Hospital CEO worked his way to top job

By David Hotle, The JOURNAL


Many stories have been written about people who began their careers working for a business in the mail room and ended up becoming head of the company. For Todd Patterson, the newly hired chief executive officer of the Washington County Hospital and Clinics (WCHC), that is how he got his start.

Growing up in Bettendorf, he attended the University of Iowa after graduating from Bettendorf High School in 1992. He earned a degree in psychology and went on to earn a master?s degree in business administration. While working on his degree in psychology he began working in the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

?I started working here ... mail room type stuff, but then I gradually advanced to other kinds of roles,? Patterson said. ?I started working when I was 19 as an undergraduate student.?

Patterson recounted that he took the student job because he needed some money for his college years. He went on to begin working full time at the hospital while at the same time working toward his master?s degree. After earning the degree, he became department administrator for the ear, nose and throat department, where he served for eight years. He later became chief of staff and assistant dean of administration to the dean of the college of medicine. After about four years, he became the administrative director for the heart and vascular center. In 2014, he became the chief operating officer.

Last week, the WCHC board of trustees offered the vacant position of chief administrative officer to Patterson, which he accepted. He will begin in that role on April 1.

Looking back on his career, Patterson remembers 2001, when he determined that hospital administration was the job that suited him best, that he would pursue.

?I became the administrator for the ear, nose and throat department and I knew that was what I wanted to do,? he said. ?I loved the ability to have an impact on people?s lives. Not only patients lives, but also people who worked with me. I found it a very noble calling and loved doing it and seeing the impact you have on people on a daily basis.?

Patterson believes in a team-based collaborative approach to administrative positions. He said patient care is the most important aspect of the job. He currently works at the University of Iowa Physicians and said he believes patients are taken care of at a very high level. He also said that great care is rendered at WCHC and he looks forward to helping move the institution forward.

A member of the Washington community since 2005 and an avid coach and fan of youth sports, Patterson said he found out about the job opening from former CEO Dennis Hunger after he left the position. He knew Hunger and learned of the opening from him. Patterson applied and went through the search process.

Patterson also said he knew former CEO Don Patterson (no relation) during his term and they had done some work together.

As the incoming CEO, Patterson said he is really excited for the opportunity to work at a facility that is within walking distance of his home. He said he is thrilled to be selected and can?t wait to get started. he said he is grateful to the board for selecting him.

?I hope to bring a lot energy, a lot of innovation and a lot of collaboration,? he said. ?They have a great organization, it is a great asset tot he community and I am hoping to help them move those kind of things along.?