Aultman’s new CEO intends to stay the course as an independent supplier
CANTON – After more than 40 years with the Aultman Health Foundation, Rick Haines finds himself at the head of the organization.
The foundation announced on Wednesday that Haines would become president and chief executive officer, succeeding Ed Roth III, who has headed the foundation since 2001.
“It’s very humbling to fill Ed’s job,” Haines said in an interview with The Canton Repository.
Haines, 66, joined Aultman in January 1981 as a hospital staff coordinator. Dick Pryce, then President and CEO, hired him.
Five months later, Pryce hired Roth. Haines and Roth are 40 years together as colleagues. Haines contributed to the development AultCare in the 1980s and became Chairman and CEO of the foundation’s health insurance division in 2001.
Originally from Mantua in Portage County, Haines received a bachelor’s and master’s degree in business administration from Kent State University. He was working as a consultant when he responded to an advertisement for a position at Aultman Hospital.
During Haines’ tenure at Aultman, the foundation evolved into several operations. While the hospital is at the heart, there is AultCare, Aultman College, and numerous medical facilities in the area.
The foundation uses a vertical integration model to manage the various operations, Haines said. In 2020, he incorporated a company called AultPlan, headed by Chris Remark. AultPlan’s goal is to examine “the ways in which components can work more closely and better together to deliver a better product to the community,” Haines said.
He will oversee an organization with annual sales of over $ 800 million, approximately 7,200 employees, hospitals in Canton, Alliance and Orrville, and medical facilities throughout the region.
As Haines takes the helm, Aultman Health Foundation is building the $ 28 million Timken Family Cancer Center at Aultman Hospital in Canton, competing with other health care providers and striving to remain independent.
Haines discussed those issued with The Canton Repository. Here are his responses:
Question: Most people are excited to start a new job. Why are you excited to be named President and CEO of the Aultman Health Foundation?
Reply: Well, two or three things. One is that I am bleeding from Ault’s blood. I’ve been with the organization since 1980. It’s a family atmosphere from the board to the employees. So the way this Ault team operates excites me.
Aultman and all of our affiliates are very, very important to this community. And that turns me on. We’re competing in a pretty tough world right now in every area of our organization, from hospital to health care to college and everything else. It’s really important for this community to do well.
The combination of the Ault family and its importance to this community really excites me. The type and level of people we have here at Aultman. I have been here for 40 years and have worked with great people. Great mission to lead our community towards better health. Everything seemed to fit together for me. It’s been a long time since it fits.
Q: What are the biggest challenges the foundation is currently facing?
A: There are many. One is the financial sustainability of all of our financial programs and operations as general health care is squeezed, funding issues, and the stability of funding issues across all of our organizations. This is causing a lot of pressure on us, as well as on most healthcare organizations across the country.
A second thing that comes to mind is maintaining and retaining our excellent employee base. There is currently a great need across all industries for good, reliable employees who embrace the mission of an organization. It is certainly an issue that we, like all organizations, face in terms of retaining, retaining and hiring good employees.
Q: What are some of the foundation’s long term goals?
A: Getting back on its feet as an organization and community from COVID, the coronavirus. It’s a big deal for us in many ways. Certainly our employees, ensuring that they are safe in their working conditions.
We have started to see more people go through emergencies than was happening at the height of the COVID crisis. Sometimes it is not necessarily the best place for them to seek care, but they seek care. We would prefer that they begin, if necessary, to return to their primary care physicians. Coming back and restoring our care for the community, post-COVID, would be one of them.
We are very excited about our newly launched Timken Family Cancer Center. This is a huge benefit to our community for patients seeking cancer care. It will be an all-inclusive cancer center. It is scheduled to open in July of next year and for the moment, the deadlines and budget are being respected.
We have the Aultman Deuble Heart and Vascular Hospital. Great things are happening there. We want to make sure it continues to grow and prosper.
On the college side, we are very proud to have our own Aultman College. We want to make sure that we communicate to the community that we have a great college here and that we are open for business. Coming out of COVID, there are great training programs here at Aultman College, preparing people for high-demand jobs our graduates would enjoy.
On the AultCare side, there is continued competitive pressure from major health plans entering the region. Our goal is simply to continue to grow and ensure that AdultCare and PrimeTime and all of our various programs are competitive and profitable, and applicable to the needs of our local community.
Q: Can Aultman maintain his independence?
A: I am very confident, and it is extremely important to remain independent for the good of our community.
We have what we call the Ault Way here and I think the continuity that we have shown with our board of directors and with our management team contributes to that confidence in our ability to continue. Ed Roth had been here for 20 years. Dick Pryce had been here for 20 years. Howard Taylor had been here for 20 years. We have great continuity in leading these communities towards better health, which is our mission.
We take this very seriously. It’s not just something we put on the board. We pay special attention to two words in this sentence. One leads. It doesn’t say to accompany or be part of, it says to lead the communities. And health, there are many different definitions of health that we take seriously. Obviously the physical health of the community. Mental Health. Fiscal health, trying to keep our costs as low as possible.
So we are very confident that we at Ault Way can continue to rally behind our mission, and our vision is to be the premier healthcare organization, the healthcare system in the communities we serve. The goal we take seriously is to protect our communities by providing the best service at the lowest price and of the highest quality possible.
These missions, visions, objectives and valuable positions, we take them seriously. We spend a lot of time on them. We educate our team on them. They are in a way our rallying cry.
We have 7,200 excellent employees and 900 physicians. We have a foundation board of 44 people who are all community people who live and work here. The combination of all of these things gives me great confidence that we can compete successfully as an independent system here with a lot of competition swirling around us.
In almost every organization and product line that we have at Aultman, competition is intense. The other thing I like about our confidence is that we love competition, we don’t shy away from competition. We believe that competition improves ourselves, improves our team. We will collaborate where we can, but we do not hesitate, we do not shy away from the competition.
This mindset of being ready and able to compete, along with all of our programs that we have, puts us in a very good position.
We have a large hospital. We have a great health plan. We have a great college. We have other great programs. Most health systems in the state of Ohio and the country do not have all of these components. They may have a hospital, but they don’t have a health plan. They may have medicare, they don’t have a hospital. Granted, most of them don’t have college. This not only differentiates us, but it gives us many opportunities to work together as an organization to lead this community to better health.
Q: After 40, most people your age are planning to retire. You noted that Roth and Pryce had been here for 20 years. Do you plan to work 20 years?
A: I don’t think I’ll be here 20 years but I’ll be here for a while. There was no doubt in my mind when the AHF board approached me, there was no doubt in my mind that I would take the job if it was offered. So passionate about this organization that I am here for as long as they need me. I’m all for it, I guess that’s the way to put it.
Staff:Married to Vicki, four children and three grandchildren
Education:Bachelor and Master of Business Administration Kent State University
Professional: Hired at Aultman Hospital in 1981 as staff coordinator, then budget manager, patient account manager and associate vice president of finance. Appointed Associate Vice President of Managed Care for AultCare in 1985, Executive Vice President in 1997 and President and CEO in 2001.
Community activities: Former Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce and Kent State University Stark. Led the annual fundraising campaign for the United Way of Stark County with his wife, Vicki. Member of the board of directors of US health insurance plans and the Alliance of Community Health Plans.
Other: Lifetime fan of the Cleveland Browns.