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Although Dr. Neeraj Kanwal has a background in internal medicine, the internal operations of a hospital have always fascinated him and led him to his new position as president of ProMedica Flower Hospital.
“Hospitals are incredible places, very complex organizations that do a lot of good for individuals and the community,” Dr. Kanwal, 57, said.
While completing his medical studies, he was exposed to physician executives who led their organizations and thought that was “pretty cool.”
“There are a lot of academic health centers led by physicians, and by coincidence when I was assigned a physician mentor early on he was the V.P. of medical affairs,” said Dr. Kanwal, who is currently in the vice president of medical affairs at ProMedica Toledo Hospital.
He will become head of Flower Hospital in Sylvania on Monday. He replaces Alan Sattler, who was promoted to chief financial officer of ProMedica. Dr. Kanwal’s salary was not disclosed.
Dr. Kanwal has been with ProMedica since 2001 when he joined Paramount Health Care as vice president and medical director. A graduate of Penn State University, he completed medical school at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia and his residency in internal medicine at the University of Toledo Medical Center, the former Medical College of Ohio. He holds a master’s degree in health services administration from George Washington University. Dr. Kanwal had a primary care practice in Washington in the 1990s.
ProMedica wants to improve patient safety, Dr. Kanwal said, noting that Flower has “overcome the hurdle” when its Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements were threatened because of concerns regarding patient safety earlier this year. In April, a 21-year-old Toledo woman was raped in the hospital’s psychiatric unit. State and federal authorities forced Flower to draft new patient-safety procedures in the wake of the assault.
“Everybody — board members, community folks, administration, and people on the psychiatric floor” will keep a better eye on safety, he said.
Dr. Kanwal will report to Kevin Webb, chief acute care officer of ProMedica. He will oversee more than 1,500 employees at Flower, which is on Harroun Road. His day-to-day duties include running staff and leadership meetings, managing community affairs, and being involved in facility operations.
He said he employs a “participative management” philosophy involving people in decision making, working with teams, and letting internal experts help determine what happens. He said he is “fairly easy going” but professionally sets high expectations.
Dr. Kanwal said he will continue to employ the hospital’s multiyear plan. That includes improving patient, physician, and employee satisfaction, reducing cost base, and running a more cost-effective operation.
“Flower was designed and built many years ago to be a cradle-to-grave institution,” he said. “That is true with obstetrics and the acute care hospital, and with the nursing home and hospice on its campus. It fulfills the 100-year-old mission.”