Tim: Why did you originally chose to practice at Reston Hospital Center?
Dr. Fleeter: I came to the Reston community before there was a hospital. I soon realized that it was a growing area with a young population and a good place to live. I found it by luck. Certain things happen because you are in the right place at the right time. It helped that there were basically no orthopaedic surgeons in the Reston, Sterling, and Herndon areas. Sure has changed, hasn’t it?
Tim: What is the biggest difference between Reston Hospital Center then and now?
Dr. Fleeter: The quality of care has improved. We are so much better from start to finish. We have nursing specialist in total joints, inpatient hospitalists’ coverage, full-time radiologists and many other specialists. We offer a range of services that we couldn’t 25 years ago. We take care of medical challenges in the hospital now that were originally sent out. We have always maintained a community atompshere throughout the past 25 years. I know just about everyone I see in the hospital. Reston founder Robert E. Simon’s idea of live, work and play in the same community is still true. I feel like my grandfather in Ohio. I know everyone in town.
Tim: What are you most proud of?
Dr. Fleeter: I am most proud of the team we have put together. I have served in a lot of capacities at Reston Hospital Center and I am really proud of what we have collectively accomplished. So many people tied to our hospital have been named Best of Reston. The level of care provided at our hospital is second to none. Everyone in my family has utilized this hospital at some point and I never was worried about the quality of care they would receive.
Tim: A lot of people don’t have exposure to the hospital’s Board of Trustees? You were Chairman for a number of years, what would people be surprised to know about the Board?
Dr. Fleeter: A lot of people think of a Board as aloof or above everything. But our Board is comprised of the people who live around the corner from you. They are very involved and very representative of those constituents they serve. The community activitists have served in multiple other organizations and really take pride in the smallest details. The best managers get their hands dirty and our Board is like that.
Tim: You have seen a lot of leaders at Reston Hospital Center. What is your take away?Dr. Fleeter: When I look back, there is a good parallel between hospital administrators and medical staff leadership. With each leader there has been more involvement in the hospital and with our patients. Today there is a lot more interaction at the patient level and more opportunities for the hospital staff to really shine. We have evolved into visible leaders who are involved – not sitting in offices.
Tim: You were one of the people involved in my interview for the open CEO position two years ago. What was that process like for you?
Dr. Fleeter: The CEO selection process has changed. Corporations used to select CEOs and put them in at the hospital. Today, people probably don’t realize that a lot of people are involved in the process and share the ownership of the final selection. Each new leader today is more likely to be successful because there was a collaborative approach and they have ownership.
Tim: What is your take on the changes in healthcare?
Dr. Fleeter: My complaint about healthcare is not about the hospital as much as it is regarding the amount of regulation we are facing from the government and the insurance companies. It is getting in the way of patient care. We spend more time completing forms and it can cause us to lose sight of common sense. The doctors I work with and respect most really like their jobs, but we all agree that it has become overly burdensome.
Tim: What is your favorite memory of Reston Hospital Center?
Dr. Fleeter: Several years ago, a survivor from a Russian prison camp was dropped down a well and left to die. Somehow he escaped and came to Reston. He needed significant orthopaedic surgery related to the accident and had no means to pay for it. Everyone rose to the occasion and chipped in to help – from nursing, to pharmacy, food services, and orthopaedics. Every Christmas he sends me a note to acknowledge what was done.
Tim: A lot of people don’t know that you are a medical consultant to the US Figure Skating team. What is that all about and how good is your triple putts… I mean lutz?
Dr. Fleeter: (laughs) I can do a single axel and then fall on my butt. On an annual basis, I travel with the team all over the world. I think I have provided medical support in 15 countries and at local competitions. It is great to help the community and watch graceful skaters compete in places I wouldn’t otherwise have been, such as Bulgaria. Bill Adams (Former Reston Hospital Center CEO) was assigned to walk with one of the champion Russian skaters at the Verizon Center to make sure he didn’t cheat on his drug test.
Tim: That sounds like an assignment that I am glad I missed.