Mike Boyd: MHA, 1979
Brief job history
As one of the few from the class of 1979 to initially leave the Puget Sound area, I started out as Administrative Resident (later Assistant Administrator) at St. Luke's Regional Medical Center in Boise, ID. There, I experienced the challenge of being a UW grad in a Minnesota-alumni environment. However, I did have the privilege of working for the then American Hospital Association President, Gil Gilbertson. Soon thereafter I found a productive and rewarding 11 year haven as VP at Kootenai Medical Center in Coeur d'Alene under distinguished UW alum Joe Morris (MHA 1973).
Never one to follow conventional wisdom, I chose to turn my career to rural health care, including CEO positions in St. Maries, ID and Laramie, WY. I still passionately believe that care is best provided close to home, a trend that benefits both the individual and the local community. Over my years in these rural settings, multiple consortia were founded; buildings built, and integrated systems formed. Some of these communities were recognized nationally by AHA, NRHA, ORHP and Hospitals magazine as rural models.
How did you get to your current position?
Hospital Administration is fascinating and rewarding, but also frustrating and unpredictable. Constrained by location, politics, boards and public opinion, it is not always possible to do what is best for the community or one's family. Consequently, in 1999 the Boyds stepped out into the abyss and started BP Consulting, a rural health care consulting firm. Quickly, we found that consulting budgets are virtually non-existent in rural settings, where the CEO is often expected to possess expertise in all areas. When the Public Hospital Consortia in southeast Idaho asked us to operate a shared MRI system for them, we jumped at the chance to broaden our services. Shared equipment systems allowed us to experience the joy of level cash flow, while continuing to meet our goal of "making a difference" in rural health care. The idea caught on in the Intermountain West and we now operate eight such MRI (and one PET/CT) systems in five states. For hospitals and clinics sharing this equipment, significant savings have been realized while they have regained control over these assets. Recently, in response to provider requests, we are now developing applications for shared Cardiac CT and mobile Cath Labs.
What are the unique rewards of your current venture?
Entrepreneurs experience significant risk in setting up a business in the health care field. However, they also can gain direct personal and financial reward for their efforts. It was frustrating to watch many successful hospital projects come unraveled after I left the community. In contrast, it has been very satisfying to organize and now operate shared services that have become an integral part of the healthcare scene in many locations. The ability to directly assure quality and service while experiencing rapid growth has been amazing.
What are your challenges?
Putting together provider cooperatives can be very successful, but initially it is terribly difficult and time consuming. As time passes, my reliance on the professional network I developed as a hospital administrator has become less effective. Recently, we addressed this area by convincing 1979 classmate Keith Baldwin to join us in developing shared medical equipment systems throughout the Northwest.
How has the UW MHA Program benefited your career?
Graduate school is more than facts, procedures and papers. The MHA Program expanded my perceptions of the industry and the world. I was taught to view things critically, with an eye on future opportunities. Although rarely the best politician, I am informed, and often promote the most unique ideas. By thinking globally, UW MHA Program grads can overlook temporary disappointments and "failures" and focus on the positive contributions we have made to communities and patients throughout our careers.
Advice to students/recent alums
Do not be afraid to step out and broaden your horizons. Perhaps you should consider rural health care and/or entrepreneurial medicine. Although both entail risks and initially possess the frustration of limited resources, I have found the independence and direct results in these fields far more rewarding.
Highlights of your student years
Trips to the San Juan's. The party at Tiscornia's. Watching Zellers re-live the Cuban Missile Crisis. Leah and Dorothy uping the admissions "female factor." Seeing Mount Rainier dominate the horizon after 78 straight days of rain. (We now live in sunny Boise and Phoenix). Stillman being Stillman. Experiencing the good and bad of hospital administration during my summer internship. Getting back together with almost all of the class of 1979 for our 25th.