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2023: A Year in Review with Mick Zdeblick, Community Memorial Healthcare President & CEO

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Community Memorial Healthcare President & CEO Mick Zdeblick is wrapping up his first year at our local health system, and he’s proud of everything that was accomplished in 2023. Zdeblick joined the Community Memorial team on January 9, 2023, and things got busy fast.

“It’s been an exciting first year,” said Zdeblick, who recently shared some key challenges and milestone accomplishments from his first year at the helm. “I’ve been getting to know the staff, walking the hallways, putting faces to names, and letting folks see who I am.”

When Zdeblick stepped into his new role last January, the health system was preparing to debut a new brand that had already been in the works since early 2022. Zdeblick helped launch Community Memorial Healthcare (formerly Community Memorial Health System), a new master brand that better reflects the organization’s mission and values as well as the breadth of services it provides across west Ventura County. The modernized brand includes a new logo, vibrant colors, and new names. It debuted on January 22, 2023.

“That was exciting, it’s a fresh look but also conveys the key message of ‘expect more,’ which I really like,” Zdeblick said. “We’re in healthcare because we want to provide the best care. We should expect more from ourselves and our caregivers.”

To that end, a leading achievement of 2023 was industry recognition for excellence in a series of highly coveted awards.

In July 2023, Community Memorial Hospital – Ventura earned a 5-star rating, the highest ranking possible, from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. This 5-star designation places Community Memorial among the top 15% of hospitals in the nation. It is also the only hospital in Ventura County to receive five stars. This was the first time Community Memorial Hospital – Ventura achieved a 5-star rating on this report. The new figures were based on data collected in 2021 and 2022, during the height of the pandemic and an especially stressful time for healthcare providers and hospital staff.

A few weeks later came more good news. Community Memorial Hospital – Ventura also earned the 2023 Outstanding Patient Experience Award from Healthgrades®, a leader in hospital transparency and research. The Healthgrades patient experience measures reveal how patients felt about the care they received at the hospital and are based on patient survey data. Community Memorial Hospital – Ventura also achieved four 5-star ratings in the areas of neurosciences, pulmonary, gastrointestinal, and critical care, from Healthgrades.

Zdeblick’s first year also brought financial challenges. By the end of 2022, Community Memorial had lost $38 million from operations, leading Zdeblick to focus on returning the health system to financial stability. Thus far, this effort has been successful. Community Memorial closed out 2023 at negative $16 million, reducing the deficit by $22 million.

This was accomplished by scrutinizing costs of all operations from staffing to programs, and collaborating with other local healthcare organizations where it made sense to maintain excellent clinical care. For example, Community Memorial Hospital and Ventura County Medical Center teamed up to best serve West Ventura County’s pediatric population by merging inpatient pediatrics. Community Memorial took into consideration that its inpatient pediatric unit often had only a few — if any — patients. The Community Memorial Emergency Department continues to treat children but transfers young patients who require hospitalization to other nearby hospitals if needed.

Zdeblick’s vision for Community Memorial’s future includes a continued commitment to excellence and financial stability. “We need to be able to make money to reinvest in our programs,” he noted. He also wants the health system to collaborate more with other entities like Ventura County Medical Center as well as physicians in medical specialties. “It’s the right thing for our patients. We want them to feel that if we can’t provide the best healthcare, we will find and connect them with the care they need.”

In 2023, Zdeblick also worked to help secure a new Electronic Medical Record (EMR) for Community Memorial’s network of hospitals and health center. The new EMR — which goes live in 2025 — will give physicians and patients greater access to health records. Records will be accessible to physicians across the state, and patients will be able to view their information on a secure portal from their cellphones. This also will help people manage their elderly parents’ or college students’ medical records, for example.

Lastly, Zdeblick shared that Community Memorial is growing its Patient Family Advisory Council — a program that really picked up steam in 2023. The goal of this program is to better gather and utilize feedback from patients and the community to improve the care Community Memorial provides. “We would love to hear your ideas,” he said.

For more information on everything Community Memorial accomplished in 2023, click here to view our bi-annual Report to the Community.