Q&A With Delvecchio Finley, CEO
It’s another great news day for AHS! Today’s online SF Business Journal includes an Executive Profile featuring our own CEO Delvecchio Finley. Our sincere appreciation to Mr. Finley for participating in the interview. Enjoy!
New Alameda Health CEO has a history of nursing hospitals to health
~Todd Johnson | San Francisco Business Times
Last August, Delvecchio Finley became CEO of Alameda Health System, a public health authority for Alameda County, filling the vacancy created when former CEO Wright Lassiter III left to take a job in Michigan. It includes the flagship Highland Hospital in Oakland, Alameda Hospital, San Leandro Hospital, the John George Psychiatric Pavilion, Fairmont Hospital, an acute rehab center, and several other outpatient and specialty sites. Before that, he was chief executive at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. Earlier, Finley worked at a flurry of Bay Area hospitals, as vice president of operations at California Pacific Medical Center, interim COO at the city of San Francisco’s Laguna Honda Hospital & Rehabilitation Center, associate administrator of San Francisco General Hospital and division administrator at UCSF’s School of Medicine.
How’s business? Things are, on balance, pretty good. We’re in the midst of a financial turnaround. We’re performing much better than last year, and we’re positive in terms of bottom line, but we’re not quite up to budget.
Biggest challenge for your organization? Providing ample access for the community, particularly in ambulatory care. The ACA did a great job of improving coverage, and demand has outstripped capacity.
What’s the latest on the new $440 million inpatient tower? We’re done with construction, we’re doing fit-up work and training, and we will occupy the building April 4.
Organizational goal yet to be achieved? Getting ready for the next Medi-Cal waiver, an agreement between the federal government and the state on a set of considerations for which we’re reimbursed. It’s moving toward a value-driven program, and we’re converting the organization from fee-for-service to operate in that payment model.
Guiding principles for good management? Hire good people and get out of the way. My role as a leader is to facilitate things by removing barriers, not doing the work myself. And I operate on a trust-but-verify basis.
Best way to keep competitive edge? Being a life-long learner and having a healthy thirst for knowledge.
Why people like working for you? I’m very committed to the organization and the people in it. People find that refreshing.
Why people don’t like working for you? Maybe my 3 a.m. emails.
Best business decision? Deciding not to go into politics.
Hardest lesson learned? That being a good student and having a good academic pedigree didn’t mean the world would automatically open up to me.
Toughest business decision? To have to do reductions in force — any decision involving layoffs.
Biggest regret? I declined a job doing revenue-cycle consulting that would have been a great learning opportunity.
What do you look for in potential hires? Three things: Intelligence; proven experience, background and results; and, the biggest, that they care about what we do.
Like best about job? The people we serve and the people who do the work.
Like least about job? The constant push for consistent communication. As many times as you say or communicate something, some people don’t hear or get it.
Most respected competitor? Kaiser Permanente.
First choice for a new career: Actor.
Who would play you in the movie of your life? Denzel in his day.
Most influential book: “Beyond Heroes,” by Kim Barnas.
Favorite cause? Early childhood literacy, particularly for disadvantaged youth.
Favorite way to spend free time? With my wife and daughter.
Favorite music: R&B. I’m old school. Stevie Wonder.
What’s in your refrigerator: Blue Apron gourmet meals that can be pre-ordered and prepared at home.
Guilty pleasure: Potato chips.
Favorite deal-making spot in the Bay Area? A Starbucks on Estuary Cove, south of Jack London Square.
What do you drive A navy blue 2015 Tesla.
First job: Teen counselor for middle-school kids in Atlanta on sexual abstinence.
Education: Bachelor’s in chemistry from Emory University and a master’s degree in public policy from Duke University.
How you got your distinctive name: My mother liked a TV detective show called “Delvecchio,” starring Judd Hirsch.