IBJNews

2010 WOMAN OF INFLUENCE: Dr. Lisa E. Harris

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

CEO and Medical Director, Wishard Health Services

Sphere of Influence: Harris oversees the sprawling Wishard system, which includes more than 1,000 physicians and provides health care to almost two-thirds of Marion County’s uninsured. It is America’s third-largest safety net health care system, with more than 1.2 million outpatient visits each year. Roughly half of Indiana’s physicians receive training at Wishard.
 

Harris (IBJ Photo/ Eric Learned)

At a time when securing funding for big public projects was both controversial and problematic, Dr. Lisa E. Harris, CEO and Medical Director, Wishard Health Services, managed to pull off a miracle of sorts. When a plan to issue the tens of millions in taxpayer-backed debt necessary to build a new Wishard Hospital was placed on the ballot last year, the measure received a breathtaking 85 percent “yes” vote. In 33 of Marion County’s precincts, no opposing votes were cast at all.

How did it happen? Attribute much of it to Harris’ ability to run a tight ship, both fiscally and administratively. When she became CEO in 2004, Wishard struggled with a nearly $77 million deficit. Today the budget is balanced and the system has reduced its reliance on property tax dollars by two-thirds since 2004.

When the time came to garner funds and support for a new hospital, Harris, 53, and her associates built a coalition of politicians and business leaders to back the bond issues needed to make the $754 million project a reality. Harris even attended some 200 community meetings in the run-up to the vote. And it didn’t hurt that Wishard’s parent organization, Health and Hospital Corp. of Marion County, banked some $150 million to apply to the project and is working to raise another $50 million from private donors.

Building a new hospital from the ground up on West Michigan Street is both a dream and a nightmare. For instance, Wishard’s resources include one of only two Adult Level 1 Trauma Centers in Indiana, the region’s only adult burn center, the state’s busiest emergency department and Indiana’s only psychiatric emergency department. All of these must make a seamless transition from the old digs to the new.

Not surprisingly, Harris prefers to concentrate on the “dream” aspects of what promises to be an epic transition. “Building from the ground up while remaining fully functional in our current facilities allows us to provide uninterrupted services through ‘moving day,’ sometime in December of 2013,” she said. “It’s critically important for a hospital that consistently operates at greater than 95 percent occupancy.”

Though transitioning to the new Wishard is at the top of her “to do” list, Harris said she can’t afford to take her eye off other issues of vital importance. “While we’re obviously pouring a great deal of energy into building entirely new hospital facilities from the ground up, we will need to maintain our focus on primary care and prevention as we know that our biggest opportunity to impact the health of our community is to help people stay well in the first place,” she said. Those efforts include building, in collaboration with the IU School of Medicine and the IU School of Dentistry, a new primary care site to offer diagnostic testing and physical therapy, plus serve as a training hub for primary care physicians.

Wishard will also continue its more than four-decade partnership with the Regenstrief Institute, a private, not-for-profit, IU School of Medicine-affiliated research organization heavily involved in medical informatics. “This relationship has produced, among many other things, the foundation for electronic medical record systems in use today around the globe,” Harris said. “We will continue to push the envelope on this innovation and use our groundbreaking work to respond ten-fold to the challenges not only before us, but before health care organizations worldwide.”

When she isn’t on the job, Harris enjoys being active and outdoors—which usually means taking a run with her dogs. Her husband is Greg Kelleher.
___

Click here to return to the Women of Influence 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. If what you stated is true, then this article is entirely inaccurate. "State sells bonds" is same as "State borrows money". Supposedly the company will "pay for them". But since we are paying the company, we are still paying for this road with borrowed money, even though the state has $2 billion in the bank.

  2. Andrew hit the nail on the head. AMTRAK provides terrible service and that is why the state has found a contractor to improve the service. More trips, on-time performance, better times, cleanliness and adequate or better restrooms. WI-FI and food service will also be provided. Transit from outlying areas will also be provided. I wouldn't take it the way it is but with the above services and marketing of the service,ridership will improve and more folks will explore Indy and may even want to move here.

  3. They could take the property using eminent domain and save money by not paying the church or building a soccer field and a new driveway. Ctrwd has monthly meetings open to all customers of the district. The meetings are listed and if the customers really cared that much they would show. Ctrwd works hard in every way they can to make sure the customer is put first. Overflows damage the surrounding environment and cost a lot of money every year. There have been many upgrades done through the years to help not send flow to Carmel. Even with the upgrades ctrwd cannot always keep up. I understand how a storage tank could be an eye sore, but has anyone thought to look at other lift stations or storage tanks. Most lift stations are right in the middle of neighborhoods. Some close to schools and soccer fields, and some right in back yards, or at least next to a back yard. We all have to work together to come up with a proper solution. The proposed solution by ctrwd is the best one offered so far.

  4. Fox has comments from several people that seem to have some inside information. I would refer to their website. Changed my whole opionion of this story.

  5. This place is great! I'm piggy backing and saying the Cobb salad is great. But the ribs are awesome. $6.49 for ribs and 2 sides?! They're delicious. If you work downtown, head over there.

ADVERTISEMENT