RENTON, WA—If you’ve spent time with Valley Medical Center CEO, Rich Roodman, you’ve heard his quip: “It’s better to be lucky than good, and I’ve been very lucky.” And for the past 30 years that good fortune has been a boon to the constituents of Public Hospital District No. 1 of King County, aka Valley Medical Center (VMC).
This month Roodman celebrates 30 years as the organization’s Chief Executive—the longest-tenured public hospital district CEO in the state of Washington. He may believe it’s luck that has been on his side for three decades, but when you read the long list of Roodman’s accomplishments that have benefitted not only the residents of the hospital district, but its staff and physicians as well, you realize that hard work likely had more to do with it than luck.
The cornerstone of Roodman’s legacy and one of his proudest accomplishments is the formation of a strategic alliance with UW Medicine. Enacted on July 1, 2011, VMC’s goal of the alliance is to further enhance VMC’s clinical sophistication and graduate medical education while obtaining significant cost savings to best position VMC for health care reform. To date the alliance has facilitated a new ER physician residency program, helped attract skilled subspecialists along with dozens of clinical and business integration accomplishments.
“The strategic alliance will benefit many, many people in our community for decades to come—and for that I am so grateful to have had a role in both its creation and implementation,” Roodman says. “We could not have grown Valley to a level that would attract UW Medicine without incredible people. I’ve always believed that happy staff result in satisfied patients and quality patient care, so having been ranked a “Best Place to Work” for more than 10 years has been extremely gratifying as well.”
VMC has been ranked locally, regionally and nationally as one of the Best Places to Work, both in, and outside of healthcare.
Other milestones in Roodman’s career began in 1984 when VMC partnered with the UW School of Medicine to start the first primary care teaching and residency program at any suburban hospital in the Northwest. Huge growth on the VMC campus began with Roodman in the late 1980s and includes physician-owned and financed medical buildings, a comprehensive clinic network to facilitate access and the expansion of a Birth Center and Neonatal Intensive Care division to accommodate the nearly 5,000 babies born at VMC each year, VMC’s enhanced and expanded surgical suites that accommodate robotic and minimally invasive surgeries, the construction of one of the largest Emergency Department and Patient Towers on the West Coast, and most recently, the development and implementation of a $47 million electronic medical record system that will help to ensure patient safety and enhance quality. Within just the past few years more than 70 percent of the VMC campus is either new or renovated!
“I also need to stress that Valley Medical Center is an integral component of the communities it serves,” says Roodman. “Our partnerships with cities within our hospital district’s footprint, as well as the relationships with the local school district, technical college, first responders and business leaders have cultivated a culture of outreach for Valley. Through unique programs such as the Valley Dividend, and our affinity groups such as Golden Care and GLOW, we continue to extend our hand to the community and we stay connected.”
Over the years Roodman says his biggest challenge has been shrinking state and federal financial support for the Medicaid and Medicare populations which continue to grow at Valley while attempting to operate a first class health care oriented enterprise. VMC has played an increasingly vital role for local, vulnerable populations, and despite this challenge, has been able to maintain its solvency, an A- rating from Fitch, along with 11 straight years of audits by the State Auditor’s Office without one negative finding.