JA19 web - Page 27



CEO SPOTLIGHT
WELLSTAR’S
CANDICE
SAUNDERS
CANDICE SAUNDERS HAS BEEN THE
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF WELLSTAR
HEALTH SYSTEM, INC. FOR FOUR YEARS
AND PREVIOUSLY WAS THE CHIEF
OPERATING OFFICER. SHE JOINED
WELLSTAR AS PRESIDENT AND COO OF
JAMES Give our readers an overview of WellStar’s services and comprehensive care. You and your team are overseeing many projects— ranging from new health parks to
developing state of the art technology. What is your
vision for the future?
SAUNDERS Thank you for the opportunity to connect
with readers of James. In just a few short years, WellStar
has more than doubled in size— growing our services,
footprint, and capabilities to meet the evolving healthcare
needs of patients in their communities.
We now have more than 300 locations and 25,000
team members throughout Georgia including our 11 hospitals. We also provide comprehensive trauma and emergency services and operate the busiest emergency
department in the state. Last year 1 in 6 Georgians visited WellStar for care, and we treated Georgians from 148
out of Georgia’s 159 counties. Wherever we serve, we
treat our patients as individuals providing innovative,
personalized care.
Healthcare is changing rapidly, and WellStar is leading
the way with purpose-driven innovation that drives our
approach to personal care. We are home to the top
CyberKnife cancer radiosurgery team in Georgia. Our
minimally invasive TAVR procedure allows physicians to
replace a diseased aortic heart valve without open chest
surgery. We’ve introduced an innovative therapy that
improves the level of oxygen for patients with certain lung
failures. Through our partnership with the Mayo Clinic
Care Network, our physicians have access to Mayo information and experts for consultation on challenging cases.
We are also developing enhanced recovery protocols to
reduce opioid use and dependence after surgery in collaboration with Pacira. And our use and promotion of digital
health and e-medicine is taking off with WellStar apps,
digital remote care, and Skype-like care models.
I’m particularly proud of our Health Parks, which are
comprehensive, multidisciplinary health destinations. Our
WellStar Health Parks in Acworth, East Cobb, and Vinings
provide patients with a seamless continuum of care
including convenient access to physician appointments,
outpatient procedures, pharmacy, urgent care, physical
therapy and imaging, at a single location. We’re changing
the traditional medical model and meeting our patients
where they are with solutions designed to meet their
needs. Patient satisfaction with our Health Parks exceeds
95 percent and, because of this, we’re opening two new
locations in Holly Springs and Alpharetta later this year.
JAMES What does it mean to operate as a “not-for-profit”
healthcare institution? You earn profits but explain how
those dollars are reinvested back into the communities
you serve, as well as WellStar’s payment of millions of dollars in state and local taxes on non-clinical properties.
SAUNDERS As a “not-for-profit” healthcare system, we
operate for the benefit of the community instead of “profit” or the “benefit” of individuals or stockholders. In many
of our communities, we care for uninsured patients at no
cost to the individual or at reduced fee levels. We offer
free health education programs. And we absorb the unreimbursed costs of care for patients in State and Federal
government programs (i.e. Medicaid and Medicare). In
2018, WellStar’s community benefit was more than $680
million, which we believe is a far greater community benefit that any other health system in Georgia.
continued on page 28
WELLSTAR KENNESTONE HOSPITAL IN
2007. SHE HAS BEEN NAMED A
HEALTHCARE CHAMPION BY THE
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR FEMALE
EXECUTIVES AND HAS RECEIVED
NUMEROUS OTHER AWARDS. SAUNDERS
HAS A BACHELOR’S DEGREE IN NURSING
FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH
FLORIDA AND AN MBA/MHA FROM
UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA-BIRMINGHAM.
26
JAMES
J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 9
J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 9
WELLSTAR COLLEGE OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES AT KENNESAW STATE UNIVERSITY
27

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