Seriously Catherine – Balancing Motherhood and Running a Hospital with Jill Johnson VanKuren | Episode 15 – Palette
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Seriously Catherine – Balancing Motherhood and Running a Hospital with Jill Johnson VanKuren | Episode 15

CEO of Saratoga Springs Hospital, Jill Johnson VanKuren, happens to be a mom navigating the intricate dance of leadership and motherhood. Join us as she shares her insightful journey, delving into the challenges and triumphs of steering a healthcare institution while balancing the demands of family life.

Jill offers a unique perspective on leadership, emphasizing the significance of community engagement and the role it plays in the success of the hospital. She shares practical anecdotes and lessons learned, providing a playbook for aspiring leaders and parents alike.

Tune in to gain invaluable insights into healthcare leadership, community impact, and the rewarding journey of balancing the responsibilities of a CEO and a devoted mom. This episode is a testament to the power of determination, resilience, and the unwavering commitment to making a positive impact on both the hospital and the community it serves.

HOT TAKES: Catherine gives her opinion on Disney turning classics into live-action movies, and which ones are in the works!

SARATOGA: Find out how Kevin Costner wants to hear stories from people in the Capital Region!

FACE PALM MOM: Leaving your kids at home only to be surrounded by your friends’ kids.

Don’t forget to check out Saratoga Living’s After Hours for what’s new and happening in Saratoga!

Special Thanks to the Adelphi Hotel for being our Launch Partners!

Shoutout to Hoffman’s Car Wash!

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*This Transcript is Autogenerated*

Catherine Hover 0:02
Okay so if you know me you know that I love what I do. And I’m a workaholic so if I ever have a chance to get away, I can’t go too far away without my kids and without being so far away from work the Delphi is my go to. What’s really great about the Delphi is that it has everything you need. It’s right there on Broadway. It has a restaurant, it’s got the breakfast join, it’s got it all. And the room service is amazing. So last Christmas we did Christmas Day Night at the adult fi we booked the Polaris suite which is really special because it has a hot tub on the balcony. And the kids loved it. It was so much fun. We ordered room service and it was just like the most special thing and again, it’s got a Jacuzzi. I mean who doesn’t want to use a Jacuzzi at the Delphi if you don’t have the opportunity to stay at the Adelphia you can still go and hang out in their in their lobby or eat at their restaurants. The best sushi in town by far I believe is at the a Delphi you should get the rainbow roll you can thank me later it’s delicious. It’s absolutely the bomb. If you are local and you need a night off or a night away don’t go too far go right there to be a Delphi book yourself a rum have dinner there have breakfast in the morning and you’ll feel like a totally different person when you wake up.

Jill Johnson VanKuren 1:17
All the ideas aren’t coming from the executive leadership team. It’s coming from the frontline staff. So it’s listening to people that have ideas about Okay, well we maybe always done it this way. But I’d love for you to consider doing something different. And then celebrating those ideas and bringing them forward

