SBJ: What has been key to your recent growth?
Max Buetow: CoxHealth’s key to its most recent growth is a reflection of the community’s growth. In the 26 counties that make up our service area, we’ve seen a lot of attraction to our community.
SBJ: What has the company’s growth enabled you to do?
Buetow: We can talk about numbers, but I think the growth over the last three years has allowed us to grow in the maturity aspect as well. I think the keys for us have been the way we approach planning, how we approach organization, and I think those will be keys moving forward for us as well. (The pandemic has) given us a much higher level of confidence when it comes to being nimble.
SBJ: What are your top issues when it comes to managing growth?
Buetow: The limiting factor across the country is finding the right talent to fuel that growth. I want to make this the best place for people to perform what they’re passionate about. I was astounded by the fact if you’re an architect, you can work at CoxHealth; if you’re an engineer, you can work for CoxHealth; there’s immense possibilities for people from diverse backgrounds.
SBJ: Is your fast growth sustainable?
Buetow: I think it is. Honestly, we are prepared to accelerate our growth rate. Our communities continue to grow alongside us. We need to be proactive at meeting those changing needs. We can accelerate more than we’ve ever done before.
SBJ: Is there such thing as growing too fast?
Buetow: Absolutely, if you’re not prepared for growth. Growth for growth’s sake is not attractive and not helpful. We have to focus on where we can grow with the most need.
SBJ: Where is the tipping point?
Buetow: I don’t know that I can define what that tipping point looks like, but I haven’t seen the ceiling at CoxHealth.
SBJ: What are you most excited about in the coming year?
Buetow: The health care industry has been significantly disrupted by this pandemic. And I think it has made us so we’re standing at an intersection of change and opportunity. Like those other changes we’ve seen over time, there are going to be winners and losers. I’m excited by the fact we get to reinvent ourselves. Consumer expectations have never been on display the way they are today. I think there’s a way to exceed expectations. There’s been so much care in telemedicine, it has advanced our care five years. But that’s what the consumer wants – access to care when they want it. It really knocks the rust off our thinking. So, there are fun things to think about in ways to respond to the needs of our community.
SBJ: What is the best or worst business advice you’ve received?
Buetow: [Laughs] This is tongue-in-cheek health care humor, but when I first came to health care, I was told make sure the doctors got paid and stay out of the scheduling. Well, in the midst of omicron, our scheduling system that makes sure people get paid went down. People were working at maximum capacity, and we were worried – can we even make sure they get paid? You’ve got to make sure the talent gets paid.
A lot happens behind the scenes at the Springfield Art Museum.