Business Profile | Bill Kottmann

November 2016 View more

Bill Kottmann, President and CEO, Edward Hospital

Bill Kottmann, President and CEO, Edward Hospital

Healthcare industry veteran and Naperville resident Bill Kottmann was promoted to president and CEO of Edward Hospital this past summer, where he oversees the operational duties of the one of the largest hospitals in Illinois. It’s part of Edward-Elmhurst Health, a three-hospital system that includes Elmhurst Hospital and Linden Oaks Behavioral Health. Kottmann spoke with Naperville magazine about his top priorities and the changing needs of the healthcare system.

You were promoted to president and CEO of Edward Hospital in July. What is at the top of your to-do list?

Quality and safety are always a top priority at Edward Hospital, so is patient satisfaction and employee engagement. There is always room for improvement in all three areas and we are always working to improve safety issues. There are still a lot of accidents that can occur in hospitals, especially large hospitals such as Edward Hospital, because we have a lot of moving parts to manage. So we often look to other industries and learn from them on how we can improve on safety issues. For example we learned from the nuclear power industry how to quickly identify and improve operational issues.

For example, we now start everyday at 8:45 a.m. with a safety huddle. We gather 40 or so managers and check-in to see if there are any safety or operational issues that came up overnight or any potential issues that might come up during the day. Not everyone has something to report. But, if there is an issue, we can immediately fix the problem without the unnecessary delay of responding to email or voice messages since the key players are all in the same room at the same time.

The health care industry continues to experience tremendous change and criticism. What do you see is the biggest challenge for Edward Hospital—and other hospitals—in the near future?

The most significant change has been the move to population health management. The health care industry, and Edward Hospital in particular, is shifting its focus to keeping patients healthy when they leave the hospital after an injury or illness. A recent national study found that one in three Medicare patients return to the hospital within 90 days of being discharged. However, the most common reasons for hospital readmissions can be avoided. As a result, we’ve implemented case managers for chronically ill patients to keep them healthier and avoid future trips to the hospital or emergency room. The case managers provide personal attention and home health care needs and help set goals for greater health and quality of life for the patients in the comfort of their home.

What has been your proudest accomplishment so far in your career?

The development of the Edward Medical Group. When I joined the hospital 25 years ago, we did not have an employee group. Now we employ physicians and providers. We have more than 350 providers employed by the hospital. We are not just hiring people, we are developing a strong governance structure where physicians are helping physicians.

Who do you admire as a business leader?

I’ve always admired my boss Pam Davis, who I’ve known my entire career. I also admire my own colleagues who constantly inspire me. I read a lot and always enjoy getting great insights from other leaders of major companies. I learn what they’re doing right and how I can implement similar strategies such as how to create engaged employees and that you can sometimes learn more from employees than from the top down.

You are well known for your civic leadership activities. How do you balance your professional and personal obligations?

It’s always a challenge. Planning time for family and community organizations is very important to me. I usually try not to over schedule myself so that I have time for the most important obligations. There are so many worthy professional and community activities. For the most part, I pick a few community organizations to work with that are really making a difference and having a positive impact on the community and where I know I will leave the biggest imprint.

If you could do anything differently in your career—what would it be?

I enjoy my career and love what I do and I have learned a lot from my colleagues. If I could go back and do anything differently, I would try to become a doctor. I work with very talented physicians everyday and admire doctors and what they do and the important role they have in helping society.

As a longtime resident of Naperville, how do you enjoy spending your free time?

I enjoy spending time with my family, working out, playing golf and playing music. I play the guitar, which I use as a de-stressing activity. We’ve lived in Naperville for 25 years. It is a great community and there’s always something going on. My wife and I moved to Naperville for the schools, the great community, the vibrant downtown and the fact that it’s close to work for me. We love the small town feel, yet Naperville has some great cutting-edge restaurants, wonderful parks and of course the Riverwalk.