Alumni Spotlight on Theodore E. (Ted) Kleiter

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Alumni Spotlight on Theodore E. (Ted) Kleiter

Chair, Palomar Health’s Board of Directors

2011 CHA Leadership in Governance Award Recipient, California Hospital Association (CHA)
2011 Trustee of the Year Award, Association of California District Hospitals (ACHD)

Fundraising, planning and managing the logistics of opening a new hospital can be an overwhelming feat. Ted Kleiter, a member of BETA Healthcare Group’s (BETA) governing board, the BETA Council, has four such feats to his name. The opening of the Palomar Medical Center’s 740,000 square foot facility in August 2012 will be the biggest to date in his 35+ years in hospital administration.

“Each hospital opening and expansion is unique—different sizes, different timing, different execution of plans,” noted Kleiter. The opening of Palomar Medical Center is not only the biggest, but likely the most complex. Kleiter and team have truly created the hospital of the future: nurses and doctors with real-time, all-the-time access to patient medical records. Nurses no longer “stationed” in a central area on a floor; instead, each within eyesight of their patients. It’s been nearly eight years in the making, and with hundreds of experienced healthcare personnel involved during every phase has redefined the institution’s culture—and reaffirmed its commitment to total patient care.

Kleiter has been a member of the Palomar Health Board of Directors since 1996 and, along with other trustees, in 2004, voted to take the case for a new Palomar Medical Center to the citizens of the healthcare district. During his tenure, he has served as Board Chair and Vice Chair, as well as Chair and member of the Finance, Human Resources, Quality, Strategic Planning and Audit Committees. Before the official public opening of the new Palomar facility, Ted will take on an entirely new role—one of “Patient Ted.” He and other Palomar Health board members have generously agreed to serve as “model patients” during the final phase of logistics and patient management prep.

Kleiter’s connection to BETA dates back over 33 years when he was serving as Administrator/COO at Palomar Medical Center. At the time, there was not a separate risk financing program for district hospitals. “BETA was created as the answer to a market need—and has grown and evolved into a vibrant and successful organization.” Palomar Health served as one of the founding member district hospitals in 1979.

BETA’s focus on risk management is a key area that Kleiter sees as a point of market differentiation for the organization. “Risk management is the strongest part of BETA’s program. We provide more training and advice than any other hospital professional liability insurer. BETA has created programs designed to support facilities and teams of all sizes, proactively look at risk, find ways to mitigate it, and, above all, deliver higher quality care to all patients.” This approach, Kleiter notes, is in perfect alignment with Palomar Health’s patient care-first philosophy.

Always feisty (his email “handle” is SHOTGUNTED), Kleiter brings a unique perspective to BETA’s 15-person board as well as to Palomar Health’s leadership team. “I’ve broken my pick on a few things and have come to truly value the importance of each team member in the group’s overall dynamic and success.” With complex, ever-changing healthcare issues to tackle, Kleiter values the insights and perspectives from different vantage points. “With Palomar Health’s expansion, we’ve developed an entirely new culture. It has been an amazing process—one that I am proud to be a part of.” BETA Healthcare Group is, too.

Palomar Health is the largest California healthcare district serving communities in an 850-square-mile area and a trauma center that covers more than 2,200 square miles of South Riverside and North San Diego Counties.

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