Few industries anticipate as much upheaval over the next few years as health care, and Debbie Chandler, the chief executive of Colorado Springs Heath Partners, is set to lead the change, not react to it.
“I’ll admit what health care is going through is daunting, but it is very exciting, and I am enthusiastic about being involved in that change,” she said.
A health care administrator for more than 25 years, Chandler joined Colorado Spring Health Partners as chief executive officer in 2008. The nine-office medical practice has 625 employees, including 90 physicians, and serves more than 87,000 patients. Chandler was the CEO of Anchor Health Centers in her native Florida for ten-and-a-half years prior to joining CSHP.
Chandler is positioning CSHP to be a leader in addressing the industry changes. CSHP constructed a new 30,000-square-foot primary care facility. It relocated specialty physicians and other services to a single campus of over 80,000 square feet to centralize patient access. Chandler slashed the group’s expenses and improved profits, all while enhancing patient care.
Chandler strives to meet changing patient needs. Patients were complaining of sleep problems, so CSHP opened a sleep center. Chandler is making sure patient care is coordinated across health conditions and care givers so patients get safe, timely and effective treatment. That is sometimes difficult with today’s fragmented health care system. CSHP has gone digital, replacing paper charts with electronic health records.
Chandler’s preparation for her current challenges includes a masters in business administration from Rollins College and a bachelor of science degree from University of South Florida. She began her career on the clinical side, as a certified nuclear medicine technologist. Chandler says she does not miss patient care, because she interacts with patients all the time at a different level.
Chandler clearly believes part of the CEO’s job is to represent CSHP in the community. She volunteers with Junior Achievement and is chairman of the 2012 American Heart Association Heart Walk. She is on the boards of Colorado Springs Regional Economic Development Corp., the Chamber of Commerce, Community Health Partners, Pikes Peak Workforce and Southern Colorado American Heart Association.