- The Washington Times - Monday, January 7, 2008

The growing number of aging baby boomers and slowing rate of youths entering the work force are two of the biggest issues facing hospitals today, according to local health care executive Kenneth Samet.

“Demand for home care for the elderly will increase,” said Mr. Samet, who was recently appointed president and chief executive officer of MedStar Health, a $3.1 billion nonprofit hospital network in Columbia, Md. “Far fewer young people are entering the work force and the health care field. This really creates a real challenge when looking over the 10-year horizon.”

Hospitals must adapt to the new reality by finding ways to provide more health care at home, he said.

MedStar operates seven hospitals, including three in the District: Georgetown University Hospital, Washington Hospital Center and the National Rehabilitation Center. Montgomery General Hospital in Olney also has plans to join the MedStar group of hospitals.

Innovation is the key to helping the estimated 1.1 million patients who now receive treatment in MedStar Health hospitals, Mr. Samet said.

“We must have the courage to innovate,” he said. “We must challenge the work that we have already done in the past, even the things that have worked, in order to find the future of health care.”

Before becoming MedStar Health’s CEO, Mr. Samet served as chairman of the American Hospital Association’s regional policy board. Before that, he was president of the Washington Hospital Center from 1990 to 2000. He now serves on the board of directors at Georgetown University.

“We are fortunate to have someone of his caliber and national stature within health care to ensure a seamless leadership transition, as well as to maintain our competitiveness in the marketplace,” said Dr. E.F. Shaw Wilgis, chairman of MedStar’s board of directors.

Mr. Samet was born in Virginia Beach and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Old Dominion University in 1980 and a master’s degree in health services administration from the University of Michigan in 1982.

He lives in Bethesda with his wife, Stacey, and two children.

Timothy Warren

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