Injury ignites interest in health care
For David Golda, the administrator of St. Charles Madras, a high school football injury provided the spark that ignited his interest in the field of health care.
"I got exposed to physical therapy as a high school student when I had a knee injury from playing football at LaSalle High School, and I decided I wanted to do that," said Golda. "In college, it drove the focus of my studies from day one. All of the course work is very dictated by what you want to apply to."
Golda, 43, who has served as the hospital's administrator since May, grew up in Gresham, and earned a bachelor's degree in science, with an emphasis in biology, from Oregon State University in 1998. After earning a master's degree in physical therapy at Regis University, in Denver, Colorado, in December 2000, he returned to Portland, where he started working as a therapist at Providence Health and Services outpatient clinic in 2001.
For the next decade, he worked as a physical therapist, until 2011, when he transitioned into a leadership role as supervisor of outpatient physical therapy.
"As a physical therapist, you continue to want to grow and develop, and I felt like I wanted new challenges beyond the everyday challenges of patient care, and leadership would provide me those opportunities," said Golda.
Over the next two years, he worked full time, while also earning a second master's degree — in health care administration — through the University of Washington. Golda took online courses and spent certain weekends on the Seattle campus to complete the course work.
When he earned the second degree in 2013, he was promoted to the position of manager of rehabilitation services, but that was short-lived. Three months later, he became the director of operations for occupational medicine for Providence's statewide program.
"I was there until I came to St. Charles in April 2017," said Golda, who had already moved his family to Bend a year and a half earlier, and had been commuting to the job in Portland.
After living in the sunshine of Colorado, Golda explained, he wanted to make his home in a location where, "you can see the sun."
Until May, Golda served as the operations director for both the Madras and Prineville St. Charles campuses. When the former president of the two hospitals, John White, left that position, Golda said the St. Charles Health System determined that it would be more effective to once again have a separate administrator for each hospital.
"They made the switch to having a vice president at each location," said Golda, noting that Todd Shields is the vice president/administrator at St. Charles Prineville.
At St. Charles Madras, Golda sees opportunities for improvement. "The big opportunities we have are in and around trying to strive for our True North goals," he said.
Those goals are 100% staff engagement; zero harm to patients; zero admissions for ambulatory sensitive conditions; 100% clinic patient and inpatient satisfaction; zero waiting time; and reduction in costs for patients.
St. Charles Health System follows the Lean principles which were first implement in the automotive industry. On the system's website, CEO Joe Sluka explains, "As a management philosophy, Lean empowers frontline workers to improve performance. It flips the organization upside down, putting the people closest to the patient at the top and the CEO and board at the bottom to set direction, support the frontline and remove obstacles to their work."
Golda enthusiastically supports those principles, which stress first becoming competent "and then becoming great at our daily management system."
"We have amazing caregivers who are truly committed to Madras and the surrounding communities," he said. "They are experts in the care they provide; they're kind, they're compassionate and they go above and beyond to serve our community."
Golda and his wife, Stephanie, who works for a Bend mortgage company, have a son, Cooper, 13, and a daughter, Finnley, 10, who attend school in Bend.
"Ever since coming back from Denver, we wanted to live somewhere close to our families, but where you could have access to sun year-round," he said.
"As a kid, we used to vacation in Central Oregon at the Cove Palisades and Sunriver," said Golda. "We finally just made a decision to make a leap."
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