Dr. Scott Hayworth, president and CEO of CareMount Medical, has spent more than three decades in the health care industry. He joined CareMount in 1988 as an OB-GYN and has served as its CEO since 1996. Under Hayworth’s leadership, CareMount has expanded from 40 physicians to more than 500, and today operates 40 sites across the Hudson Valley. Here he talks with Business Journal reporter Aleesia Forni about his passion for medicine, his decades-long career and the future of the health care industry.
Did you always know you wanted to work in medicine?
“Yes, I knew at a very young age that I wanted to help and heal people. Medicine was a natural career choice for me. Delivering babies and caring for the health of others was extremely rewarding. Maintaining a full-time clinical practice in obstetrics and gynecology while serving as president and CEO of CareMount Medical for nearly 20 years was my life’s calling. I still serve as president and CEO, but I gave up clinical practice a few years ago.
“Personally, I knew I wanted to specialize in OB-GYN because I could combine my surgical skills with primary care. I took care of generations of patients, many of whom stayed with me throughout their lives.”
You’ve worked in the medical field for more than three decades. When looking back on your career, what have been some of the standout moments or highlights?
“Being an OB-GYN, you value each life you bring into this world, and each delivery is a meaningful event. But if I had to pinpoint specific career highlights, two stand out. The first is when I delivered four sets of healthy triplets in one year. The second was while I was a resident, I performed the first laparoscopic ectopic pregnancy surgery to take place at Mount Sinai Hospital.
“An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg implants and grows outside the uterus. This type of pregnancy can’t proceed normally. The fertilized egg can’t survive, and the growing tissue may cause life-threatening bleeding or be fatal if left untreated. As a resident just starting out in the field, this was an intricate, difficult surgery and a career highlight for me at the time.”
What about challenges? And how did you overcome those?
“My executive competencies are self-taught. I’ve had no formal business training and learned to be CEO on the job. It is my passion for the industry combined with my medical background that drives my vision to provide high-quality, patient-focused care. I work each and every day with teams of exceptional people, including the brightest physicians and providers to deliver quality health care to whole populations of people in the most cost-efficient way. Our motto, ‘Health care that revolves around you,’ helps me and our great employees focus on what’s important as we overcome challenges.”
What are some of the biggest hurdles facing the health care field today?
“Health care costs continue to increase, access to care is decreasing and recruiting quality physicians and health care providers is becoming more difficult each day. With that said, the cure for these hurdles is achieving what has become known as the ‘quadruple aim’ — improving the patient care experience, improving the health of populations, improving the work-life integration for health care providers — including physicians and staff — and reducing per-patient health care costs.
“Health care organizations have been forced to rethink their business models and work to eliminate waste while improving quality and efficiency. One of the ways CareMount Medical is re-engineering its business model is by shifting the focus from volume to value. Value-based care focuses on patient outcomes and improving quality of care based on specific measures, such as reducing hospital readmissions and improving preventative care.
“The opportunity exists to transform how health care is delivered to all populations, at all stages of life. To that end, we partner with many local hospitals and several other regional providers to seamlessly coordinate patient care. We also have strong affiliate partnerships with Massachusetts General Hospital, Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. CareMount Medical is always growing and we sustain that growth by partnering with like-minded facilities, providers, medical groups, and physicians.
“For CareMount, the goal is straightforward but ambitious — replace the nation’s reliance on fragmented, fee-for-service care with comprehensive, coordinated care. We are utilizing data to identify, drive and sustain quality performance, refining our patient experience, providing access using online engagement and mobile platforms, and investing significant resources to manage the health of populations.”
Can you talk a bit about how CareMount has expanded and transformed over the years?
“When I became CEO the group was strong clinically, but we were still developing as a business entity. Many of our information technology systems were antiquated. Budgets and financial forecasting were nonexistent. There was no formal human resources department, and our facilities were outdated. In addition, customer service was not tracked or analyzed. Yet patients came to us primarily because they loved their physicians.
“Recognizing this, I wanted to focus on the patient experience, because on a personal level I believe the way our patients experience their visit with us should be second to none. That’s why patient experience is measured every week at CareMount Medical.
“I also believe strongly in hiring and retaining the best and brightest physicians and employees. We have 184 top doctors ranked by (research firm) Castle Connolly, in addition to several more listed in U.S. News & World Report and other distinguished sources, including New York magazine.
“In the last 20 years, I’ve overseen the expansion of our group from 40 physicians to more than 560 physicians and advanced practice professionals. Today we represent more than 40 specialties, with a total employee base of over 3,000. We are in five counties, including Westchester, Putnam, Ulster, Columbia and Dutchess, and we serve more than 555,000 patients through our broad network of over 40 locations and eight urgent care centers.
“Furthermore, we’ve established strategic relationships with hospitals and providers. To keep ahead of technological advancements, we’ve implemented a number of critical information technology platforms through CareMount 24/7, such as virtual visits (telemedicine), online scheduling, patient portal, and pre-check-in, eliminating distance barriers and improving access to medical services in even the most remote communities. We are continuing to grow despite already being the largest, independent multi-specialty medical group in New York State.
Note: This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.