CEO Marcy Doderer on Arkansas Children's Hospital Long-term Plans To Stay Ranked, Healthy

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Apr. 21, 2014 12:00 am  

Marcy Doderer

Marcy Doderer became the president and CEO of Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock in July 2013.

Before joining Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Doderer was the vice president and administrator of the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, part of the Christus Santa Rosa Health System. There, she led the facility’s change from a multiuse downtown campus into a freestanding, separately licensed children’s hospital. She is a fellow in the American College of Health Care Executives and is active in many professional organizations.

Doderer has a bachelor’s degree in finance from Trinity University at San Antonio and a master’s in hospital and health administration from the University of Iowa.

What drove you to want to become the CEO of Arkansas Children’s Hospital?

I’ve always had a professional interest in pediatric health care, and my lifelong dream was to lead a children’s hospital. I grew up around health care and was a candy striper and volunteer at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Eventually, I did a summer internship at ACH to learn more about hospital administration. It was then that I knew I wanted to someday lead a children’s hospital and, hopefully, make a difference.

Exactly how is the Affordable Care Act affecting ACH?

Changes in health care are here and Arkansas Children’s Hospital is not exempt. We are evolving like the rest of the nation’s hospitals to improve safety and to provide better quality and service to our patients and families. The ACA has some direct benefits for children (like eliminating pre-existing conditions when changing health plans) and some challenges for health care organizations (such as new federal fees tied to offering benefit plans). We are continually learning and improving our work so as to be responsive to the changing regulations. Because we want to put the patient first, ACH helps families understand their options and then helps them enroll in the appropriate health plan.

What are your plans to grow ACH?

We are just now crafting a three- to five-year strategic plan that will guide how, where and when we add services that will expand the reach of ACH. We want to ensure that all children in Arkansas have access to good pediatric health care as close to home as makes sense. We are exploring what that really looks like and what resources (new physicians, facilities, etc.) will be required.

In addition to expansion of services, the senior team and the board of directors believe that it’s a worthy goal to take Arkansas Children’s Hospital to the next level of success by pursuing national rankings in clinical services and quality. We believe that with concentrated effort, ACH can stand side by side with those children’s hospitals already holding national acclaim for being the best children’s hospitals in the U.S. Galvanizing our team around an audacious goal like a national rank (top 20 children’s hospital by 2020) is helpful when tackling cultural transformation.

How important is philanthropy to Arkansas Children’s Hospital?

No Arkansas child is ever turned away from Arkansas Children’s Hospital because of lack of funding; however, reaching and serving every child in need requires help from generous supporters every single day. Philanthropic gifts are essential at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, offering support for pediatric care, research, education and prevention programs. Thanks to our generous donors, Arkansas is becoming a healthier, safer place to grow up. As we like to say, until no child needs Arkansas Children’s Hospital, we need you.

What is the worst piece of career advice you’ve ever received?

I can’t say that I have ever directly received bad advice from others. I have, however, observed leadership styles that I found to be less effective and have tried to remember what not to do as a leader.



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