Catherine Hover 1:40
Welcome to seriously Catherine a podcast about taking your business seriously, but not yourself. This Week’s Hot take I don’t know if you’ve noticed but I’m wearing my Disney gear. If anyone’s going to Disney and you need some Disney gear you come to my closet I will hook you up I got them all i got the sweatshirts got the shirts, I got the the shoes, the headbands, you know the Disney headbands. Okay, got it all for you. So there has been like a lot of movement and and news coming out that they’re remaking they’re making live action versions of Disney movies, which I am totally here for it. I just saw an interview with The Rock, Dwayne Johnson. And he announced, I think on Jimmy Fallon, that they are remaking Mallanna live action. And of course, he’s gonna be Maui. I’m super excited about this. The problem though, is I think that it’s too soon, like, didn’t want to just come out. I liked that the characters that play the characters are the real people. I like that. So that’s like a nod to like, Okay, we’re good, but I don’t like that. It’s so so so so soon. So the other ones that are coming out in March of 2020 for Snow White. I feel like hasn’t this already been done? I don’t know. I’m not looking forward to that one as much as I’m looking forward to Mallanna but we gotta wait until June of 2025 for that. So Krewella in 2021 was really good. We saw that movies. And then Posey and Ruby still like watch it. I loved it. It was such a good one. And Emma Stone was amazing. I loved it. And um, let’s see Aladdin. I don’t know if Oh, Aladdin with Will Smith played the genie. So there’s like Robin Williams. And I just, I just like think they shouldn’t have touched it. Yeah, like why? Why make Pinocchio? Why make Dumbo. These are not things that we need to see and relive did 101 Dalmatians is that one with Glenn Coase. Yeah, that one was good. That one’s good. Oh, Hercules. Hercules is coming out. Live action, Hercules. And it’s gonna be Michael B. Jordan. Oh, buting. The Beast. Yeah. I mean, Emma Watson, she did an amazing job. It’s tough, like movies that you grew up with that they remake you have such a, like loyalty and such a relationship with these movies and actors and the voices. So it’s like, you don’t want it to be botched. We’re going down a rabbit hole. Listen, I would love to hear what you guys say. Like, comment, or send me a direct message or something like, Are people as opinionated about this as I am? I don’t know. I’m sure there. I’m sure there are. That’s what I have to say about that. Okay, guys this week from Saratoga living. I got my email from after hours. And I had mentioned Kevin Costner. So I clicked on it because I mean, I think Kevin Costner was hot. He’s like, old guy hot. And I also have like opinions about this because some people were like, Oh my God, he’s so old. But like, I think when I think Kevin Costner I think like dancing with wolves. Kevin Costner, the bodyguard Kevin Costner. Anyway, he is a co founder, part owner of this app called Autio Autio. It’s a UTI. Oh, that’s the name of the app. And it’s this app where it’s like built for road trip or so you can join the app and then when you’re driving through the Ottawa back. So the capital region or Saratoga Springs, you can click on stories and it’ll tell you about the area that you’re road tripping on, which I think is pretty cool. So this area is so historic, there’s so many stories. So they’re essentially giving us some homework to go in and submit stories of our area. The stories have to be between 350 and 450. Words when we think about like, these gotta, these stories have to be useful information for someone road tripping. So something that like would be interesting to hear. I think ghost stories are super interesting to hear. So and we know we got a lot of those because of the battlefield and the add around. I mean, there’s so many stories in this whole area. I mean, we’re we are aware it was happening back in the day. So lots of stories, I’m sure we’re gonna come to the woodwork, and they might be picked up by this app so that when your people are road tripping through the capital region and Saratoga, your story might be narrated not by Kevin Costner, but by the app. And I think that’s pretty cool. So you should submit your stories. And also, I just really want to take this opportunity to talk about Kevin Costner and how I just think that he is so dreamy, and he’s now like the big star of Yellowstone, which I did recently start watching. So like, Please, no one ruin it. For me. I’m really only on season two, like the beginning of season two. Oh my god, but um, I mean, I just like love Kevin Costner. Okay, so Kevin Costner is on record saying that Autio is the biggest or could be the biggest thing he’s ever been part of. And I mean, come on, man. Don’t Don’t discredit everything that you have done. Up until this point. Okay, I think I’m in Yellowstone is probably the biggest thing that he’s done. But old school people might disagree. I mean, dancing with wolves was amazing. This week’s guest on seriously Catherine is Jill van Karen. And she is the CEO of our local community hospital, Saratoga hospital, and I’m so excited to hear her experience moving to Saratoga and and hear what she’s got going on. So let’s get into it. You’re the new our newest CEO at Saratoga hospital. And so you came on right after COVID. But obviously, still dealing with a lot of the COVID impacts. And also, and correct me if I’m wrong, as far as timeline goes, was the merger already with Albany med med that you came in on or you sort of had to manage that as well. So

Jill Johnson VanKuren 7:27
that happened before I came in? Okay. And it’s kind of a nuance, it’s not a merger, it’s an affiliation. So we’re still a wholly owned local entity, in partnership with all many men.

Catherine Hover 7:37
Okay, so what does that mean? And how is that different than before there was an affiliation.

Jill Johnson VanKuren 7:43
So the affiliation is a partnership, as opposed to a merger being all the assets coming together and control shifting to the centralized group? Yeah, that would be similar to the other organizations where they’re controlled by a common leadership board, typically outside of the state that you live in. Okay, we still have a local board that is the authority over our particular hospital and all of its ambulatory services. So I report to the board, not to Albany med. Got

Catherine Hover 8:14
it, I like that. Yeah. And like, we have an affiliation and palette, it’s a reciprocity with other co working spaces. So it’s partnership, and you have to sort of like, you know, your missions and values are aligned, and you can sort of like piggyback off each other when you need extra resources or expertise. And it goes both ways, right? One

Jill Johnson VanKuren 8:35
of the big benefits of being part of this system is that collaboration. So we can have a common electronic medical record. And that’s a big focus for us this year. We can purchase services together, we can purchase supplies together, we can negotiate with insurance companies as a group, how cool is the biggest positive aspect? We can also share resources with physicians who can collaborate amongst the different affiliate hospitals to kind of move within our within our organization more smoothly. Yeah, because we have some common practices, common protocols, just a different way of working together.

