Kathleen Silard, president and CEO, Stamford Health
One Hospital Plaza, Stamford
What was your path to becoming a hospital CEO?
“I started my career as a pediatric and neonatal ICU nurse at the Albert Einstein Hospital in the Bronx. From there, I took a role as director of clinical operations at Einstein and went on to become the executive director of the Montefiore Medical Group. Before joining Stamford Health, I was the executive vice president and chief operating officer at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in New Jersey. I joined Stamford Health in 2003 as executive vice president and chief operating officer. In that role, I was responsible for clinical and operational leadership and led the development and building of the new Stamford Hospital. During that time, I also led several other initiatives, including the development of Stamford Health’s Heart & Vascular Institute, the Bennett Cancer Program, our relationship with Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center, the collaborative for orthopedics with Hospital for Special Surgery, the Women’s Breast Center, Children’s Specialty Center and pediatric emergency department. In 2018 I became president and CEO, responsible for our 305-bed acute care hospital, Stamford Health Medical Group, an extensive ambulatory network and Stamford Hospital Foundation. I am responsible to our board of directors for the development of high-level strategy, major corporate decisions regarding operations, financial performance and human resource talent management. While my role is now administrative, I credit my early years as a nurse at the bedside as my most formative experience.
What makes Stamford Hospital distinctive?
“I like to say that we offer the communities we serve expert care, from compassionate caregivers in beautiful settings. We treat complex cases and collaborate with renowned health-care partners. “I am so proud that because of our dedication to quality and compassionate care, we’ve been recognized by many institutions. Our flagship hospital is recognized as a “High Performing Hospital” by U.S. News & World Report. In April 2021, we were the only Fairfield County hospital to receive an A grade for safety from The Leapfrog Group and a five-star (out of five) overall quality rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). We are among the 7% of hospitals nationwide awarded magnet status by the American Nurses Credentialing Center for the highest levels of safety, quality and patient satisfaction. We genuinely treat patients differently and that’s because we are rooted strongly in our value-based culture, providing person-centered care.
What are its specialties?
“Our programs and services cover all the major areas. Our Heart & Vascular Institute is the only full-service cardiac program in lower Fairfield County with a newly forged partnership with Columbia Irving Medical Center for cardiac surgery. Our Bennett Cancer Center is a collaborative member of the Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center, which means that our physicians follow the same treatment protocols and our patients benefit from facilitated second opinions from the No. 4 cancer program in the U.S. We collaborate with Hospital for Special Surgery, the No. 1 provider of orthopedic care in the nation. And our sophisticated neurosciences programs include neurology and neurosurgery services. We were recently awarded The Joint Commission’s gold seal of approval and stroke rehabilitation certification. Finally, our robust programs for women and children include the first-ever breast center accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers from the American College of Surgeons; the area’s most comprehensive women’s specialty center; our Press Ganey “Guardian of Excellence”-awarded NICU; and the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Children’s Institute, which is comprised of the Cohen Children’s Specialty Center, the area’s only pediatric emergency department and the Cohen Children’s Inpatient Unit. Meanwhile, our maternity care and labor and delivery units feature all private rooms.
Increasingly, hospitals are becoming part of health-care systems. What are the advantages to these networks – or to being independent?
“We are unique in today’s health-care environment in that we are an independent institution. That independence helps us maintain our strong culture and close ties to the community. We also feel that it helps us best serve the unique needs of our community, which has been reinforced as we’ve responded to the Covid-19 pandemic. Every year, we provide more than $90 million in uncompensated care to members of the community who are in need. On the flip side, we are an economic engine for Fairfield County. Stamford Health contributes about $1 billion to the local economy and is the largest employer in the city of Stamford. We feel strongly that high-quality, accessible health care adds to the quality of life and attracts quality employers and employees to Fairfield County.”
What do you see in the future for your hospital?
…Community health, telehealth, digital transformation, affordability, access and a focus on the patient as consumer represent the foundation of the three-year strategic plan Stamford Health just launched to ensure that these goals are met, our community is taken care of and that we can offer the services required of this new, shifting landscape. This pandemic has made clear that we need to rethink the old ways and build new models of health care, catering to consumers who have the option to shop for their health-care needs. We know this will take time and a lot of elbow grease, but we’ve got our plan in place, our sleeves rolled up and we’re ready to do the work that will help us achieve our vision of being the most trusted health-care partner for the communities we serve.”
For more, visit stamfordhealth.org.