When Peter Powers, FACHE, moved from a job at a hospital in Denver, CO to become CEO of Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, he expected his new position to be a challenge. What he didn’t expect was to begin his tenure during the COVID-19 crisis.
“It has been a phenomenal experience,” he said of the position that he began in late March. “I am so impressed with how Memorial has handled COVID. I’ve been talking to colleagues around the country, and we’re doing head and shoulders better than anyone else I’m aware of.
“We’ve been performing our own COVID tests here at Memorial for quite a while, and we’re in a number of trials including the Remdesivir trial, and the Mayo Convalescent Plasma trial,” he added. “I’m continually amazed by how progressive, nimble and innovative this system is.”
Powers, the former CEO of St. Anthony Hospital in Denver, wasn’t looking to change jobs when the Memorial position became available. “Then I heard amazing things about the quality of the programs, and the overall culture of the organization,” he said. “It’s the type of place that people typically don’t leave, and that’s not very common these days in the healthcare industry.”
Powers graduated from Indiana University and attended graduate school at the University of Sydney in Australia. Before joining St. Anthony, he worked for five years as vice-president of operations at a smaller hospital in Longmont, CO.
“This was an opportunity that I could not turn down,” he added of his relocation to the far south. “The timing was right for my family and me, and we’re very excited to be in Florida and at Memorial.”
In his new role, Powers plans to expand the hospital’s quaternary programs, as well as make campus infrastructure improvements. “Memorial Regional Hospital is the flagship hospital of Memorial Healthcare System and has been in this community for more than 60 years,” he said. “We continue to make a number of upgrades and updates to enhance the infrastructure and innovate our services.”
In addition to dealing with the COVID crisis, Powers is leading Memorial as it returns to providing elective surgeries, which resumed the second week of May. “We are really starting to pick up, but we are remaining cautious and vigilant,” he said. “The community relies on us, and if COVID comes back in a big way, we will be the place that people come, so we have to be very careful about how we ramp back up.”
Meeting other healthcare executives in the area will be important as Powers settles into his new position, and he appreciates the networking opportunities that ACHE of South Florida provides.
“I have been a member of ACHE since I was a student, and I found it an incredible way to get exposure to senior level executives and to form relationships that helped further my career,” he said.
A former mentee, Powers also takes his role as a mentor very seriously. “I love to speak to groups of students, to chambers of commerce and economic development commissions, because it meant a lot to me that people would invest their time in helping me grow and develop in my career,” he said. “I feel a responsibility to give back as I have been so fortunate myself.”
As an ACHE fellow, Powers also encourages current members to pursue the fellowship track.
“The fellowship designation is important because it adds a level of credibility to your resume,” he said. “When interviewing for this position, it was a very important credential for the Memorial Healthcare System—it is considered the gold standard for leaders.”
Though he’s been kept very busy since arriving, Powers says that he and his family can’t wait to hit the beaches once things calm down. “I’m a big runner and cyclist, and am passionate about the role exercise plays in lifestyle management, preventative care and stress relief,” said Powers. “I take wellness very seriously as a leader in healthcare, and I try to lead by example.”