Catherine Hover 9:07
Yeah. Well, I think it’s a better way to I mean, I think when when I would love to hear your perspective, because you are a transplant like I am, right, we are not from the area, and sometimes it can be sort of hard to tap into a community that is so close knit. But one thing that I noticed when I moved to Saratoga is this sort of like, divide division between these different entities. And I think that was 12 years ago, it’s coming along and people are starting to work together and different, you know, cities and counties are starting to collaborate, but it was sort of tough early on. And something I recognize that there’s a lot of pride in each of these little cities and neighborhoods that we have in the capital region, and how do we start to work together and demonstrate collaboration and think of ourselves more of a region than these different cities in upstate New York. And I think having leaders like the hospitals working together certainly sort of helps that along and then other people will follow suit You’d think

Jill Johnson VanKuren 10:00
that transition from competitor to collaborator is transformational for us. So when when you look at a decade or so ago, we’re all trying to compete for the same market share for the same business. That can be difficult, particularly in small communities. Working together, our focus shifts from competition amongst each other, to how can we work together better to provide what the community needs? Yeah. And that is a management of resources that’s absolutely paramount. At this particular time, when our resources are even more constrained. Our reimbursements are declining, our expenses are increasing. So duplication just can’t happen. We need to have laser focus on efficiency and effectiveness to be what the community needs us to be. Yeah.

Catherine Hover 10:43
And just like the notion that like there’s enough for all of us, the whole region, I mean, more people are moving to this area than ever before. And we’re, we’re real beacon of light, in my opinion, for the state that is a great place to live. It’s a great place to work, we do have jobs, we have good quality of life. And there’s enough for everybody, you know, so granted, if I’m living in Saratoga Springs, I’m probably not, you know, gonna go to Albany med to get care, right, I’m going to be right here in Saratoga. But there’s certainly ways that we can sort of collaborate and support each other and spread the wealth, if you will. And our

Jill Johnson VanKuren 11:15
goal is if you need to go to Albany Med, that that transition is smooth. Yeah, that your information travels with you that there’s communication between the Saratoga physicians and the Albany med physicians. And they’re always on the same page together. Yeah. As we grow and mature, bringing more of those resources here to Saratoga as the goal so that you don’t have to travel this far. Yeah. And you can can stay home and age in place and live and thrive in the community. Have you chosen to live it?

Catherine Hover 11:41
Yes. I love it. Okay, so let’s switch gears and talk more about what drew you to the area, obviously, were you looking for a job? Or were you poached?

Jill Johnson VanKuren 11:48
I’m kind of a combination of both? Excellent question. I was really looking for a community feel. Where I came from Baltimore, Washington, DC area, there’s no shortage of hospitals, right. But there is a shortage of community connection. When you live in large cities in large metropolitan areas, with 17 hospitals within 15 miles, your dedication to a smaller geography doesn’t really exist. So I was living more than an hour away from the hospital that I was running at the time, you know, serving on boards working late into the evening, but I didn’t live where I was serving. And I wanted to change that I really wanted to be a big part of the community, to live work and play in the same area. And when I came to Saratoga, I fell in love with it. I didn’t think places like this existed anymore.

Catherine Hover 12:39
I’ll never forget that I the way that I described it to like my parents and my in laws and stuff is like, just picture a Norman Rockwell painting. And that’s where we live now. So it’s really, it’s just like the main like Broadway that Main Street USA sort of feel. It’s like so quintessential. And like, I agree, it’s and also coming from New Orleans. So coming from a community like that, that is so high need under resourced. I mean, the issues are endless there to move to a community like this, where it’s like, okay, that the issues are not endless. And there’s, there’s just like a shorter gap to fill, right. And there’s opportunity to be engaged in the community and involved in sort of the evolution of the community as it moves into the future. So that that’s what was really exciting. When I got here, I thought, like, wow, there’s a place for me.

Jill Johnson VanKuren 13:26
And there’s something to do for everybody. You if you’re a hiker, or biker or a naturalist, you have that if you’re really interested in racing that’s here as well. The arts are prolific in a city. Yeah. And that that really drew me as well. Both of my my sons are musicians, and they’re into theater and you to live in a place that has all of the natural beauty, but also the opportunity that they were looking for. It was just a perfect balance for us.

Catherine Hover 13:51
So and then the other thing that I kind of wanted to talk to you about was, so I’ve read well, I’ve had all three babies at Saratoga hospital. I remember when I was pregnant with with Posey people were like, Oh, well, you know, you should go to Bellevue or you know, we’re going to do this instead. I’m like, why would anybody why would you go anywhere else, and then the hospital right around the corner, you know, so I got amazing care, all my deliveries and pregnancies, that whole experience was completely uneventful. You know, which is a good thing when you haven’t a baby, like there was no emergency C section or any of that stuff. But I did just almost die in August. And I’m so grateful that I got to the hospital on time and in the nick of time, and I was so well taken care of. And I was just like, blown away. You know, it’s one of those things that you never hope you need to lean on. But man am I glad that I had just like this amazing hospital right around the corner. And I was taken seriously like I was another thing I was sort of concerned about. And I think it did sort of lay in my head when I was, you know, going through that experience like oh, I don’t need to really go to the hospital like no one knew they might send me away and I’m still just like in the same boat them and you know, so none of that happened and they listened. They took care of me. I mean, it was just an amazing experience. And

Jill Johnson VanKuren 15:00
that’s the heart of who we are in Saratoga. That’s the mantra of the staff, we treat everybody that walks through our door, like family, we have the full spectrum of services, anything that you need, we’re truly here for everything, whether we can provide it locally, or we can connect you to the services, you know, beyond the, the confines of Saratoga, that’s what we pride ourselves on. And that when you come in, you feel validated, you’re understood, everything that you need is provided for you. Yeah, it’s done in a in a very familial type of way,

Catherine Hover 15:30
with your neighbors, right. Like, I might see these people in the future, like, you know, walking around, and the other like, kind of like, cherry on top for me was well, so I’m a weirdo. I’m like, I was just so happy to be there. And it was so quiet and peaceful. Unlike my house, and like someone made sure I got fed. And I was like, this is just amazing. You know, like, some people were like, Oh, can’t wait to get out of the hospital. But I’m not that person. I’m like, I love it. Bring me another, you know, meatloaf. I was like, like, just happy. Yeah,

Jill Johnson VanKuren 15:59
the one thing you really look forward to in the hospital is that hospital job, the food,

Catherine Hover 16:04
the cafeteria food. But then also, this woman, her name is Marcy, I can’t think of what her last name is. But she came in like the last day that I was there. And she was like a chaplain or so I guess a social worker for the hospital. And she sat with me for like an hour just talking about like, I mean, I almost died and like people do die of what I had an ectopic pregnancy, I had to do emergency surgery. I thought I was dehydrated. And you know, of course, like, No, we’re bringing you to surgery in the next 20 minutes. And I’m like, oh, gosh, maybe I should call my husband let him know that I’ve been in the hospital for a couple of hours. And he was out of town. Right? He was at a town. Yeah, he was working in Plattsburgh at the time, what ended up happening was, she showed up at the door thinking like, she just saw a name that knew who I was, but then recognize me because our kids went to pre K together. So you know, it’s just one of those things like we live in this really small town, and everybody knows everybody. And you know, you might see that as like a negative, but I see it as a positive, like everyone is your neighbor, everyone is really thoughtful of how they’re treating each other, you know, for the most part,

Jill Johnson VanKuren 17:02
but I think it’s about building relationships. Right? When you Community Hospital acuity hospitals are based on trust, yeah, that you need to understand the services that we provide, of course, but you have to trust that you’re going to be cared for respectfully, that you’re going to get everything that you need. And earlier, when you said why would anybody go somewhere else to deliver their baby? That’s, that’s exactly the point. Why would you go somewhere else, when you can access those services here and know that you’ll be treated very, very well? And have that that extra cherry on top? Which is that community relationship that you’re being cared for by people that have a vested interest in this community? Yeah.

Catherine Hover 17:40
So let’s talk about you taking over. And I think this would resonate with a lot of listeners who are women who are trying to, you know, level up in their career or their business, you know, taking on, you know, the the goal of the challenge to come into a small, close knit community, the new CEO of the hospital, the previous CEO was there for 17 years. So talking about relationship building, and sort of like fostering continuing or strengthening those relationships that were already there intact. I mean, did you see or experience a lot of like, oh, my gosh, who is this person coming in? Or, you know, feeling like, you know, like, just I would love for you to just sort of share that experience, what gives you that the knack to, like, take on a challenge like that?

