KC Business Journal: New Children's Mercy CEO never forgets people behind the numbers
by Lily Lieberman
On Halloween, the day before Paul Kempinski officially stepped into his job as CEO of Children’s Mercy, he stopped by the hospital to greet patients and meet his new co-workers. He arrived in a Captain America costume.
It was fitting for an executive who is well aware of the serious, some would say heroic, mission of leading Children’s Mercy — but behind the title is about as unassuming a person as you’ll ever meet.
Kempinski has a huge job. Children’s Mercy, as an organization, had more than 15,000 inpatient admissions and 614,000 outpatient visits in its most recent fiscal year. It had revenue of $1.4 billion and provided an additional $141 million in uncompensated care. On top of that, Kempinski succeeds Randall O'Donnell, who led the organization for 25 years, and inherits a huge scale-up in research efforts.
But Kempinski never forgets that people are behind every number. On his actual first day as CEO, he took the dress code down a notch so patients and their families could speak to a person, not a suit.
“They operate as a business, but hospitals don’t manufacture a widget that rolls down an assembly line,” Kempinski said about his interest in hospital management. “They know what it costs. They price it out. People buy it. We’re caring for human lives, and in our case, we’re caring for children.”
Learn more about the Children's Research Institute at Children's Mercy Kansas City