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In The News

January 20, 2017

CSHP’s Roman views West as home

CSHP's Roman views West as home
by Bryan Grossman
view article on CSBJ here

When Oraida Roman’s daughter began telling everyone in Florida real skiing is done on snow, she knew it was time to pick up and head back to the hills. Roman is the latest CEO to take over at Colorado Springs Health Partners, the city’s largest physician group. For the past two years, she was the chief operating officer at JSA Healthcare Corp. in Tampa, Fla., a DaVita Medical Group company.


DaVita acquired CSHP in 2014 and will absorb its largest competitor, Mountain View Medical Group, in a transaction scheduled for completion later this month.


Roman spoke to the Business Journal this week about being a Westerner at heart, as well as overseeing CSHP’s growth, its 10 offices in the Colorado Springs area and its staff of more than 145 doctors, physician assistants and other providers. Where are you from?


Originally I’m from South Florida, and I moved out West and spent six years in Utah. My family and I went back home to Florida and could not get used to it — the humidity and all the people. We knew we’d struggle to acclimate, but two-and-a-half years in, it still wasn’t working. We were ready to come back West. We became Westerners in the six years we were out here.


How did you get involved in health care?


I went to grad school in Florida, and then was working in Nashville for a behavioral health care company. I had just finished my master’s degree [in health administration] and got an opportunity to do a graduate internship program at Humana.


I went in thinking I’d be there a few years, but I moved back to Florida and was with Humana for about 18 years. I moved with them to Las Vegas and then Utah, running Humana’s Medicare markets. I was in Utah when I got the opportunity to be [chief operating officer] for DaVita in Florida.


Working in insurance, you help people finance health care, but you’re removed from the care they’re receiving. One thing for me that was neat about this opportunity was being closer to the patient.


Are there aspects from the insurance industry that carried over to your new position?


In insurance, you spend a lot of time trying to influence your insured to take care of themselves. I try to do the same thing here, and it’s hard. … The focus on trying to keep people as healthy as possible is very similar, but I have a very different understanding now that I’m closer to the patient. It’s even harder.


What are the strengths of this market?


One strength is that this is a very tight-knit community, and all the providers know each other in a way that I didn’t see in Tampa. Tampa is a much bigger city with lots of hospitals. Here, I believe it is easier to transition care from one provider to the other when they all know each other.


But there’s also difficulty in a smaller community to provide access to everyone and ensure we have everything we need.


What’s your opinion of health care growth in the region?


It’s growing at the right rate. But now we need a crystal ball to determine how we’ll grow, and what services we’ll need more of. It can be a costly mistake if we hire a specialty that’s not really needed and we’re under-employing a physician.


And it could be a costly mistake if we don’t employ a specialty we need. One of the biggest reasons for dissatisfaction for patients is when they call to see a doc, and we tell them we can see them in six months.


When we look at growth and where we need to increase capacity, it would be nice if we had a magic formula and got it right all the time. But it’s a little more difficult.


We are hoping to grow our physician panel by probably another 20 in 2017, and that doesn’t include Mountain View Medical Group. That acquisition is expected to close shortly.


Is there an update on the Mountain View Medical acquisition?


We’re under a formal letter of intent, and we expect to have a signed letter within the next 30 to 60 days to acquire the group. The best way to think about it is both of us are joining DaVita Medical Group. I see, at some point in the future, we’ll all merge as DaVita Medical Group. It’s not [MVM] joining CSHP or CSHP joining them.


What are the advantages of CSHP and MVM operating under DaVita?


One thing that is a great opportunity is the investment in team and leadership skills DaVita makes. There’s a lot of opportunity for the teammates of DaVita and a lot of room for growth in leadership skills. We are expending a lot of energy in creating physician leaders.


Many organizations think of physicians as the production unit, but we’re focusing on creating both operational and physician leadership.


Has recruiting been a concern?


Recruiting physicians is always a concern, especially for primary care. We all know about the shortages. They’re real. So providing a place where physicians want to work is very important.


How will so many health care unknowns in 2017 affect CSHP?


This will be year of a lot of volatility and noise. At end of the day, as the leader of this group, we will still have patients who need good medical care. That need isn’t going away, so we’ll focus on that. But how we get there might change.