New Holzer CEO looks to bring more specialized physicians to area and expand education programs

I interviewed the CEO of Holzer and it was pretty cool.

(Photo via Holzer Health Systems)

http://bit.ly/1xX7kAF

The man who once helped develop Ohio University’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine was named CEO and chairman of the Board of Governors to Holzer Health System Jan. 1.

In his new position, Christopher T. Meyer hopes to increase specialized care across the company’s seven-county scope and expand programs for students.

Meyer worked for Holzer as a gastroenterologist for 13 years and accumulated 37 years of experience throughout his career after graduating from Des Moines University College of Medicine. He also completed a gastroenterology fellowship at the Yale University School of Medicine.

He replaced Holzer’s former CEO, T. Wayne Munro, who retired Dec. 31, 2014.

Recently, The Post sat down with Meyer to talk about his new position, Holzer’s goals and the state of healthcare.

The Post: You’ve been Holzer Health System’s CEO and chairman of the Board of Governors for three months now. How has the transition been going?

Meyer: Three months and the buildings are still standing (laughs). (The administration) had been kind of grooming me to take over my predecessor’s position. It’s different, but the transition has been going smoothly. Some of my colleagues might disagree.

The Post: Do you enjoy the job?

Meyer: My whole career I’ve been involved in administrative work. I held a faculty spot at Michigan State and served as the faculty dean of (the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine at Ohio University) from 1994 to 1998. I played a key role in developing (the Athens) branch. The mix makes it interesting.

The Post: What are some things you are looking to change or improve as CEO?

Meyer: We’re the largest provider of primary care services in Appalachian Ohio. Our pediatric family practices number more than 60 physicians. Primary care is our strength. (We look) to bring more primary care physicians in different types of specialties to the area.

We are moving into graduate and undergraduate education programs. (The programs) will be teaching third and fourth year medical students and graduates of medical schools who want to specialize in family practice. We are taking six students from HCOM and four students from the West Virginia University School of Medicine.

The Post: Do you see a lot of OU students come through Holzer?

Meyer: Predominantly, it is non-student. Having said that, we see, I would say, hundreds or a thousand students in the course of a year in terms of unique visits. In some instances (students) prefer the Holzer brand or in some instances their parents may or they are local and have used Holzer in the past. In my practice, I would see students on a weekly basis.

The Post: How would you compare Holzer to other healthcare services in Athens?

Meyer: We’re a lot different because O’Bleness and Hudson because they are limited to Athens’ town and county. Holzer has a bigger footprint in that we are the largest healthcare provider in Southeast Ohio. We operate in seven counties and have a bigger footprint. (Athens, Meigs, Vinton, Jackson, Gallia, Lawrence, and Mason, West Virginia)

It doesn’t matter if you are O’Bleness or Hudson Health or Holzer, the healthcare world is becoming increasingly complicated. The numbers of primary care providers continues to diminish, the population continues to age, with the baby-boomers moving into the last few decades of our lives. And all of that creates an added burden for healthcare.

Healthcare now costs 18 cents to every dollar. When we reach the 25-cent mark, we won’t be able to afford the strategic imperatives of the nation like the military or the welfare program.

The 25-cent marker is a deal breaker, and we’re only 7 cents away.

@LukeFurmanOU

lf491413@ohio.edu

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