Thibaut van Marcke joined Orlando Health as a senior vice president and president, Dr. P. Phillips Hospital in April 2016. Thibaut comes to Orlando Health from HCA - North Florida Regional Medical Center in Gainesville, a 432-bed tertiary hospital, where he was vice president and chief operating officer, responsible for all hospital operations including executive oversight of surgical services, cardiovascular services and all ancillary and support departments.
Prior to that role, he was chief operating officer of Medical Center of Trinity in New Port Richey, Florida, and associate administrator at HCA/HealthONE in Aurora, Colorado. Thibaut has worked closely with the American Heart Association and has served as an advisory board member for the YMCA of the Suncoast. He holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Richmond and a Master of Health Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University.
"Since I was a kid, I have been drawn to healthcare. I volunteered in the rehab department of my local hospital in high school and went to college with the intent of being a physical therapist. While my interests changed in college, I learned more about the field of health administration from my sister-in-law who was just starting a career in the field. While I wasn't cut out to be a direct care giver, I found that I could make an impact through leadership. That led me to pursue a graduate education in health administration," he said.
We talked with van Marcke about what he has learned in his year at his new post, and what goals he has for the hospital.
OMN: What would you describe as your guiding principle in providing healthcare for patients in your care?
TvM: I have a couple of thoughts: 1) Our primary responsibility is to make sure that our patients are better when they leave than when they arrived. I realize that this sounds basic but it's very important that we always remember our fundamental purpose. 2) I believe that our primary responsibility as leaders is to create an environment where our team members and physicians can do their best every day. I am not a clinician and am probably the last person you'd want in a medical emergency but we have a tremendous group of doctors, nurses, technicians and therapists. My job is to help identify barriers and to remove them. If we can do that effectively, I can go home at night knowing that our patients are receiving the best care possible.
OMN: You've been at your present post about a year and a half now...what have you learned about working with the staff, the board and employees at the hospital? Are there some unique/interesting qualities you've discovered and want to encourage, improve on or change?
TvM: I've learned that the abilities of our staff and physicians is virtually limitless. I am fortunate to work with a talented and creative team who is dedicated to achieving excellence. In my role, I intend to continue to support that innovation so that we can continue on our journey toward excellence in everything we do.
OMN: Of all the things you would especially like to bring to the hospital what's most important?
TvM: I hope to continue to create an environment that supports innovation and achievement. The healthcare industry faces many challenges in the coming years and the greater our ability to solve problems and redesign processes, the better prepared we will be to thrive.
OMN: What projects do you have going online in the next 5 years and what long-term projects do you want to get started with?
TvM: Dr. P. Phillips Hospital is in the midst of a tremendous growth period. As a result, we have a number of projects planned that will expand our capabilities as well as make our services available to a broader population. In 2018, we plan on opening an outpatient cancer center on the hospital campus as well as a free-standing emergency department located in Kissimmee. We are also in the beginning stages of planning for additional operating rooms as well as new patient rooms that will be designed with comfort and patient convenience in mind.
OMN: There's been a noticeable trend in cost difference for services performed in a hospital setting and services at stand-alone centers. What are the moves being made to address the issue?
TvM: Orlando Health and Dr. P. Phillips Hospital have been very focused on expanding our ambulatory capabilities to address that very issue. Just last year, we opened the Orlando Health Medical Pavilion at Spring Lake (Located next to Dr. Phillips Library) that houses physicians in numerous specialties as well as an outpatient lab, pharmacy and imaging center. The intent is to make services that don't need to be in the hospital more convenient and cost-effective for our patients. We have also recently partnered with CareSpot who is an urgent care provider in the community and is now affiliated with Orlando Health. We have additional outpatient centers planned in the community that will make access to care more convenient and affordable.
OMN: Due to Hurricane Irma, some hospitals in the state are facing cash flow issues not necessarily right now but down the road a few months. How has the interruption from Irma affected your hospital for the foreseeable future?
TvM: We were very fortunate in that we faced minimal direct impact from Irma from an infrastructure perspective. As for patients, we did treat a number of patients in the days
immediately following the storm who had traveled to the area from South Florida for safety reasons. While we may continue to see some impact from patients who have not yet returned home, of more urgency is the potential impact from patients currently in Puerto Rico who have been devastated by Hurricane Maria and will need care as transportation becomes available. We have been in contact with local and state agencies who are assisting in coordinating the needs of those folks.
OMN: Anything else you'd like to let readers know?
TvM: Dr. P. Phillips Hospital is proud to have served the community for more than 20 years. During that time, we have grown from a small community hospital to a comprehensive hospital offering a wide range of services to meet the needs of the community. As our community continues to grow and change, we look forward to our meet the needs for many years to come.