In the last year, the Billings Clinic Health System has been consumed with growth but also fraught with leadership struggles.
A new CEO, Dr. Scott Ellner, took the helm at the beginning of the year, and Tuesday night the community was invited to meet him at the Mary Alice Fortin Health Conference Center at the hospital
If you sit down with Ellner, it doesn’t take long to glean what he’s all about.
His priorities: patient access, patient care, and the people who work within the Billings Clinic walls and across the state’s largest health system.
“My number one priority is our people, and part of that is creating a safe environment,” said Ellner.
That safe environment is multi-faceted. From safe, quality, patient care and outcomes to recognizing that health care is a challenging environment, that burnout is real and medical teams are often thrust into a patient’s and their families’ most vulnerable states.
"My goal is to create a work environment where people are kind, they feel safe, and also they have the courage to speak up and support one another on what's right for our colleagues and what's right for our patients."
Ellner took over in January after leaving a Colorado hospital. He was hired a few months after the hospital's board of directors fired the previous CEO, Randall Gibb, was fired following allegations of sexual harassment by a hospital employee.
Ellner says the future of health care must be affordable and accessible, and how the hospital delivers care to its affiliates across Montana and upper Wyoming will be critical for how the Billings Clinic health system thrives in the next three to five years.
The system will continue to expand across the region and reach more patients.
“I think when it comes down to consumer choice and being number one in the market, you don't worry about your competitors. You worry about how you perform and what the consumer thinks about what you're providing for value to them," Ellner said.
And if all of that falls in line, Ellner has big plans for Billings Clinic.
"And in 3 to 5 years I will see us being the nationally recognized healthcare system of choice for providing rural healthcare," he said.