Catherine Turbett, executive director of national performance operations, Steward Health Care Network, Dallas
Turbett, 33, began her career in practice operations, responsible for the patient experience and efficiency. She went on to work for Steward Health Care Network’s ACO, tasked with improving quality performance at point of care. She became responsible for organizational strategies and, in 2018, became executive director of national performance operations. She oversees a team of 300, who are focused on improving performance in Steward’s health plans and ACOs.
MHE: Why did you choose your profession?
Turbett: My mom spent years in and out of the healthcare system as a patient, so I became an expert in navigating its complexities and knowing good components of care when I saw them. When she waited weeks for necessary appointments, I realized that our healthcare system has challenges for everyday consumers. When I worked as the operations manager at a physical therapy practice, the owners became my mentors, leading me to the idea that there was more than one way to impact the continuum of care. They suggested I explore a master’s in healthcare administration.
MHE: What has been your biggest learning experience in the industry? What did it teach you?
Turbett: When I joined Steward Health Care, it had just begun working to improve how patients experienced care. I developed and implemented a strategy to improve our Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) performance. At the time, our ACO consisted of Medicare and commercial patients; our efforts improved performance from -0.7 to 2.0 in patient experience in three years, a 230% improvement in commercial patient experience scores. In 2017, we implemented a Medicaid ACO. When we received our baseline CAHPS performance, it became clear that this segment experiences care differently than others as it rated us 5% to 10% lower than Medicare and Commercial populations—even though we achieved national benchmarks in CAHPS for Medicaid populations. Therefore, our teams had to implement efforts in different ways than before.
MHE: What change would you like to see in healthcare in the next 5 to 10 years?
Turbett: I would like to see greater transparency on CAHPS and quality performance. Patients should have access to information in an easily consumable way to make decisions about where and from whom they receive care. This includes access to ratings regarding experience of care and quality. At Steward, we’re taking steps in this direction, asking for feedback and reporting quality across our organization.
MHE: If you could sit down to dinner with anyone involved in healthcare who would it be?
Turbett: Margaret Chan, former director-general of the World Health Organization, would be a fantastic date. I’d like to discuss her statements around universal coverage being a powerful equalizer and a concept that rules public health debates in the modern world.