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Hospital's Leader Talks Affordable Care Act, More At Expo

By Cece Nunn, posted Mar 30, 2017
New Hanover Regional Medical Center CEO and President John Gizdic answers questions from Greater Wilmington Business Journal editor Vicky Janowski on Thursday at the WilmingtonBiz Conference & Expo. (Photo by Cece Nunn)

No matter how the feat is accomplished, reforming health care is going to be a tough but necessary task, said one of the top health care leaders in the region who helms the area’s largest employer.

John Gizdic, president and CEO of New Hanover Regional Medical Center, discussed the Affordable Care Act, his leadership style, cybersecurity and more topics related to his position Thursday during the WilmingtonBiz Conference & Expo, hosted by the Greater Wilmington Business Journal and held at the Wilmington Convention Center.

In response to a question about the Affordable Care Act from one of the hundreds of professionals and business leaders who attended the Expo luncheon Thursday, Gizdic said the U.S. can’t afford the health care system currently in use.

And while the ACA brought some benefits, especially by covering more people, it also came with problems, including high premiums, Gizdic said. Gizdic assumed the helm of NHRMC, which has more than 6,500 employees, on Jan. 1, taking over from Jack Barto.

“What I think we need in our industry is to ensure we have the most people covered that we can so that they have access to the care and services that they need, not our emergency department -- that is not the best place to get your care, your primary care or anything else -- so they get that preventative care,” he said. “We need to in a bipartisan way and with all … parts of the health care industry sitting at the table come up with meaningful reform so that we can really truly bend that cost curve and change the way we deliver health care in this country, and that’s going to be a very tough dialogue ...

“At the root of it: Is health care a right or a privilege?”

Gizdic also answered a question about how the hospital is handling cybersecurity, saying the organization has been implementing a cybersecurity plan.

“Health care has become one of the biggest targets for phishing scams and other things ... It’s a real wealth of data,” Gizdic said, not referring to health records themselves but rather the ancillary information collected in the process. “We probably average several thousand attempts a day on our system.”

In addition to education and implementing protections, the hospital’s chief security officer sends test scam emails.

Asked about his entrepreneurial approach, Gizdic said he’s planning on setting up an NHRMC innovation center, a physical space outside the hospital where a dedicated staff in a full-time role comes up with new ideas as the hospital heads into the future.

Talking about his leadership style, Gizdic said one of the main strategies he uses is an emphasis on teamwork.

“If we truly have that teamwork spirit, then we’re really focused on the impact we’re going to make on our patients’ lives, our organization,” Gizdic said.

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