New GMA chief: ‘We want to be affordable’ |

New GMA chief: ‘We want to be affordable’

Henry Garvin and Linda Carter discuss operations at Glenwood Medical Associations' Peak Performance facility.
Will Grandbois | Post Independent


Henry Garvin, Glenwood Medical Associates’ new CEO, is the guest speaker for Friday’s Glenwood Springs Rotary Club meeting. The club meets at 12:15 p.m. at Rivers restaurant, 2525 S. Grand Ave. Non-members may attend for the cost of lunch.

After two months as CEO of Glenwood Medical Associates, Henry Garvin is settling in.

He and his wife closed on a house just last week, and his kids will enroll in Glenwood Springs schools this fall.

Garvin, 46, started out as a hospital biller and collector in Texas. He liked the hospital environment but not the job, so at the CEO’s suggestion he went to graduate school for health care and business administration. He later worked for companies including Universal Health Services, QHR Consulting and Centura, and spent 12 years in the leadership of a hospital in Alamosa.

Before the GMA job opened up, Garvin had only driven through Glenwood Springs. He came out to interview and took the opportunity to talk to a few locals about their outlook on the independent practice near Valley View Hospital.

“One of the things that’s hard to do is change public opinion,” he observed. “One hundred percent of the people I talked to had only positive stuff to say about GMA.”

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Glenwood Medical has had its share of challenges, notably high turnover in the last year.

Although most of the positions have since been filled, the practice is still looking for a gastroenterologist, and Garvin got a look at the difficulty of recruiting staff from outside the Roaring Fork Valley.

“It’s hard because people come here and it’s hard to get a place to live,” he said. “On the flip side, a lot of people want to come to this area.”

Garvin doesn’t want to contribute to that high cost of living with expensive care.

“We want to be affordable,” he said. “There is this idea, which I believe is the right idea, that we pay too much for health care in this country.”

It’s not entirely in their control, with political and regulatory forces shifting the way doctors get paid. Garvin sees the medical community as having one foot on a dock and another in a boat. When the boat begins moving in a new direction — be it capitation, universal health coverage or something entirely different — he plans to be ready.

“We have to figure out how we do what we do as efficiently and as effectively as possible to be able to do well in the future market,” he said.

In the meantime, Garvin has been obliged to stamp out rumors of insolvency or impending purchase by another company.

“We’re fine,” he said. “We need to recruit, but the organization is financially viable.”

An anonymous employee survey is planned to help provide some insight into the subtler issues and opportunities before GMA.

“A challenge with any new job is just coming into the organization and understand what it’s gone through,” Garvin said. “Luckily, management isn’t rocket science. To me it’s just about listening to people and, where it’s possible, making things happen.”

“It’s really about the people — the staff and the patients,” he added. “What I saw in these folks is that they like this place. They have a real sense of caring for the organization and caring for the patients. You can do a lot with that.”

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