Mapping his journey to New Orleans
Thomas, a Vermont native, started his career as an auditor at consulting firm Ernst & Young. Many of his clients were in the healthcare ecosytem, including community and tertiary hospitals, physician groups, and healthcare systems throughout New England. That’s what drove his decision to work at Nashua-based Southern New Hampshire Health, where he rose through the leadership ranks as controller/director of finance; interim chief financial officer; president of Foundation Medical Partners, Inc, a medical group practice that’s part of Southern New Hampshire Health; and vice president of managed care and network development.
One of his successes at Southern New Hampshire Health was the expansion of a multi-specialty physician group to nearly 100 providers in six years; the physician group included 20 locations, 200 staff employees, and more than $30 million in net revenue.
In fact, Thomas hadn’t visited the Bayou State until he interviewed for a job at Ochsner Health System. An ongoing thread in his career—and one that carries through his current role as a health system president and CEO—is his belief that healthcare is about helping people improve their lives.
In his capacity as Ochsner Health System’s president and CEO, Thomas is responsible for strategy, operations, and growth. Due to his efforts, the health system has expanded across Louisiana and the Gulf South. He’ll continue to have his work cut out for him; patient-centered technology will be pivotal to bringing advanced care closer to patients’ homes, which is important in a state where 750,000 residents live in rural areas.
What helps keep him focused during the inevitably stressful days of running a health system? Daily exercise, such as swimming. “Exercise is a critical part of my routine. It helps me stay sharp and is a great stress reliever,” says Thomas, who has participated in triathlons and Ironman competitions. “To keep an active mind, you have to keep an active body.”
Aine Cryts is a writer based in Boston.