New hospital CEO focuses on patients

For Dr. Anita Hackstedde, the priority remains the patients.

The new President and Chief Executive Officer of Salem Community Hospital, which is changing its name to Salem Regional Medical Center, said patient care was her focus as a practicing physician and it’s still her focus now.

“I’ve said all along here my goal is to have outstanding patient experiences,” she said, noting the partnership with all members of the health care team, physicians included. “To me, the outstanding patient experience means you receive high quality care, excellent service and the best outcomes possible for your health.”

For many years, the hospital president and CEO position has been filled by men with backgrounds in health care administration and business. When asked what a physician can bring to the position, she said she knows patient care.

Health care is changing dramatically and physicians understand. There’s a focus on outcomes and that’s why there’s a shift of having physicians as CEOs. Hackstedde said health care should be physician-driven, not regulatory or government-driven.

“Our relationship with our physicians is going to be a key driver to how successful we are as a hospital,” she said, adding that all hospital staff play important roles. “We’re all part of the same team, but physicians need to lead that team.”

She said they need to partner with their patients to help the patients make the best decisions for their health care, not the insurance companies or the government.

Hackstedde was placed permanently in the SCH driver’s seat last month by the hospital board of directors after holding the president/CEO position on an interim basis since Aug. 16.

The Columbiana resident first joined the hospital in November 2006 as Vice President of Medical Affairs, leading the SCH Professional Corporation and overseeing the functions of the Medical Staff Office, Physician Relations, Quality Improvement, Infection Control, Risk Management and Laboratory Services. She also worked part-time as a physician at the Lisbon Community Health Center in Lisbon up until her interim appointment in August.

A native of Niles, Hackstedde graduated from Warren JFK High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Youngstown State University. She completed her medical degree at The Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus and her internship and residency at Akron General and Akron Children’s Hospitals in Akron. She is board certified in internal medicine and pediatrics. She worked in private practice from 1998 to 2006 in the Youngstown/Boardman area, then came to SCH.

She said another goal for SCH is “to remain a strong, independent comprehensive hospital and to continue with our tradition of having innovative technology and advanced services to meet our community’s needs.”

“This place is unique. I think sometimes people forget what we have here. What our hospital offers is beyond what people would expect a community hospital to do,” she said, pointing to the 3T Open MRI and the Dual-128 CT Scanner, which produces 3-D images.

Both pieces of equipment are the only ones in the area between Cleveland and Pittsburgh to provide the detail they provide, which aids in diagnosis and early detection of some diseases. The hospital was also one of the first in the area to offer digital mammography.

Hackstedde said some of the surgical procedures are more advanced and innovative, especially in the areas of vascular disease and sinus problems.

On Friday, the hospital announced it was changing its name to Salem Regional Medical Center, but stressed there’s no change in ownership, staff, location or mission. The hospital remains under the control of a board of directors comprised of local community leaders and physicians, just as it was 100 years ago.

Hackstedde said the board wants to provide what the community needs and the local board is in the best position to know what’s needed. Health care is a local issue and hits both board members and staff members personally, at home, where they live and work.

When she’s not running the hospital, Hackstedde is running, literally. She didn’t actually start running until college and medical school as a form of exercise, but it became one of her passions.

She doesn’t just run around the block, either. She loves running marathons and has run several all over, including marathons in Chicago, Nashville, Philadelphia, Columbus and Erie.

“That’s how I focus and think – that’s my time in my head,” she said.

Hackstedde said she’s very approachable and love’s patient care.

“I think I have a very open, joking personality. We can do good work and still have fun doing it,” she said.

Her husband, Dave, is an electrical engineer at Delphi. They have two boys. Chris, the 19-year-old, is a zoology major at the Ohio State University. Nick, 16, attends Columbiana High School.