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Changes coming to Woodwinds administrative leadership

HealthEast Care System is making changes to its leadership team, including an administrative modification to the Woodwinds Health Campus in Woodbury.

Chief Executive Officer Tom Schmitt will no longer lead Woodwinds directly, moving him to a different role in the organization of senior vice president of Accountable Care Organization, Clinics and Outpatient Services.

Longtime Woodbury resident Roger Green will retire from his position as vice president of strategy, policy, marketing and communications for HealthEast after 38 years.

"The development of Woodwinds was probably one of the most exciting parts in my 38 years," Green said, adding that the innovative hospital "is still very much alive."

Green saw a number of changes in his tenure as vice president of strategy, policy, marketing and communications.

After working with citizen groups to design and plan out what Woodwinds would look like, he said it has become exactly what the community had envisioned.

Additionally, the technological advances in the health care industry have been seen there as well.

"We've gone through a tremendous amount of change in health care," Green said.

From scopes and less invasive surgeries, to everyday drugs that have become life saving for those with diabetes, high blood pressure or cholesterol, "there is so much that's happened," he said.

One of the most exciting changes Green said the hospitals have seen, and will continue to see progress in, is the development of electronic medical records that have made sharing information between physicians a lot easier.

"It's remarkable where the industry has come and it's on the verge of kind of a quantum leap," he said.

The changes HealthEast is taking will continue with the restructuring of its leadership staff, including Schmitt, who served as operations executive director for seven years before becoming CEO of Woodwinds two years ago.

Schmitt's new role will focus on running the 15 HealthEast clinics around the east metro, including its biggest, Woodwinds in Woodbury.

Part of his new responsibilities will be to integrate prevention into primary care clinics and provide an "Accountable Care Organization" across the continuum.

Since coming on to Woodwinds, Schmitt said the holistic vision and improving patients' quality of life, while advancing the campus, has been something to be proud of.

"That vision of evolving the campus, I would say, is a signature accomplishment of my time here," he said.

Moving on to his new position, he said, will give him the opportunity to apply some of those advances to HealthEast clinics.

Schmitt plans to work directly in each location and take a hands-on approach in figuring out what's best for the clinics and patients.

"That's the only way that I can serve them to understand what their needs and issues are," he said.

To form an Accountable Care Organization, Schmitt said the company had to have a network of providers that services the Medicare population.

HealthEast Care System plans to partner with Interra Health Inc. to provide a stronger network of providers in the east metro, he said.

"It's a much more positive way to change how care is delivered," Schmitt said.

The initiative, which kicks off in January 2013, will be more coordinated, less confusing and an integrated network that provides comprehensive care without the redundancy of unnecessary testing, he said.

Part of the reason why HealthEast is restructuring is to provide smoother, better coordinated care for the patients, he said.

"By consolidating ... we are breaking some of those silos," Schmitt said.

While one executive is beginning to incorporate changes in the HealthEast system, another is prepping to start a new chapter after almost four decades in the industry.

Green said he still plans to continue his involvement with a number of local nonprofits as well as tracking the changes coming up in the next few years.

"I feel very passionately about the current round of change," he said. "It's time for another team of people to lead that effort."

In hockey terms, it's time for him to start third period.

"So if the first two took 60 years, I should be good until 90," he said with a smile. "And maybe I'll get some overtime."

Riham Feshir
Riham Feshir is a reporter and photographer for the Woodbury Bulletin. Her coverage includes Woodbury City Hall, Washington County Board of Commissioners and business news.  Follow Riham on Twitter @RihamFeshir for the latest updates.