Rich Hastings, MHA 1977
President and CEO, St. Luke’s Health System
Malcolm Baldridge National Qualtiy Award Winner
Rich Hastings had an MBA and 8 years experience in the Air Force, including a Bronze Star, when he began the MHA program in 1975. “The MHA program really instilled in me the core values of healthcare, a connection to quality in caring for patients,” he said. “It keeps me grounded in what we’re here to do. Healthcare is big business, but we’re in the business of taking care of people.” Hastings’ leadership in quality management earned Saint Luke’s the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award in 2004, presented by the President of the United States in Washington, D.C.
The close camaraderie of the MHA classes surprised Hastings; it had not been his experience during his MBA program. Class relationships resulted in long-lasting alumni connections. Hastings’ hasn’t used the alumni job service—he’s been at Saint Luke’s his whole career—however the alumni network was vital in helping him grow within positions and move within the organization. “When you are part of an organization, you always have questions. For example, I can ask ‘how did you get an exceptionally low surgical infection rate?’ Whoever has the best practice will share how they got there and I can duplicate the success.”
He believes Minnesota grads have a distinct advantage. “Problem solving from Minnesota is unique even though other programs have emulated it. Healthcare fellows are really bright—they all have good backgrounds, abilities, and skills. But no one’s put it together like Minnesota—how to apply those components to solve a problem. I still use the same methods and problem solving skills—with new information and technology—because they are so effective.”
Hastings has a great deal of respect for the impact the Minnesota Program had on his career. “The Program sets people up to be successful.”