Riverside Health System has named Riverside Medical Group’s new president and chief medical officer.
He is Dr. Thomas Kayrouz.
Kayrouz, who has a career in pediatric critical care medicine and physician-led health care leadership, will oversee the health system’s more than 600 providers and 100 practice sites, Riverside announced this week.
“The future for Riverside Health System and Riverside Medical Group is not going to be the same as it is today, but I think it’s a bright future,” Kayrouz said in a prepared statement. “I’m very hopeful and looking forward to building a superb medical group to serve the community.”
Prior to joining Riverside in June 2020, Kayrouz served as the executive vice president, chief physician executive, for AnMed Health, according to a news release from Riverside.
He also served as the chief medical officer for AnMed Health and Piedmont Health Partners, as a physician executive at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center, as the director of pediatric quality and Patient Outcomes at the Carilion Clinic Children’s Hospital in Roanoke, and in various director roles in pediatric critical care services at the hospitals and clinics where he built his medical career.
Kayrouz earned his undergraduate degree in chemistry at the Vanderbilt University College of Arts and Sciences in Nashville before moving on to the University of Louisville School of Medicine. He completed his residency, chief residency and critical care in pediatrics residency programs at the St. Louis Children’s Hospital at Washington University Medical Center.
“As much as I loved clinical medicine, and was 150% in all the way until the very last night I was on call, I realized I could have a broader impact in shaping service lines and health systems as a physician leader,” Kayrouz said.
Kayrouz was drawn to Riverside, he said, having been familiar with the health system during his time in clinical practice in Virginia and because “I knew it was a strong, independent, not-for-profit health system with a long tradition of providing community-based care.”
Joining Riverside during a pandemic, Kayrouz said, really proved he had made the right decision.
Riverside serves Williamsburg, Newport News, Hampton, the Eastern Shore and the Middle Peninsula.
“Crises can bring out the best in an organization or potentially the worst,” Kayrouz said. “What was clear to me was that it brought out the very best in Riverside, which really focused on its people. It’s people that will drive this organization, sustain this organization and differentiate this organization.”
Kayrouz noted Riverside’s decision to keep its team members “whole from top to bottom” during the pandemic and that decision being “demonstrative of the culture. It showed a commitment to people and a commitment to the long-term health of the organization and the community served,” according to the news release.
That leadership, he said, spilled out over all the other challenges that come with managing a health care organization during a pandemic. Riverside, for example, managed its supply chain in a way that, while other companies around the country were dealing with shortages of protection equipment, Riverside never did.
At the same time, Riverside continued to think about the future and work on development of enhanced system strategies to bring stronger health care solutions to the community.
“You can walk and chew gum at the same time,” Kayrouz said. “While COVID-19 took a great deal of focus, it wasn’t so distracting that we weren’t able to work on other future plans.”
Kayrouz plans to lead Riverside Medical Group to continue differentiating itself by providing exceptional service and convenience to patients.
“That may seem like a broad statement, but underneath it is a lot,” Kayrouz said. “It means we need to know and understand what’s important to patients and make sure we are providing care in the ways and places they are seeking care with us.”
That could mean, over the years, more locations, more providers, or more platforms to access health care, like video visits with providers.
“My comment to the medical group already has been that if you look at several market disrupters over the last decade – Amazon, AirBNB, Uber – their disruptions have always been about service, value and convenience to the customer,” Kayrouz said. “Heath care is not immune to that by any means.”
Kayrouz also plans to continue to position Riverside Medical Group as a destination employer.
“My true north is always how do we better serve our patients,” Kayrouz said. “Part of being able to serve our patients is creating an environment for our providers and team members to better serve each other.”
Kayrouz lives in Williamsburg with his wife, mother and their family of dogs who “entertain us on a daily basis.”
When he’s not working, he enjoys cycling and cooking, having come from a long line of restauranteurs.
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