- September 25, 2020
Name: Steve Kleinglass
I have been a resident of Sarasota County for the past eight years, moving here from Minnesota. My formal education includes a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering and a Master in Business Administration. My career involved progressively responsible positions in the health care field culminating in being the chief executive officer of a large tertiary care teaching, research and patient care health system. In that role, I was responsible for more than 75,000 patients, 3,500 employees and an annual operating budget in excess of $700 million.
Since my retirement, I have served as a health care consultant for various organizations, including my current position as a consultant to the Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Committee of the American Legion. In addition, I serve on several other boards and volunteer for organizations within Sarasota County. I am a fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives with retired status. My passion involves issues related to patient safety, patient rights and organizational excellence, as well as the focus on a positive experience for patients and their loved ones in the health care setting.
I am a Vietnam combat veteran who was awarded the Bronze Star. My wife and I enjoy international travel and the performing arts, and we are avid bicycle riders having been fortunate to ride in France, Italy and Croatia.
Throughout my career, I have been motivated to achieve the very best and strive for excellence. I have been honored to receive several national and local awards including the Presidential Rank Award of Distinguished Executive, an award granted by the U.S. president recognizing outstanding leaders who consistently demonstrate excellence in public service over an extended period; the Department of Minnesota Disabled Veteran of the Year for the state of Minnesota; the Stephen Rognes Distinguished Service Award, the Minnesota Hospital Association’s highest award; the Preceptor of the Year, US Army/Baylor University Graduate Healthcare Administration Program for educational achievement as a mentor; and the Minnesota Leadership award from the Minnesota Alliance for Patient Safety, a collaboration between the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Hospital Association for advancing patient safety.
I feel confident that I would be a valuable hospital board member due to my vast knowledge of the health care field and my work experience. I am a highly motivated individual with impeccable ethical standards and a desire to serve with the highest dedication to the patients cared for by Sarasota Memorial Health Care.
Why are you running for office?
I am interested in serving the community and making a positive difference in the provision of health care to the citizens served by the Sarasota Memorial Health Care System. In addition, I am passionate about the health care arena and have dedicated my entire work life serving in this field. I am seeking a seat on the hospital board because I believe my education, work experience and extensive knowledge of the health care field enable me to be an excellent board member.
What are three priorities you hope to accomplish, if elected?
Being a new board member, I believe it is important to listen and understand the culture and operating practices of the board. At this time, my priorities are related to:
Compared to other not-for-profit hospital companies nationwide, Sarasota Memorial’s operating margins — 7.3% — are more than three times better than the national average. What, if anything, would you suggest the hospital and hospital board should be doing differently to improve the hospital system’s nationally recognized operations?
There are two parts to this question. The hospital and board need to continue to build upon and focus on standards and understand why SMH is successful, how to address today’s challenges related to community health care and how to continue to improve. With this knowledge, the board needs to establish a simple, clear message that can be shared with staff, consumers and the community. Those within the hospital and board should disseminate this clear message through forums, reporting and social media.
What skill set will you bring to the board that is not there now?
With more than 40 years in the health care field, including being a CEO of a large tertiary care teaching, research and patient health care system, I bring a breadth of local and national working knowledge and understanding related to the functioning of hospitals and health care systems. Currently, I serve as a consultant to health care entities, which affords me the opportunity to keep current in the health care field.
SM Health Systems reported $193 million in uncollected/bad debts last fiscal year. That’s 20% of total revenues and twice what the hospital system generates in operating profits. What’s your comment and reaction to that?
In the previous question, it was stated that the operating margins is more than three times better than the national average. I would pursue additional information about where the uncollected/debts are being generated. For example, are they related to uncompensated care for the uninsured, underinsured or nonpayment? Once this information is available, I would make an informed decision to address this concern.
SM Health System is opening its new hospital in Venice in 2021. What’s your view on whether SMH should have a hospital in North Port?
North Port is a growing community with health care needs that should be adequately addressed. A determination should be made with relation to the health care needs of the community including access, quality, availability of services and transportation, among other needs. Once the hospital in Venice is open and fully operational, a further study should be made about how effectively the Venice hospital is serving the adjacent community of North Port.