- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 29, 2003

James E. Richardson is swapping his role as a free-lance hospital administrator for a more permanent position as chief operating officer at George Washington University.

Mr. Richardson, 57, oversees the daily operations of about 860 physicians at the new, $96 million facility into which the hospital moved in August. He also checks the progress of clinical programs and makes sure the hospital is meeting its educational and clinical goals.

“Running a hospital is a lot like running several small businesses,” Mr. Richardson said. “My job is to help develop those businesses, integrate common goals and facilitate help to meet those goals.”

Mr. Richardson has served as a transitional manager for hospitals nationwide for the past six years of his 20-year career as a hospital administrator. Previously, he was the chief executive officer of Park Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio, for a month.

Mr. Richardson replaces former COO Tom Moser, who recently accepted a position at Lakewood Ranch Medical Center in Florida. Both medical centers are owned and operated by Universal Health Services Inc., a Delaware hospital management company, though GW Hospital is a partnership between Universal and the George Washington University.

He has spent his first month on the job exploring issues affecting the 2,697-member staff and learning how the hospital operates, Mr. Richardson said.

“I’ve seen different situations at hospitals I’ve worked with, but all of them are the same when I first arrive because the goals are essentially the same,” he said.

The first three months of Mr. Richardson’s work at GW Hospital will be a learning phase, in which he plans to study ways to assist the hospital’s transition to its 400,000-square-foot facility across the street from the old building.

CEO Dan McLean said he picked Mr. Richardson for the position because of his success with turnaround projects at other hospitals changing owners or relocating headquarters.

“Jim has a great deal of experience on the CEO and COO level, and he’s already shown a lot of turnaround here by getting certain projects in motion,” Mr. McLean said.

While he prefers free-lancing, Mr. Richardson said he plans to make his job more permanent at GW Hospital. “Or, at least as permanent as hospital administrators are in this business,” he added.

Mr. Richardson is relocating from Dallas to the Washington area with his wife, JoAnne.

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