Jill Johnson VanKuren 18:26
Well, I think you have to respect the past, understand it, and acknowledge it. So one of the things that was really pervasive in my interview, is that they really wanted me to know how important our culture was, to the organization to the community, to the frontline staff, and that I needed to understand that component. And a lot of that has to do with the prior leadership team. And what I was coming into, it wasn’t just Angelo’s departure, the entire executive team was turning over, because they were around the same age. They had many of them had postponed their retirements because of COVID. You know, I don’t know many leaders that would would leave in the middle of a crisis, right? None of them did. But it was time. So I was coming into an organization that that was very well run, very well structured, a huge figure in this community. But it’s also coming in to make major time of change with leadership turnover, and the environment is changing. Our whole reimbursement structure really had been kind of turned upside down. We had faced losses, financial losses for the first time in more than a decade. Those are difficult situations to handle. And it looks like Okay, everybody turned over then we started to lose money. It really had nothing to do with that it was the environment. Post COVID gan every leader across the country in health care was faced with so it’s difficult to explain that but I think it’s a testament to this community and to the the frontline staff that make up Saratoga hospital that You’ve been able to face it together and come out on the other end of this transition year. Yeah. I feel in a stronger place moving forward.

Catherine Hover 20:07
Yeah. And how like, as far as leadership qualities go, and in again, in your experience, how do you sort of like rally the troops, if you will to move into the future, there’s going to be change, there’s going to be different styles of communication, perhaps, how do you actually do that? You know, just seems like, you know, I’m sure you’re getting a lot of like, well, that’s not how we did it. That’s not how you did it. That’s, that’s how it’s how it’s been done before. And that to me, when I hear that I’m like, oh, game on, I mean, we’re gonna we’re gonna show you how it’s gonna be done now. And there’s a different way and there’s changes, good sort of thing, but how do you? How do you sort of like strategically retain the people who want to be part of that change and bring everyone into the future? It’s

Jill Johnson VanKuren 20:52
engaging people, right? All the ideas aren’t coming from the executive leadership team. It’s coming from the frontline staff. So it’s listening to people that have ideas about okay, well, we’ve maybe always done it this way. But I’d love for you to consider doing something different. And then celebrating those ideas and bringing them forward. And it is all about communication. You can’t say something once doesn’t work that way. Right? So when we look at, you know, facing challenges, it’s openly discussing them having a transparent culture. There’s there’s nothing that that we’re hiding, right? These are our challenges. These are the financial situation, these are post COVID challenges that we have to meet together. And I don’t have all the answers. Yeah, no one person does. It’s building collaborative teams. It’s promoting from within. It’s understanding the balance between how things have always been done. And what market forces bring to bear coming from outside of the community. I’ve had different experiences. It’s tapping into those different experiences and adjusting them Serato guising them to make them work for us.

Catherine Hover 21:58
Yeah. And would you say I mean, to me, that doesn’t sound like your typical of ego driven leader that I think a lot of us have experience with, you know, so I believe that being a woman leader is a skill set is like a strength. So I’d like to sort of like hear your take on what it’s like to be a woman in a predominantly male male dominated. Now, you actually the one who told me this, like, what’s the statistic about like, there’s, like, 200 of your positions in the country. So what does that say? You know, what I’m talking about?

Jill Johnson VanKuren 22:33
I do? Yeah, when you look at the leadership portfolio, and all of the hospitals across the United States, there’s less than a third. And that’s probably being generous, that are run by women, or even have females on the executive team. So it is a growing challenge or an opportunity for women to take the helm, but it’s often a male driven position.

Catherine Hover 22:55
And it’s often a doctor, more and more.

Jill Johnson VanKuren 22:59
The position is held by a physician, with usually a strong non clinical Chief Operating Officer. Oh, God, if you look at the training, I think there’s space for both. When you have a physician leader, having a very strong business partner at the helm is really important, because it is a it is a business, you’re running a multimillion dollar entity. And I think there’s that that dyad collaboration is very important. When a physician takes the helm, it’s important that they have some sort of a business background, whether it be an MBA or an mha, that they’ve gone back to school, they typically do that. Yeah. It’s it’s challenging, right? It’s kind of two different sides of the brain. Well,

Catherine Hover 23:37
and it’s like, what would you went to school for to be a doctor may not be like what you ended up doing if you’re the CEO of a hospital. And

Jill Johnson VanKuren 23:45
we see that with our frontline staff. If you look at promotion opportunities within our, our clinical realm, just because you’re a fantastic nurse doesn’t mean you’ll be a great nurse manager without training, right? So one of the things that I bring to the table is that that training component, that I’m not going to just put you into the deep end of the pool and say swim, now you need to learn how to manage a budget, hire staff give great performance reviews, yeah, you’ll build a wonderful schedule. Well, that doesn’t happen overnight, you don’t just wake up and have those leadership skills, we need to help train our team. So one of the things that I started with when I came in is leadership retreats, time for us to spend together to do focus training, and also get to know each other in a different way, so that we can be a stronger team. And I think part of that I think is being a woman. And understanding that bond of the family is one of the skill sets that we bring as female leaders is having a little bit of a different approach to that. That style of teaching training and supporting people meeting them where they are understanding their gaps, filling them so that they can be successful.

