly radio show, HealthCare Matters, which focuses on current health care issues. Prior to his arrival at Hartford, Joseph served as President and Chief Executive Officer of St. John Health (SJH), a $1.8-billion Southeast Michigan health care system. Joseph earned a master’s degree in health services administration from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and a Bachelor of Science from the State University of New York at Binghamton. He is an alumnus of the Wharton CEO Program for Healthcare Leadership. Joseph is a member of the Connecticut Hospital Association Board of Trustees and chairs the Finance Committee. He also is a member of the Greater New York Hospital Association Board of Governors, the MetroHartford Alliance Board of Directors, and The Bushnell Performing Arts Center Board of Trustees.

Institution Brief

Hartford HealthCare (www.hartfordhealthcare.org; HHC) aspires to be the next generation of integrated health systems, marked by strong patient focus, heightened efficiency, consistent quality performance, and open and collaborative sharing of best practices. It is dedicated to providing patients with an exceptional, coordinated care experience and a single, high standard of service. A hallmark of HHC’s vision is to strengthen access to care close to home for patients by enhancing local health care delivery capabilities. In addition, HHC aims to create a culture and organizational structure where clinical care, education, and research are supported to bring the latest technology and discoveries, clinical excellence, and innovation to the patient and community. With more than 15,600 employees and $2 billion in net revenue, HHC’s partners include a tertiary care teaching hospital, three community hospitals, two regional behavioral health centers, a statewide clinical laboratory operation, a large primary care physician practice group, a regional home care system, senior living services, and a physical therapy and rehabilitation network.

Are you optimistic that we’re achieving the type of health care transformation that is necessary today?

I do feel that we’re on the first wave of profound sustainable change. Transparency of clinical outcomes and prices coupled with economic incentives encouraging consumerism are leading all purchasers of care toward this transformation.

There is no question that with the spread of electronic health records and data analytics and informatics, it’s profoundly different now.

There is a lot of talk about organizations navigating from where they are today to where they want to be. We know that we need to get from point A to point B but are we being thoughtful about how to construct this transformation?

There are a few pieces of the puzzle that I have paid attention to as we have thought about how we’re going to make a leap: one is, how we spend our capital.

When I first arrived at this job, the board had a blueprint to build a new tower at our major tertiary facility for $300-plus million. Five years later, we haven’t built it, and in the meantime, all of our competitors have spent millions building new towers.

So we took a risk that we would be at a competitive disadvantage on the inpatient side but felt that we should hold our powder dry for other types of capital investments to make this transition.

Over the past five years, we have gone from a billion-dollar organization to $2.4 billion. It’s debatable whether that is big enough, but it has given us a pathway to deal with the cost structure piece.

In terms of scale, so much of that is picking the right partners with a common vision. We have talked to a lot of potential partners about joining us and we have attracted some strong organizations that share a common view.

We’re making
a big move in the