Why Ken Samet Says MedStar Health is Disrupting Its Own Business

Bizbeat-on-Ken-Samet'Why Ken Samet says MedStar Health is disrupting its own business.' Washington Business Journal. By Tina Reed. 

In a Mitchellville strip mall with a grocery store and a McDonald's, a MedStar multispecialty clinic appears packed one recent weekday morning. The Prince George's County center is bustling, with patients there for everything from X-rays to primary-care appointments and follow-ups with cancer or surgical specialists.

Still, the manager on duty says it's been a slow day. This, says MedStar Health's CEO Ken Samet, is the picture of MedStar's future. Read more below or download the pdf here.

"We're disrupting the largest health care system in the region," Samet told me for this week's cover story. Samet began working on a new strategy shortly after being appointed CEO of the health system in 2008. He knew health care would undergo radical changes in the coming decade, driven by unsustainable growth in utilization and cost.

The system, even with its sizable hospital assets, could no longer focus on episodic acute care in an emergency room. By 2009 — at least a year before Democrats approved President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act — his team had created MedStar 2020.

Key to that plan: Shaking up its focus from its successful hospital business to a wide spiderweb of outpatient care with prime locations near shopping centers and Starbucks. Eight years in, the health system has grown its outpatient access points from 95 sites to more than 250 and has grown its revenue from $3.1 billion to $4.6 billion.

And ultimately, Samet said, it could help the region's employers rein in ever-escalating health care costs by leading the shifts brought on by health reform. "It's not a little experiment," he said. "It's serious enough we’re willing to disrupt our own business model.” For more, check out Friday's edition of the Washington Business Journal.

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