BayCare CEO Inzina sees healthcare job growth ahead via its Urgent Care clinics

Tommy Inzina, a veteran executive with the Clearwater-based BayCare health system of area hospitals, was named CEO in May 2016.
[Handout photo]
Tommy Inzina, a veteran executive with the Clearwater-based BayCare health system of area hospitals, was named CEO in May 2016. [Handout photo]
Published Jan. 17, 2017

A quiet health care giant, second only to Publix in employee numbers across the Tampa Bay area, has grown to operate 15 hospitals across four counties. But BayCare health system CEO Tommy Inzina expects the Clearwater non-profit's strongest job growth in the near term to come via expanding its Urgent Care clinic network.

Now with 13 clinics, BayCare expects that number to grow to 18 in short order. Adding hospitals is a big and bureaucratic process. Growing clinics is not only more efficient but, in Inzina's words, provides health care services that are more convenient, accessible and affordable — for basic medical needs.

Inzina rattled off some big numbers as a reminder that BayCare is an economic player in the metro area. BayCare employs close to 27,000. Ranked against private companies based in the Tampa Bay market, it would be No. 1 by revenues. And its employee base would be larger than those of the top ten private companies here — combined. Among public companies, it would rank No. 7 in size based on annual revenues.

So there's good reason for BayCare to crow a bit after being excluded from traditional business rankings.

Inzina stopped by the Tampa Bay Times Tuesday with some of his senior executives to touch on some of the health care firm's hot topics in 2017. They range from which hospitals are trying to open trauma centers in this market to what might replace the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) now that the Republicans control both the House and Senate and President-elect Donald Trump gets sworn in this Friday.

Asked what might happen if as many as 18 million Americans lose their insurance if Obamacare is repealed, Inzina said BayCare has grown accustomed to dealing with dramatic changes in the health care market.

It's not as if it has a choice.

Inzina stepped in as BayCare CEO last May after former chief executive Steve Mason retired. Inzina earlier served as chief operating officer and was BayCare's first chief financial officer when it was formed in 1997.

Inzina sees Tampa Bay's health care industry, populated by more than 40 hospitals and a bevy of competing clinics, as relatively stable. Most hospital consolidation into larger chains is probably over for now, he suggests.

BayCare's web site features a table showing how ten of its hospitals fared in a recent national, standardized patient survey. Here's one question that helps capture the tone:

Percent of patients who gave their hospital a rating of 9 or 10 on a scale of 0 to 10.

Eight of the ten BayCare hospitals included in the survey ranked well above the 71 percent national average for hospitals.

All in all, a pretty good showing.

Contact Robert Trigaux at Follow @venturetampabay.