B.J. Scott has seen Peak Vista Community Health Centers through a time of tremendous growth — and incredible challenge as the worsening economy led more people to seek services at the safety net clinic.
Peak Vista is a private, nonprofit health center that has treated patients in the Pikes Peak region since 1971. The clinic now serves 60,000 people at 19 different clinics. Scott joined Peak Vista in 1996, and became its president and CEO in 2001. She oversees the clinics’ business affairs and its $47 million budget.
She is ending 10 years as CEO of the organization, and moving to head the group’s fundraising branch, the Peak Vista Foundation. The foundation has raised $9.5 million since 2007 to fund community projects such as the Lane Senior Health Center at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
Why did you decide to make the move to the foundation?
At the 30,000 foot level, the healthcare industry is entering magical yet scary times with transformations taking place at all levels. At the street level, Peak Vista Community Health Centers and the Peak Vista Foundation have experienced unprecedented success and growth over the past few years that has been challenging and rewarding. Given both these dynamics, I believed this to be a good time for a new CEO to take the helm of this great organization and help write its next chapter. Yet, I am not ready to retire. I love Peak Vista and the vital niche we fill in the healthcare marketplace serving all ages from seniors to working families in our community — this still motivates me every day. I am honored the Foundation Board has offered me the opportunity to come full circle and do what I was doing 10 years ago before becoming CEO of the health center — raising funds to support the important programs and services of Peak Vista.
What are your plans for the future of the foundation? How will you meet those goals?
Peak Vista’s model of care is an example of the framework that is critical to expanding access quality health care in our state and country. We know from thousands of examples that the coordinated care we provide is much more effective than the fragmented care that way too many people receive. Yet, many of the pieces of our model of care are not reimbursed in our current financing structure, either through public programs or commercial payors. That is where the Foundation comes in. We raise much needed funds to support this model until the healthcare industry can re-invent itself to create the care and behaviors that will help us reform healthcare. Working with a fantastic Foundation Board of Directors we will take direction from the Health Center Board and support their needs. We will focus on growing our planned giving and general fund activities as well.
What challenges will Peak Vista face in the future, and how will the foundation play a role in meeting those challenges?
Peak Vista will need to re-invent itself even as the healthcare industry does so. In other words, full speed forward into the fog. This will require that Peak Vista gets even better at some of its current core competencies — entrepreneurial approaches to high quality, cost effective care through innovation and even more partnerships than we have today with individuals, organizations and businesses in our service area. The Foundation will be called upon to provide needed bridge funding to maintain our current services while the patient service side of our organization continues to lead the way in providing a patient centered healthcare home through integrated medical, dental and behavioral healthcare.
You’ve been CEO at Peak Vista for a number of years. What do you consider your greatest success?
That’s a tough question! It has been an honor to lead this great organization for 10 years. Certainly the fact that we are serving over 60,000 patients today compared to 37,000 served when I became CEO in 2001 is amazing — not because we’ve gotten bigger and opened more facilities, but because we are serving thousands of new patients . However, the growing partnerships and support Peak Vista has received over these years has been most gratifying to me personally. It’s been a privilege to work with such amazing, committed, talented and passionate people…I’m talking about Peak Vista staff, volunteers, Board members, donors, businesses and private foundations as well as our public program partners.
The search is on for your replacement as president and CEO. Any advice for the person who replaces you?
Hire good people and learn from them. Start with what they know and build on what they have. Believe that life is a great and noble calling, not a series of tasks we are to muddle through as best we can. The nature of human behavior is such that we tend not to drift in to better behaviors. We have to be asked by someone to take it up a notch. This is an amazing organization. When I asked them to take it up a notch, they did! I just had to get out of their way.