When Lorraine Lutton started as CEO of Mount Carmel Health System in early April, Ohio had just passed 100 deaths and 1,000 hospitalizations from Covid-19, and the region's hospitals were almost finished building a field hospital in the Greater Columbus Convention Center.
A lot had changed in the world in the month since she'd accepted the job.
But Mount Carmel proved it was up to the task, Lutton said, in the latest episode of Columbus Business First's Crisis Management podcast.
"We were quick to respond and put in place appropriate safety measures," Lutton said. "I think actually it helped us pull together as a team to understand that we can do remarkable things in remarkable times."
Mount Carmel was starting recovery from a devastating series of events in 2019 before the global pandemic piled on more financial damage to the entire healthcare industry.
Lutton was most recently head of a health system in South Carolina, where she'd led a financial turnaround.
Mount Carmel's challenges were what attracted her to the job, she said, and leadership within the system and parent Trinity Health already had made the necessary changes before she arrived. Her job now is rebuilding trust in the community.
"My career path has all been about quality," she said. "My first job in healthcare was as a quality service analyst.
"I think of quality as working with a team of people to change processes to improve the patient experience, clinical outcomes and cost effectiveness. So I think that I’ve always been that, ... with progressively more responsibility."