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Randy Bury on Coming up Through the Ranks and Rounding Out his Career at Good Sam

Mar 01, 2019 08:06AM ● By MED Editor

Randy Bury likes to laugh that he’s made only one move in his live - from his hometown of Webster, South Dakota to Sioux Falls, where he has lived since he enrolled at Augustana to study healthcare administration.

In fact, Bury has made quite a few vertical moves, from his first days as an intern at the then Sioux Valley Hospital.

“It was 1981 and I needed an internship, so I walked up the street to Sioux Valley. My car was unreliable. So I walked into the HR department cold and just told them I could use an internship in the Spring. They said ‘Come back after Christmas break and we’ll figure something out.’”

“So, January 3, I showed up at Sioux Valley and they were like, ok you’re here. It was kind of a make it up as you go kind of thing. It was like ‘Randy what do you want to learn?’”

After his internship, Busy got a summer job at Sioux Falls in Admissions. That fall, the assistant director of admissions left and Bury took his place. Eventually, he became Director of Admissions.

They said, why don’t you just take a summer job in Admissions. I registered patients, that’s what I did that first summer.

“Then I just started added departments,” says Bury. He moved into an executive management role with half a dozen departments reporting to him.

When Sioux Valley became Sanford Health, Bury was invited by Becky Nelson, with whom he had worked since his early days, to be COO for the Sioux Falls hospital campus

After about 5 years, he became VP of Health Services, a position he held until he became Chief Administrative Officer.

Bury says that position - and the experiences leading up to it - helped prepare him for his newest role as President of the Good Samaritan Society, after its merger with Sanford.

“I got to go out and meet with the presidents of the various markets. What I’ve learned is that you really need people working hard at integrating. That’s where you get the benefits of coming together. So on the health services side, I helped lead integration to really maximize the benefit of our being one organization.”

“I have been in a lot of meetings with other health systems. As we have had some of those meetings, we describe our health systems to each other. One thing I’ve discovered, when it comes to Sanford, is that we work to be an integrated, coordinating system. We want the physicians to always feel like they’re part of one Sanford clinic. We work hard to behave that way. Not all systems work this way. We really try to maximize efficiency by standardizing everything.”

And the Good Samaritan connection? Bury’s wife, Sonja, worked for there for 22 years. Bury says just attending the Christmas parties for all those years gave him some unique insights into the organization.

“Good Samaritan is fundamentally different that any other combination we have been a part of. While it is still about healthcare and serving people, it is unique and it is made up of several different kinds of businesses. So, this isn’t just Sanford getting bigger in acute care. This is Sanford adding a whole new division to its company,” says Bury.

With the addition of Good Sam, Sanford now has more than 24 long-term care facilities.

“Good Sam just continues Sanford’s philosophy of integration. That is where the world is going. We integrated the clinics, hospitals, etc. But what was at the end of the life continuum wasn’t really part of Sanford. Now, we are one of the few organizations with both acute care and long term care facilities. That is the direction that the world is going.”

“Now all we need to worry about is what level of service does this person need and where would they be best served? The incentives line up better when you’re all part of the same organization. So we are working on filling those gaps in care. We are in a position to manage that better than anyone.”

Bury says, while his long history at Sanford, has prepared him well for his new role, he also recognizes that there is also a lot to learn.

“I’m well versed in the acute care side, but this is a whole new language, a whole new set of regulations. It is definitely the most significant change I’ve had in 34 years. This is a whole different world for me.”

“I quit being the content expert a long time ago,” says Bury. “I’ve had practically every department in the medical center report to me, but what I know about surgery could fit in a thimble. You just have to surround yourself with content experts.

“I know who we needs to get in a room together to maximize the benefits of being together and make sure that two plus two equals five. There is a not a nook or cranny within Sanford that I’m not familiar with. I came up through the ranks. So I’m unique positioned to bring the organizations together quickly.”

“I say it would be foolish and presumptuous to say here’s what we need to change. So for the first 100 days, I’m doing a lot of meetings. We have a synergy process. Areas like HR, IT, and Finance. We need to get those folks meeting and talking about where are the opportunities to become more efficient as an organization.”  

“It will be a process and an evolution. But I think it’s a great way to round out my career.”

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