Catherine Hover 24:54
Yeah, and when you talk about you know, retention and burnout I think our big issues in the health care industry like I know, I have a cousin who is nurse but manager, and it’s she’s so burnt out, it’s like she’s the turnover of nurses is high. And it’s hard to keep everyone so you know, happy. And you know, in that industry, it’s just so emotionally hard and challenging long hours. So how are you sort of combating that? And I know another thing too is, you know, why be a nurse at Saratoga hospital when you can be a travel nurse and make you know so much more money? Right? It’s or that’s at least the messaging that I’ve been getting. So how do you how do you keep everyone sort of like spirits high in such an industry and lifestyle That’s so stressful,

Jill Johnson VanKuren 25:43
connection to purpose, loving what you do, loving the people that you do it for. And having that community commitment is what makes us different, right? living, working and playing in the same place. You’re a travel nurse, you’re traveling, you are typically taking the worst assignment in every hospital that you’re brought to. That was the tradition of travel nursing. The game changer that happened post COVID Is that the demand for agency nurses was so high, that people were starting to travel within their own communities. So you’re living and sleeping in your same bed, your kids are still going to the same school, when you’re taking that position. You were traveling within 50 miles of your own home. That is very disruptive to our teams. When you have somebody that you know that they’re sleeping in their own bed every night, but they’re making more money than you. Yeah, that’s difficult to get your head around. Right. It’s difficult to be giving that 100% Every time and it’s hard to say well, how can the hospital afford to pay that person so much more, but not me? The answer for that is not allowing people to do that anymore. Yeah. So we’ve actually implemented that softly over the past year where we are selectively not choosing people that are living in the same community and having them be agency nurses. Yeah. So we now require you to be at least 50 miles away away. Okay. We’re not living within the 12 counties. So yeah,

Catherine Hover 27:10
yeah. Yeah. Okay, so let’s talk about work ethic. So for me, I really love what I do I enjoy going to work every day. And you know, so it’s difficult for me to take a step back and take a break. How do you how do you like we know you move to the area and you like, all these really amazing things you can be doing? Like, are you actually doing them? Are you just working all day, every day? I do work a lot.

Jill Johnson VanKuren 27:36
But a big part of this job also is getting out into the community and understanding why do people love it here? So I’ve had an opportunity to go to SPAC you know, a few times I saw my first race this this summer, which was wonderful. I’ve never really experienced horse racing before.

Catherine Hover 27:52
It’s wild, isn’t it? Like how crazy people are over horse racing? It

Jill Johnson VanKuren 27:57
was a world I didn’t know existed. Yeah, but it is a lot of fun. I have tremendous respect for what it means to to Saratoga, gotten out a little bit hiking, biking, doing things like that. I do feel responsible for the ski season last year, because I bought skis. And I never got out. I think the weather just wasn’t conducive. And this year, I bought ice skates. So that’s that’s why the lakes haven’t frozen.

Catherine Hover 28:20
Yeah, that’s why we’re having a weird winter. It was all

Jill Johnson VanKuren 28:22
in on winter sports and it’s just not happening.

Catherine Hover 28:26
You know, the weather has been wonky. I mean, even down in New Orleans yesterday, they canceled school because it was so cold. And guess how cold it was? It’s like 30 days canceled. They canceled school yesterday. And I think today too, because the weather is so, so cold.

Jill Johnson VanKuren 28:43
I was talking to my cousin the other day that was in Texas, and it was colder there than it was here. So

Catherine Hover 28:48
weird. I mean, it’s not weird science. And it’s like the world. The Globe is changing, you know. So let’s chat about like, what’s next? What’s what is next for the hospital. So I was really excited to see what we’re celebrating 100 years of making, not making babies having babies, delivering babies, celebrating the making of babies of 100 years. That’s crazy. So the hospital, just that division,

Jill Johnson VanKuren 29:14
just that one extension of of our campus. So we built a new building to support the ever growing population in Saratoga and happened about 100 years ago. And that the cool part of it for me it was that that particular facility, much like the hospital itself, its origins are started by a group of women that were caring for the the population here in Saratoga and fundraised and collaborated and the whole hospital came from that need right so did the the mother baby unit. So that was a collaboration with our flower and fruit mission which still exists today. Yes,

Catherine Hover 29:50
I love that luncheon is like my favorite. It’s such a good kickoff I think to like the season of events.

