Front Line Reflections with Jeff Sollis, CEO

  • Date Submitted: Feb 15, 2024
  • Category: Staff Story

Q: So far, what is your impression of working with St. John’s Health Foundation?

A: It’s very much a team environment. While the foundation is a different organization, it’s intertwined with St. John’s Health. They’re essentially my business partner in a lot of ways. When I meet people and they find out what my role is, they want to talk about it and share their positive experiences at St. John’s Health and St. John’s Health Foundation with me. It’s a privilege to be in a role where I’m representing two great organizations. I feel blessed.

Q: What has it been like getting to know the Jackson Hole community?

A: I’ve known Jackson from a short distance, having lived in Idaho Falls for almost ten years, but I didn’t truly know Jackson until I took this job. People here are very engaged in their community — more so than any other place that I’ve lived. People that live here know this place is special, and they know the hospital is special, as well. The same mentality that is committed to preserving and protecting this land applies to the hospital: a real sense of ownership. It’s been awesome to observe.

Q: In terms of your strategic plan, what are the key elements?

A: We need to continue to focus on driving quality; making sure that systems are efficient and patients have good access to services. St. John’s is always going to have to lean on its greatest asset: its people. We need to make sure we’re strengthening and supporting our workforce. That includes things like housing, but also making sure we have appropriate educational and

professional development resources for them to thrive in their positions and careers. On the physician front, we need to do all we can to prevent burnout, which is a common scenario these

days in medicine. Lastly, taking what we do well and doing it even better, while broadening the scope of services that we have — specifically in the outpatient specialty care arena.

Q: How does housing fit into those goals?

A: It’s a focal point of our strategic plan and key component in supporting our workforce. We know that we can’t house every single one of our employees, but we’re committed to looking for opportunities to expand workforce housing. The first priority is the Hitching Post, which will add more units in a single project than we’ve ever seen at St. John’s. St. John’s Health Foundation and local philanthropy will be part of helping us to achieve that goal.

Q: How does being CEO at St. John’s compare to your previous roles?

A: Many people that live in our area could not live here without access to the health services we offer at St. John’s Health. I have the privilege of hearing praise and genuine appreciation for St. John’s Health from our community members on a regular basis. We are so fortunate that we live in a place where the community understands the necessity for high quality healthcare and how it integrates into daily life. We’re also uniquely sophisticated for a rural hospital. Above all else, I’ve never been in a hospital where the majority of people are genuinely appreciative of the health care they receive — and not by a little bit. Our patients’ objective feedback consistently places St. John’s Health above the 90th percentile in patient satisfaction scores nationwide. This kind of consistent performance is a huge credit to the amazing team I get to work with every day.

Q: Professionally speaking, what has been your greatest achievement?

A: What I have accomplished in other places — and will be striving to accomplish here at St. John’s — is building a strong and healthy culture. That’s challenging when you work with hundreds of people in a high stakes environment. I am committed to building a culture where people feel safe, where they feel heard, where they enjoy coming to work, and are proud of the work they’re doing. I believe achieving such a culture starts with me, my values, and my example. Health care is absolutely a stressful environment.

Q: How do you take care of yourself?

A: I definitely need time outdoors. While I love to be around people, I need quieter time to recharge. I love to fly fish; that’s a huge stress reliever for me. When you fly fish, you must be present; you have to be totally engaged.