COVID changed medical care in so many ways. What are some of the long-lasting changes to medical care you see?
There are lots of macroeconomic changes that have occurred since COVID-19. One of the biggest changes is in the cost of workforce. When I look forward as a result of COVID and where we are, I think people are beginning to innovate in healthcare in ways they may not have considered pre-COVID.
Post-COVID, patients use digital technology in all aspects of their life, including medical, and we have more focus on health equity.
What is the best hospital food at Ochsner locations across the state?
I can tell you the best lunch. I was down the bayou a few months ago and had catfish, white beans, cornbread at Chabert in Houma. It was excellent!
You’ve lived in Acadiana and New Orleans and spent a lot of time in north Louisiana, as well as other areas of the state too. What do you see as regional differences across the state? And, where do you see the common ground?
Common ground first: Regardless of where you go around the state, people care deeply about Louisiana and about the future of Louisiana. People want their kids to grow up and come home to/stay in Louisiana.
I’ve been in a lot of other states, as well. People have a commitment to this culture that I’ve not seen in other states — and that gives me a lot of hope.
I couldn’t put my finger on one individual, specific difference in the different regions. The different industries create some differences — hospitality in New Orleans and oil field services in Acadiana, but at the end of the day, people care about the state and their families.
What’s been the biggest surprise for you in your role as CEO of Ochsner?
I would say how incredibly supportive everybody has been — physicians, community members, friends. People have been really supportive. Knowing that I’m not doing this alone makes a difference. I can really feel that people are rooting for me — makes a big difference.