Jill Johnson VanKuren 29:57
It’s a beautiful event.

Catherine Hover 29:59
It is really Beautiful. It’s it’s so cool to see. It’s just like, I think it’s probably like 150 200 women with beautiful hats, beautiful hat and holla springs,

Jill Johnson VanKuren 30:08
I bought my first hat last year for that event. I love that it was very large.

Catherine Hover 30:12
You can also buy hat there. They usually have hats if you so if you get there because I think it gets sometimes it can be intimidating. I remember a couple of years ago, my friend was like, Hey, I’m not going to that event. It’s just too much. It’s just like all those women. And I’m like, Oh my God, you you can just it’s so much fun. You sit with the rent, you can sit with people you know, or sit with random, random people, which you know, turn out to be friends. But because it’s a small town, chances are high, you are going to sit with people, you know, and you could buy a hat. There they are. And then they sell flowers there. I killed the orchid that I got. But I can’t keep orchids alive. Those are they’re just they’re finicky. Okay, keep plants alive. So I can’t keep children alive. That’s good. That’s not enough.

Jill Johnson VanKuren 30:51
That’s good. That’s really the most important thing. That’s the most important. Yes,

Catherine Hover 30:55
exactly. So so anything else go on? Because that is it. That unit got a huge renovation. It was a couple of years.

Jill Johnson VanKuren 31:03
We’ve been renovating it over time. So it’s, it’s really quite lovely.

Catherine Hover 31:07
So I should have another baby.

Jill Johnson VanKuren 31:09
I’m not going to wait for that one. But

Catherine Hover 31:13
you do you think it’s really important for your boys to see you like kicking ass and taking names and like being like the big dog in this town, like at the hospital, like you’re the boss,

Jill Johnson VanKuren 31:24
they definitely have a wonderful sense of pride. But watching me do this. They both said, Mom, we really love what you’re doing. But we don’t want to do it. You work too. But they’re extremely supportive. And they’re very artistic and creative kids. They do things kind of in their in their own way. But they enjoy being part of this town as well. It’s a big deal to transplant your children. Yeah. But I say to my kids, and they’ll they’ll say it back to me. We know we’re here. Because they’ve always known that this was my dream, to be a CEO in a community. And I’ve achieved it. And I’m loving every single day. So I think that’s that’s part of being a parent is setting goals, showing your kids that you can accomplish anything that you set your mind to, but it’s not without sacrifice, right. And they’ve made sacrifices for me and I for them. So it’s it’s not just my dream comes kind of the family dream. And they’re they’re very proud of what we’ve accomplished together. And they now see that example of there’s nothing that they can’t do. Ya there, there’ll be equally supported by by our family as they grow and mature on their own journey. But it’s their journey, right? It’s what they choose to do. And the message is communicated, ask for help. Set your goals high. And when you focus on them, they can happen. Yeah, and I’m loving it. I love

Catherine Hover 32:44
that is what I’ve always wanted to and then do you feel like once you’ve accomplished the goal, like for me, I just keep moving the the mile mark or the goalposts, I just keep moving the goalposts for you. Are you content? Do you feel like okay, I’m here now. And now I can just be the best version of this. I can. That’s

Jill Johnson VanKuren 33:00
when the fun starts. Yeah, right now, you know, when I look at the longevity of this position, it’s it what will your the next decade bring? Under the leadership of the team that I built? What will we do? What will Saratoga look like five years, 10 years from now? And that’s, that’s the structure that we’re building. And I’m very excited about that.

Catherine Hover 33:21
Yeah, yeah, it is an exciting time, as Saratoga continues to grow. I guess the partnerships with these other hospitals is so important. Because, you know, the hospital really is basically downtown. There’s not really more buildings you can build, right? I mean, it’s like you can improve on what you have. Yeah, so tell us about that. So

Jill Johnson VanKuren 33:41
there’s strength in having ambulatory services close to the hospital. There’s a lot of synergies with that. So we would like to expand our ambulatory footprints or outpatient services, that is really where the need is right now. When you look at the use of hospital beds, it’s usually more of the the high end services, secondary tertiary care, things you really need to be in an inpatient setting for a lot of the services have moved to outpatient, and that proximity to other resources is really important. So we would like to expand on our campus. That is our intention to do so. But we also have wonderful locations in Wilton, the fantastic multi specialty center down in Malta that has opportunity to grow as well. So it’s not just one footprint. It’s really the network that we’re building. And that network that we’re building that connects to Albany med as well.

Catherine Hover 34:38
Yeah, it’s convenient.

