New Leader at the Helm

Posted by on Jun 3, 2012 in Featured, Print Article | 0 comments

At a time when his peers were dreaming of donning the uniform of a policeman, fireman or astronaut, Doug Puckett, the new president and CEO of IU Health Morgan Hospital, had his eye on another uniform – the businessman’s suit and tie. As a boy, he liked the idea of carrying a briefcase every day.

The allure of becoming a businessman never waned and when it came time to choose a career path and college courses, he narrowed his focus. “If you look at the corporate world, “Puckett says, “the one chair that was always at the table was the finance chair. Numbers fit my personality.”

So Puckett pursued the knowledge and skills to take that seat at the table by graduating from Indiana University with a degree in finance and, later, with an MBA in accounting from Butler.

Those decisions started him on the journey that has brought Puckett to IU Health Morgan Hospital. The rest of the story has to do with decisions he made to get that formal education, for that gave his knowledge and skill a purpose.

Puckett took a job working nights at St. Vincent Hospital. “They had great benefits to pay for school and I worked nights in housekeeping,” Puckett explains. The pay, the hours, the benefits; all were part of the reason he decided to take the job.

Throughout the 13 years he worked there, starting in that first job in housekeeping and subsequently moving to the business office and then into accounting, he learned something significant to him.

“I was treated as part of the care team, so I felt as if I were part of that to take care of those patients. It was a great development opportunity for me. It reinforced that every piece of that team is important; from those who maintain the property to the nurses who take care of the patient, to the business people who meet with the board and those who sweep the floor. Each piece is critical. That is part of the core of how I operate today.”

He has stayed in the healthcare industry because it gives him an opportunity to match his personal values and inner drive to help people in his work.

“People don’t come to the hospital because they want to be here,” Puckett says. “It’s because they are in need. There’s no better way to help people than when they’re in a crisis and being able to offer a little bit of hope … the bright shining hope or the last hope … that’s what we offer.”

In taking on this new role, Puckett says he wants the residents of Morgan County to know, “IU Health Morgan Hospital is here to be engaged in the community; to deliver the care our patients can be assured will be the highest quality care they can receive. We want to bring the best that IU Health has to offer to this community because we’re in this together.

“The way this gets lived out is through relationships and that’s what hospitals are about – relationships with patients, with the community, with each other,” Puckett says.

The first facet of leadership, according to Puckett, is getting people to move toward a common goal. “At Morgan,” he says,” “we’re trying to accomplish the quality of care and the best patient experience at the most economical cost.”

Another important facet of leadership, Puckett says, is getting people to draw the best out of themselves.

He says values based leadership is the filter through which everything he does flows. “It is who I am,” Puckett explains. “That is the lens I see the world through, including my work.”

His world includes his family. He’s been married to Robbin for almost 24 years and they have two teenage daughters. He says families are the most complex relationships you will ever have and if you pay attention, it’s a great place to learn something to use in developing relationships outside the family.

“Doug has proven himself as a leader,” said Daniel F. Evans, Jr., president and chief executive officer of IU Health. “He was instrumental in the growth of IU Health West as we expanded our care facilities, and the range of specialty and primary care services we provide to patients in our community. We are pleased he will continue his leadership at IU Health Morgan Hospital.”

Puckett approached the difficult decision to leave IU West in the same manner he had used to determine his career path. “I looked at what my skill sets were, my experiences, Morgan and some of the opportunities that were here and they were a good match.  It is an opportunity to pull from my experiences and skills and culminate into this role. My focus is on executing this program.”

Morgan Hospital had long been a stand-alone community health system until it became a part of the IU Health System in July 2011. Puckett’s experience as chief financial officer/operations officer within the IU Health system since 2004 at the Avon facility puts him in a unique position to help navigate the change at Morgan Hospital to a system community hospital.

“It’s a great asset for members of this community,” says Amy Miller Wozniak , public relations director and foundation executive director, “to know that at that point in time when they need healthcare and are stressed, they can come into the facility and get the best care, including resources throughout the entire system. Someone from outside the system would be learning that just like we are. Doug knows it already.”

He anticipates new programs will be put in place for patients. That is just the beginning of a plan for the future of IU Health Morgan that is developing as he engages with staff, leadership and the community. However, Puckett says, “I don’t want to presume we know what the community health needs are. We are doing a needs assessment.

“The attitude of the staff and physicians has been extremely welcoming,” Puckett says, “There’s an energy here that people want to engage and provide the highest quality to the community they serve.”

As printed in the Morgan County Business Leader, April, 2012.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *