John Couris, an experienced health care administrator named this week as the new president and chief executive of Tampa General Hospital, faces a challenging task in protecting and building a public safety net that is vital to the entire region. He will need to strengthen the business side in a fast-changing industry and preserve Tampa General’s history of quality care and service to the poor. Couris has demonstrated his commitment to these two often competing priorities. That balancing act will only get harder, but if Couris brings that same sense of mission to Tampa, the community will respond and TGH will get stronger.

Couris succeeds former CEO Jim Burkhart, who was pushed out by the hospital’s governing board in November over what Burkhart described as concerns about the hospital’s financial performance. While considered stable, its operating margins are thin and the hospital faces many threats in the evolving health care environment. As a stand-alone hospital, it must compete for business against larger, more integrated health care systems. Florida’s Republican governor and GOP-controlled Legislature refused to expand Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act. Lawmakers in Tallahassee and Washington are looking to cut more from Medicaid, and Congress is still pursuing the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which could result in millions of additional Americans without health insurance.

See original article: Tampa Bay Times