Interview with Director of Hospital Operations | OBHG

Every day, OBHG’s clinical and operational leadership teams support our hospitalists in their programs. The Medical Director of Operations, Regional Vice President of Operations, and Director of Hospital Operations work to help ensure that programs run smoothly and facilitate hospitalists’ success. One leader of these leaders is Kristen Fuentealba, Director of Hospital Operations over Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

The Director of Hospital Operations (DHO) works collaboratively with OBHG Medical Directors of Operations to oversee the operational management and oversight of OBHG’s hospitalist programs. Our DHOs visit program locations and focus on establishing professional relationships with the hospitalist team, hospital C-suite executives, and other hospital department personnel. A DHO also develops relationships with community providers and specialty physicians. The Director of Hospital Operations reports to the Regional Vice President of Operations.

How long have you worked with OBHG and how have you seen the organization evolve?

I’ve been with OBHG a little over three years. I came from EmCare, an emergency medicine company, in a similar role in program implementation and management in the rural health division. When I came to OBHG three years ago, it was a small business that was growing in leaps and bounds. Since then it has grown tremendously: with the addition of a new CEO, CFO, and COO – the company has almost doubled since I came on board.

What lessons has working in your current field taught you?

Working in operations and with many facets of the industry, I’ve learned to be patient and flexible. Also, to be very goal-oriented and have structure in my day, week, and year-keeping certain goals in mind.

What is the most important way that you think you can support our clinicians on the ground?

They’re the heart of the company and on the front lines. We’re nothing if we don’t have good physicians out there doing the actual work. I really value them and try to build a personal relationship with our clinicians, our MDOs, and Team Leads. Then to be accessible to them at all times; whether it’s help with the schedule or another issue. I want our Team Leads, MDOs, and clinician teams to feel like they can pick up the phone and call me anytime. And if I can’t help them, I can connect them with someone who can help.

As operators, we’ve been encouraged to have more involvement with the teams and Team Leads. I feel like we’re becoming more of the main point of contact for them and that’s a good thing because we not only represent OBHG, but we also work closely on the hospital side with administration, management, nurses-from program implementation all the way through managing. I can assist with day-to-day issues and management strategies or help work out a problem involving recruiting or contract negotiations.

What do you see on the horizon for our hospital partners as goals for the hospitalist program?

I think that hospitalists in general are becoming an important part of primary care. We’re the leading company in the OB Hospitalist industry and in the forefront of OB care. Our hospitals are coming to us to help them solve the problems that are national: shortage of OBs in the area, immediate care for mothers and babies, and saving the lives of moms and babies.

It’s amazing to hear the stories about how our clinicians make an impact on patients who show up because patients are immediately seen by a Board-Certified OB/GYN. I feel like we’re just scratching the surface in specializing in OB Hospitalist care; branching out into different programs like federally qualified health clinics and supporting Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialists.

How have you seen our clinicians address evolving needs?

Our physicians are really good at assessing the hospital’s needs and customizing our programs accordingly. Our Medical Directors are excellent at this and leading our Team Leads in doing this. They are leaders with a can-do attitude. I think we’re really good at meeting hospital needs.

What do you love the most about what you do?
I love the big picture. I love that we are elevating the standard of women’s [and babies’] healthcare. As the mom of two girls, it makes me feel secure that we have a program in my hometown. I’m thankful to be a part of an organization that has such a wonderful mission statement.

In day-to-day activity, I love to problem-solve with other people to help reach our company goals, have good outcomes for our programs, and help the hospitals reach their goals for their OB department.

What is a challenge for you in your work?

What is a challenge is also what I love about the job: working with many different people and a variety of departments. Because I work with so many different people and different departments, it’s sometimes like spinning plates. That’s the challenge: keeping the plates spinning.

Tell us about your background and family.

I was born in Pensacola, Florida, and live in a bedroom community where I went to school from kindergarten to high school. We have two daughters, Adriana and Antonia, and have been married to Marco for 24 years. One daughter is a sophomore in college and the other a senior in high school. I’m the oldest of eight kids. I love raising my kids in the community that I grew up in and we’re close to the beach, so that doesn’t hurt, either.

What are your hobbies outside of work?

I enjoy fitness and am a former spin and aerobics instructor. I love to run, too, and have run several half-marathons.

What would be your second career?

I love the outdoors and I like planting and gardening, so I’d probably be a landscaper.

What is something that people might not know about you?

I lived in Hawaii for a short time.

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