MU Health Care hears candidate

Executive director applicant says he would be reluctant to cut the budget more.
Sunday, January 25, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 1:12 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 2, 2008

When the Hunter Group took control of University of Missouri Health Care in September 2002, it was understood from the beginning that it was only a temporary situation, that when University Hospital was financially stable, the Florida-based management company would step aside.

MU Health Care saw a profit of $8.4 million last fiscal year, so the time might be nearing to turn control back over to University administration.

Gerald Maier, a candidate for executive director of MU Health Care, spoke to a forum of MU Health Care staff on Friday.  The chief executive officer of Oklahoma University’s medical center stressed his commitment to service and quality improvement and his desire to make a difference for the future of medicine.

“I would like to be in a place that is a leader rather than a follower; I see some things in this system that have that potential,” Maier said when asked what draws him to MU.

Maier said that his commitment to service began when he was young, while he was working at his father’s Chicago newspaper stand, a golf course and a grocery store. It has continued through his life in positions at the Medical College of Virginia, East Tennessee State and Oklahoma University.  Maier added that his philosophy is especially applicable at a hospital because that is when people are sick and when they need good service more than ever.

Maier described himself as forward-thinking, aggressive and target-oriented. When asked about money issues, such as support of specific programs and additional cost-cutting measures, Maier was vague but expressed a reluctance to tighten the MU Health Care budget any more than it has already been tightened.

“There is only so much cost that one can cut before you wind up hitting the bone,” Maier said.

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