IBJNews

2012 CFO OF THE YEAR: Thomas P. Fischer

Sam Stall
November 28, 2012
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Honoree, Not-For-Profit

Though Thomas P. Fischer’s office sits about a mile from the nearest hospital bed, he’s nevertheless been instrumental in improving medical care for thousands of people who likely don’t even know he exists. That’s because he’s CFO for Community Health Network, an integrated, not-for-profit healthcare system with more than 200 central Indiana care sites and affiliates.

A self-proclaimed “numbers guy,” Fischer uses his skill with a balance sheet to keep the constellation of medical facilities humming smoothly. “He draws great satisfaction from working essentially behind the scenes, doing his part to ensure that caregivers can give their best,” said Community CEO Bryan Mills. “It’s important to him that doctors, nurses and others are able to focus their attention solely on patients.”

thomas-fischer04-1col.jpg (IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

Age: 59

Family: wife Gayle; sons Michael, 32, and Nicholas, 30

Hometown: Jasper, Ind.

Education: undergraduate degree and MBA from Indiana University

Civic Involvement: United Way, Build 360; serves on several not-for-profit boards of several Community-related organizations

Hobbies: Caring for his 1894 Victorian home on Indianapolis' Old Northside; college sports, golf and small game hunting

What makes him such a rarity in health care is his previous work experience. Before launching his own advisory firm in 1994, he served as a health care investment banker for three firms in Chicago and New York between 1984 and 1994. Not surprisingly, this gives him a deep understanding of the capital markets’ workings.

Since he joined Community in 2005, the network has added new affiliations with Community Westview Hospital and Community Howard Regional Health, and a clinical collaboration with Johnson Memorial Hospital. The group also completed a more than $100 million expansion of Community Hospital South, added multiple new health pavilions across the region and is building a new rehabilitation hospital and cancer center.

All of this was done at a time when it was difficult to get money for pretty much any type of capital project. In 2009, when other health care providers around the state were abandoning construction projects in the face of the economic meltdown, Fischer obtained financing for the network’s Community South expansion from a local bank.

“We struggled in many of the same ways our customers did,” he said of the downturn. “We were fortunate in that our financial management style is not very ‘flamboyant.’ We try to stick to the basics, get them right, and remember why we are in business—to serve our customers.”

One of his biggest achievements was his work to improve Indiana’s disproportionate share hospital program, established to make sure Hoosier hospitals serving an unusually high share of the lowest-income patients get the money necessary to deliver that care.

Prior to Fischer’s improvements, the program sported what some called a “DSH cliff” that prevented many hospitals from obtaining adequate funding for their Medicaid patients. Fischer developed a “funding follows the patient” methodology, then worked with other hospitals, the state’s hospital association, legislators and state agencies to make the system more fair.

What does the future hold? “I believe the economy will get marginally better but am concerned by the unusually slow growth in good, middle class jobs here in Indiana and across the country,” Fischer said. “Community will continue to focus on its core operations, reducing its costs and being responsive to the needs of our customers.”•

___

Click here to return to the CFO of the Year landing page.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. JK, Thanks for your comments. I suppose your question of whether or not a more expensive but potentially better MRI quality is worth it depends upon whom you ask. If a radiologist misses a significant problem because of imaging quality issues, then maybe the extra cost would have been worth it. That is something a patient has to decide for him/herself. That being said, I too want more fair and competitive pricing and transparency from hospitals!

  2. Liberals do not understand that marriage is not about a law or a right ... it is a rite of religous faith. Liberals want "legal" recognition of their homosexual relationship ... which is OK by me ... but it will never be classified as a marriage because marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman. You can gain / obtain legal recognition / status ... but most people will not acknowledge that 2 people of the same sex are married. It's not really possible as long as marriage is defined as one man and one woman.

  3. That second phrase, "...nor make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunitites of citizens..." is the one. If you can't understand that you lack a fundamental understanding of the Constitution and I can't help you. You're blind with prejudice.

  4. Why do you conservatives always go to the marrying father/daughter, man/animal thing? And why should I keep my sexuality to myself? I see straights kissy facing in public all the time.

  5. I just read the XIV Amendment ... I read where no State shall deprive any person of life, liberty, or property ... nor make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunitites of citizens ... I didn't see anything in it regarding the re-definition of marriage.

ADVERTISEMENT