Administrator, John George Psychiatric Hospital
Alameda Health System
With more than 16 years of experience in hospital operations and 33 years in the behavioral health arena, Guy Qvistgaard is a thought leader in the field of acute psychiatric care administration. He is hospital administrator of John George Psychiatric Hospital (JGPH), a nationally-recognized acute psychiatric care facility located in San Leandro, California. JGPH is part of the Alameda Health System (AHS), a public health system and award-winning provider of world-class care, with 475 beds and 500 physicians at six major facilities throughout Alameda County, California.
At JGPH, Guy Qvistgaard supports the overall mission of AHS by emphasizing the use of data, evidenced-based practice and leading edge training to change culture and produce results. He and his team are influenced by leaders in behavioral health including the work of the renowned psychotherapists Steve de Shazer and his wife Insoo Kim Berg, who pioneered a technique called solution-focused brief therapy for public psychiatric facilities. Since joining AHS in January of 2010, he has implemented a blended form of brief therapy with newer techniques to drive improved results at JGPH.
When Mr. Qvistgaard arrived at JGPH, the facility was experiencing approximately 30 incidents of seclusion and restraint per 1000 patient days (PDs). By April 2012 it has been reduced to less than five incidents per 1000 PDs. This achievement aligns the facility with best practices in psychiatric hospitals nationally.
Mr. Qvistgaard also upgraded patient surroundings and engaged behavioral health providers in community outreach. He improved the patient experience, instituting an effective patient engagement initiative that included extensive staff training in verbal de-escalation techniques. His focus on staff training and staff/patient collaboration has increased patient satisfaction and employee engagement throughout the facility.
In addition, he installed a labyrinth in the facility courtyard for patient use and meditation, increased chaplain hours and enhanced collaboration with patients’ rights advocates. He has also increased the number of grants and funding through a renewed focus on grant application.
Mr. Qvistgaard’s vast experience includes both private and public sector activity including managing confidential employee assistance programs for large corporations. In March, 2012, he was elected to the California Hospital Association’s (CHA) Center for Behavioral Health (CBH) Advisory Board. He will serve a 3-year term on the CBH Advisory Board, an advisory body that provides direct input to the CHA Board of Trustees on issues of importance to behavioral health providers.
For 13 years prior to joining AHS, Mr. Qvistgaard was an operations executive throughout the Adventist Health System in California, including Loma Linda Medical Center. Most recently, he served as senior vice president of operations at St. Helena Hospital in Napa County, California.
Mr. Qvistgaard holds a Master of Science Degree in counseling from San Diego State University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in psychology from the University of California, San Diego. He is also a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.
AHS is widely recognized for its maternal child health care, emergency and trauma care, surgery, pediatrics, orthopedics, oncology, geriatrics and many outpatient services offered to all residents of the county. It is a major regional trauma center as well as a nationally- recognized teaching institution affiliated with the renowned University of California San Francisco medical school. More than 200 medical school graduates seek out AHS’s Highland Hospital as a venue to complete their residencies each year, competing for only 10 resident slots.
AHS serves one of the most diverse populations in the United States, delivering high quality care and services that are competitive with private health care providers. The organization hosts dozens of community engagement programs that benefit residents of all ages – from children and teens to the elderly. AHS’s overarching mission is to contribute significantly to the maintenance and improvement of the health of all county residents.