Narvet about numbers in health care

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Tracy Narvet considers herself a Colorado native, having been born in Fort Collins. But she did take a bit of a detour when her family relocated to Ohio, where she grew up.

Narvet graduated from Youngstown State University in Youngstown, Ohio, with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, and went on to work in accounting and auditing in Cleveland for Deloitte and Touche.

She transfered to Deloitte and Touche’s Colorado Springs office in 1994, where her main clients were in the health care industry.

She then worked for UCHealth Memorial (previously known as Memorial Health System) from 1995 to 2014.

She became a partner in her own company, NSide Consulting, in 2014. She is still involved, although less so, and mostly worked with health care and nonprofit clients — one of which was Peak Vista Community Health Centers, where she became chief financial officer in October.

“I was working with [Peak Vista] as a client, and then I was convinced to stay as CFO, and part of the reason I decided to stay was because I really liked the culture and people here at Peak Vista,” Narvet said.

Can you describe your role? 

The chief financial officer basically provides the financial guidance and is responsible for all the finances within Peak Vista — so the budgeting, some of the strategic planning and obviously the financial statements. … Some departments report directly to the CFO — whole revenue cycle areas, information technology, as well as all the finance areas.

What is your leadership style?

I think it’s inclusive. It’s a team approach with my departments as well as everybody else. You always end up with a better idea when you have 10 people contributing and deciding on an idea than just one person dictating. When I was back at Memorial, one of my staff members described it as, ‘Whoever has best idea is in charge of that project.’ So [my style is] giving people the opportunity to take charge when they can, getting everyone’s input and everyone involved in decisions … to make it happen.

What do you like about working in health care? 

In finance you tend to be removed from operations, so it’s easy to get stuck in the numbers. It’s much more fun and much more meaningful to work for a company where you care about what they’re doing, and health care and not-for-profits are both like that. It’s very difficult to really get excited about the numbers and such when you’re making widgets and it really doesn’t matter.

What challenges come with working in health care? 

The biggest [challenge] in health care in general that I’ve found … is the uncertainty. There’s so much uncertainty as far as the government, the funding, the payment structure — everything. With so much uncertainty, it’s difficult to plan strategically when everything changes regularly. You have to bring it back to focusing on providing exceptional care as efficiently and effectively as possible so you can adapt quickly to the changes. That’s probably the biggest challenge. … I [also] think, down the road, we’re going to start seeing [difficulty] finding qualified [workers] as the Baby Boomers retire. I think you’re going to start seeing some of that in health care; you’re seeing it in some areas already. You’re even seeing it in some of the accounting degrees now. It’s hard to find to find accountants a lot of times.

What has helped you the most in your career?

I’ve been lucky. I’ve had a lot of good role models I’ve been able to work with and observe. Besides advice, just watching how they treat people, how they work with people, how they present themselves. You learn a lot from watching people and working with people you respect. One time one of my coworkers made a comment when we were at the hospital, that all that really mattered in life was people. That kind of hit home. … I’ve stayed in my career because of that.