Temple University Hospital CEO Talks U.S. Healthcare Reform with Arcadia Students

By Purnell T. Cropper | February 15, 2013

Photography KARA WRIGHT ’14

John Kastanis, FACHE, President and Chief Executive Officer of Temple University Hospital, spoke to Health Administration and Business Administration students, faculty, and staff on Jan. 31. His presentation, “Healthcare Reform and Health Systems in the Current Era,” addressed pressing healthcare issues in the U.S., including the need to make the nation’s healthcare system more efficient, effective, and affordable, and the need for hospitals to focus on core strategies and patient-centered care, a concept he described as a patient-centered approach for healthcare delivery and continually finding ways to improve the experience of patients.


“Our current healthcare system is unsustainable, and there is an urgent need to redesign it,” Kastanis said. He continued to describe how the industry is losing doctors, while medical schools and residencies are struggling to find the resources to accommodate more. He explained that the call to expand health insurance is often misguided, as expansion alone will not fix cost and access issues or matters of quality. As it stands, spending put into healthcare does not effectively return value.

Kastanis argued that the health care industry must shift its focus to become more value-based, recognizing that “more care is not always better care.” He emphasized the need for prevention in order to be most cost effective and keep the population at its healthiest. Without venturing too far into politics, he shared his insight gleaned from personal experience.

“Achieving greater value means achieving better health outcomes per dollar spent. Note that value does not mean cheaper or less expensive, per se. Cost reduction without regard to the outcomes achieved is dangerous and self-defeating. Value in healthcare means outcomes relative to cost. It could mean curtailing services that do not improve outcomes, but could also mean spending more on some services in order to reduce the need for others. A value-based approach to healthcare shifts the focus away from volume-based consumption, and more care is always better care, an approach that is no longer sustainable.”

Kastanis’ lecture was the third in the series put together by the Arcadia University Healthcare Administration Student Society (AUHASS), the student chapter of the American College of Healthcare Executives, the professional association of the healthcare administration profession. A session with Mary Thomson, Vice President of Marketing for Abington Memorial Hospital kicked off the series last fall, followed by a panel of healthcare leaders from the Healthcare Leadership Network of the Delaware Valley.

Jackie Wickline ’13 and Timothy Burkhardt ’14 organized the event. “I emailed around 20 hospital executives, because I knew these lectures would be very beneficial for not only health care majors but also Business and Communication majors,” Wickline explained.

Robert Kieserman, Program Coordinator of the Health Administration program, offered his thoughts on necessity of these events: “Bringing speakers to campus to speak with our healthcare administration students and our pre-clinical career students is quite important so that students can hear firsthand what healthcare administrators actually do as well as the professional perspectives on the future of healthcare in the United States.”

Additional reporting by Diana Jones