Dr. Bruce Murphy Leaves the Cath Lab to Become CEO of Arkansas Heart Hospital.

by George Waldon  on Monday, Oct. 3, 2011 12:00 am  

Dr. Bruce Murphy gets to ramp up his love for patient interaction with his new role as CEO of Little Rock's Arkansas Heart Hospital. (Photo by Michael Pirnique)

Arkansas Heart Hospital reported patient revenue of $117.8 million during fiscal year 2010. For the 12 months that ended Sept. 30, 2010, the facility produced a nearly 9.3 percent return on revenue that yielded a $10.9 million profit.

Final figures from the fiscal year that ended last week should be even better.

"We expect to exceed last year's number by 10 percent, maybe more," Murphy said.

Coinciding with the Medcath buyout on Aug. 1, Little Rock Cardiology Clinic was integrated into the Arkansas Heart Hospital. The two facilities were merged operationally, not physically.

"We did two very, very complicated things on the same day," Murphy said. "The last 50 days have been simpler than the first 50 days (before the buyout)."

In his own way, Murphy has prepared himself to take on his new role at Arkansas Heart Hospital through his professional travels, which have taken him all over the nation and the globe.

"I was going to learn everything I could from anyone I could," he said. "I've visited in excess of 200 different hospitals around the world. I learned something in virtually every cath lab I visited. It may have been tiny, but I learned something."

Five years ago, Murphy guided the launch of Heart Hospital Partners of Japan to help develop a well-run cardiology program for Japanese hospitals that had a weak one or no program at all.

The overseas venture is in its second year of profitability. Bridging the cultural gap between America and Japan to build a successful medical consulting business is not for the faint of heart, Murphy said.

"This is not to be recommended unless you have prolonged determination," he said.

Murphy shrugs off the notion he might have emotional baggage on his life transition from being an arbiter in a court of last resort for many cardiac patients, a skilled doctor who routinely dealt with congenital heart disease.

"I was very honored to be a doctor," Murphy said. "After you do 100,000 procedures, what is your goal? It's easy for me to do two things.



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