Mercer Island's Roodman celebrates 30 years at helm of Valley Medical Center

Islander Rich Roodman, the CEO of Valley Medical Center, will celebrate 30 years as the organization’s chief executive — the longest-tenured public hospital district CEO in the state of Washington.

As CEO, Roodman’s formation of a strategic alliance with UW Medicine is one of his proudest achievements. Enacted on July 1, 2011, VMC’s goal of the alliance is to further enhance VMC’s clinical sophistication and graduate medical education while obtaining significant cost savings as a way to best position VMC for health care reform. To date, the alliance has facilitated a new ER physician residency program, helped attract skilled sub-specialists along with dozens of clinical and business integration accomplishments.

“The strategic alliance will benefit many, many people in our community for decades to come — and for that I am so grateful to have had a role in both its creation and implementation,” Roodman says.

VMC first partnered with the UW School of Medicine in 1984, to start the first primary care teaching and residency program at any suburban hospital in the Northwest. Beginning in the late 1980s, VMC experienced a great deal of growth and change and includes physician-owned and financed medical buildings, a comprehensive clinic network to facilitate access and the expansion of a birth center and neonatal intensive care division to accommodate the nearly 5,000 babies born at VMC each year.

VMC features enhanced and expanded surgical suites that accommodate robotic and minimally invasive surgeries, the construction of one of the largest emergency department and patient towers on the West Coast, and most recently, the development and implementation of a $47 million electronic medical record system that will help to ensure patient safety and enhance quality. Within just the past few years, more than 70 percent of the VMC campus has been renovated or is brand new.

“I also need to stress that Valley Medical Center is an integral component of the communities it serves,” says Roodman. “Our partnerships with cities within our hospital district’s footprint, as well as the relationships with the local school district, technical college, first responders and business leaders have cultivated a culture of outreach for Valley.

“We could not have grown Valley to a level that would attract UW Medicine without incredible people. I’ve always believed that happy staff result in satisfied patients and quality patient care, so having been ranked a ‘Best Place to Work’ for more than 10 years has been extremely gratifying as well.”

Over the years, Roodman says his biggest challenge has been shrinking state and federal financial support for the Medicaid and Medicare populations which continue to grow at Valley while attempting to operate a first class health care oriented enterprise.

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