O'Connell proud of hospital's recognition

Filed under: One on One |

* Name: Rick O’Connell

* Organization: Penrose-St. Francis Health Services

* Position: President and CEO

* Hometown: I’m from a military family and have lived all over the world. I was born in Fort Worth, Texas.

* How long have you lived in Colorado Springs: Five and a half years.

* Education: I have a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a double major in health care administration and business from Oklahoma Baptist University.

* A few words about your company: I am proud to work to continue the legacy the Sisters of Charity and the Sisters of St. Francis brought 117 years ago to this community. Penrose-St. Francis has such a great history, being the oldest cancer hospital west of the Mississippi and the first heart hospital in the state of Colorado. The associates and physicians are amazing and I am in awe of the way they deliver such compassionate care. I am inspired to work for such an organization that is completely focused on nurturing the health of our community.

* Recent accomplishments: Penrose-St. Francis has recently received a number of prestigious awards for which I am so proud of our associates and medical staff. This year, we were awarded the Solucient “100 Top Hospitals National Benchmark for Success” award, the J.D. Power and Associates “Outstanding Patient Experience,” and the “2004 HealthGrades Distinguished Hospital award for Clinical Excellence.” On a personal note, I was humbled and surprised to have just been named the “2004 Business Citizen of the Year” by the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce. The accolades for Penrose-St. Francis continue as we were just awarded for the second year in a row, the “2005 HealthGrades Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence” as well as the Solucient “100 Top Hospitals Cardiovascular Benchmarks for Success.”

* Biggest career break: My health care career spans over 33 years. I went to orderly school at the age of 16 and I’ve been working in hospitals ever since.

* The toughest part of your job: The most difficult thing is trying to do the right thing for the community of Colorado Springs by providing the highest quality health care services with the continued influence on decreasing costs and providing more access. It is a delicate balance.

* Someone you admire: My father. He had a high school education. When he was 12, his own father died. He then joined the military at the age of 17 to provide for the rest of his family of eight siblings. He has had three careers – with the military, in health care as the CFO for a hospital system and he was appointed by the governor of the state of Oklahoma as an appellate court judge.

* About your family: My wife Teresa and I have been married for 11 years and we have three children – Ashley, Ryan and Jake.

* How your business will change in the next decade: Health care is ever-changing. I would like to see reform in the payer system (Medicare/Medicaid) and get rid of some of the red tape because we are so regulated. We have to find ways to meet the needs of our community through access, resolution of the physician shortage and address the ever-increasing costs.

* What book are you currently reading? I just finished the DiVinci Code.

* What is the one thing you would change about Colorado Springs? This community’s attitude toward social issues.