Jill Johnson VanKuren 34:40
We have more than 40 locations, in different buildings throughout throughout the community and beyond. Not just in the in the city but out in the county. I don’t want to build another medical office building. I want to build something that we call the Center for successful aging. So it’s collaborative services that come together to meet the needs of our aging population. And when you look at Saratoga, and particularly who’s moving to Saratoga, it’s people that are nearing retirement that are selectively choosing that this will be their home. And what resources do we need to make that process of aging? More successful? Right? Yeah. Nobody wants to live their life by their calendar of doctor’s appointments. Because it’s not just the person going to those appointments. It’s the family members that are accompanying you as well. What I’d like to do is make that transition easier.

Catherine Hover 35:32
Yeah, I like that, too. And the way to do that, is

Jill Johnson VanKuren 35:35
to bring collaborative services together to bring our wonderful new EMR to bear you think what why is it so important to have a combined electronic medical record? When all of your data is in the same patient place that makes that collaboration a lot easier? It makes appointment scheduling a lot easier. Could you imagine actually having maybe three appointments on one day having your lab work and your imaging work done before you see your physician, having your loved one accompany you and only have to take a half a day off at work instead of three half days within a month, that can happen with the systems that were that we’re putting together. So it’s less about an office building and more about a transformational system of care that is now possible because of all of the work that we’ve been doing over the past decade. Yeah,

Catherine Hover 36:21
I love this. I’m so excited. I’m excited to age successfully in Saratoga. So how can if patients do you want to share good experience or bad experience? How can they do that a

Jill Johnson VanKuren 36:34
couple of different ways. You can recognize a provider through our foundation, we have a mechanism to do that. We also send out surveys frequently to capture your your experience, or us work right, right through your office, you know, that recognition of saying thank you, you know, is it goes such a long way with our staff. Any letter that comes to me I do personally respond, and we share those letters with the staff. I read them at board meetings. It’s really a nice moment to share sure that that gratitude, as well as if there’s an issue. We talk about how we’ve solved it as well. Yeah.

Catherine Hover 37:09
Well, thank you so much for being here. And and stay tuned. We’ll do some more stuff together. I love it. All right, cool. All right. Moms and dads, I got a parenting hack for you. And it’s called the Hoffman carwash. If you are a member of the unlimited Car Wash club, you’re in for a real treat, because you can go for free. Essentially, if you’re paying the monthly fee. I don’t know if we’re doing any girl math or mom math here, but you pay the fee and you can go get a car wash as many times as you want. And it’s one of those things that’s like a multifaceted experience. If I’m with the kids, they love to ask the car guy like if you can draw a little design on the window. They always play ball. They always do something fun. And then we go on through the carwash and it’s almost like this thing comes over my kids like they’re not psychopaths. When we leave the carwash. It’s like some sense of like therapy for them also a form of therapy when I’m by myself and I need to go to the carwash because it’s the only place that can scream out loud with no judgment. So if you are not already a member of the unlimited carwash club at Hoffman, you are missing out on a treat. This week’s facepalm moment is unique because I actually traveled this weekend to go home without the kids as you know from last week I told you guys and it was lovely. I had so much fun just like being on airplane by myself and just having so much like alone time it was blissful. And I’m actually going back in two weeks throughout and a Mardi Gras parade with my friends. So while I was down there for for this like one reason I also went to the pelicans game New Orleans basketball pelicans game with my friend Brittany, I have never been to a pelicans game so I was super excited to go. They lost but that night meant that I had to sleep at Britney’s house and Britney’s just got a lot going on. She’s got two yappy dogs, she’s got actual pig as a pet that lives in their house. She has these two little boys she has got a husband she’s got a job she’s like kicking ass taking names. She’s doing a lot of stuff you think I’m busy? She’s busy okay. But so my whole my whole moment was like how is it that I traveled by myself like without my children and then I ended up sleeping at Bernie’s house on our couch and Ender woke up woke me up and I was like jumping on top of me like Come play Nintendo with me so I had so much fun with him and I played Nintendo with him I beat him to it a three oh my god boys are so much different than girls like the energy like the the intensity the energy like that like he was like a pinball machine and I felt like my head was on a swivel just keeping up with him so as much as I loved being away from my girls and I ended up spending time with a lot of kids anyway and you know it’s not it’s not like a this or that it’s just a different and it’s different energy and anyway, I was just like happy to be home and and I get to see them all again in two weeks because I’m going back to work on whatever upgrade Thank you for listening to this podcast and if you want to connect with me slide into my DMs on Instagram my handle is Catherine hoever

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