Dr. Ramanathan Raju

Dr. Ramanathan Raju,

President and CEO, NY City Health and Hospitals Corporation.

Ramanathan (Ram) Raju, MD, MBA, FACS, FACHE is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), the largest municipal healthcare system in the nation. Dr. Raju was appointed by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in January 2014 to lead the 37,000 employees of this $6.7 billion corporation, which includes 11 acute care hospitals, five nursing homes, six large diagnostic and treatment centers, more than 70 community-based health centers, a large home care agency, and one of the New York area’s largest providers of government-sponsored health insurance, MetroPlus Health Plan, the plan of choice for nearly half a million New Yorkers. Last year, HHC facilities served 1.4 million New Yorkers — including more than 475,000 uninsured.

Prior to accepting the role of President and CEO at HHC, Dr. Raju was the Chief Executive Officer for the Cook County Health & Hospitals System (CCHHS) in Chicago, Illinois, and the third largest public health system in the country. During his tenure there, Dr. Raju turned the financial status of the system around, improving the cash flow by over 100 million dollars. His proposed healthcare delivery model fetched the much coveted 1115 Waiver to the Social Security Act, enabling the creation of CountyCare, an Illinois Medicaid program to provide coverage for low-income adults in Cook County, and leading to health coverage for more than 82,000 Cook County residents.

Dr. Raju began his medical career at Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn and went on to serve as the COO and Medical Director at HHC’s Coney Island Hospital. In 2006, he became the HHC Chief Medical Officer, Corporate Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President.

Dr. Raju attended Madras Medical College to earn his medical diploma and his Master of Surgery degree. He underwent further training in England and was elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons. Dr. Raju is also a physician executive, having obtained an MBA from the University of Tennessee and CPE from the American College of Physician Executives. Dr. Raju is the recipient of numerous national recognitions. In 2013, he was named Business Leader of Color by Chicago United. Modern Healthcare Magazine named him one of the top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare two times in a row, and one of the 50 most influential Physician Executives in Healthcare in 2013. Also in 2013, Becker’s Hospital Review designated him as one of 20 Hospital and Health System Leaders to Follow on Twitter.

Excerpts from Interview with Dr. Ramanathan Raju (For full interview, please checkout TAP 2015 Book at http://tinyurl.com/2015tap)

CK: What lead you to switch from being a physician to physician executive ?

RR: As I was practicing my surgery, I made in roads into academics. I was doing research, I was director general of surgery, director of trauma, i was in charge of surgical research lab, i published quite a few journal articles. I was earning my strides in academic surgical world. As I was looking into that, I got the first experience of administration, as I was setting up the first Surgical Trauma center. I was the founding dircetor. The complexity and the adminitrstative barries got me intereted in the administartion. I always strongly felt that the health care needs to be administered by physician and nurses, as opposed to non providers. To be an effective administartor, I felt I needed to earn my credentials. So I went and got my MBA from University of Tennesse. Originally I was Cheif Medical Officer at Coney Island hospital, which was one of the public hospital systems. I also wanted to learn more about operations. To be an admisitrator, it is just not enough if you know about the patient care, which is the most important thing. But you also have to know how you know HR, human resources work? how does IT industry work? How does union negotiations go on how does laundry work how does food work in the hospital. You need to understand the various operational abilities.

CK: You turned around Cook County HHC improving its cash flow by over 100 million dollars. How did you do it? Can you elaborate please.

RR: It is basically through lots of savings. There were supply chain savings. I renegotaited lots of contracts, I renegotaited the federal government on what should be paid for uninsured people. I renegotiated all my insurance contract with the health care insuring companies. And last but not the least, we were able to convince the federal government and President Obama’s administartion at that time to grant us the waiver from the medicaid so that we are able to insure folks who are uninsured at the present time but who will be eligible under the Affordable Health Care – they gave us a 18 month lead time so that we can insure them early. So by converting those unisured people into insured folks, basically brought in a quite a bit of money. So it is mostly by revenue enhancements, looking for more revenue. I did not balance the budget by cutting jobs or laying people off or cutting services.

Dr. Ramanathan Raju’s TAP Tip For Success

We need to define success not as an individual’s success – it is the success of the community we serve.It is the success of the community we serve, either NYC or Chicago, the people who depend on us to get good possible care without bankrupting them. he attitude should be that we.