The Sky is the Limit with Harry Kraemer

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We recently started a guest speaker series at SunCloud Health. We open the doors to the community at large, and patients past and present, to host open discussions on topics connecting sustainable long term recovery with some of the practical challenges and opportunities many of our patients experience. At our kick-off event on March 9, I had the pleasure of introducing this series and our first speaker, the esteemed Harry Kraemer, former Chairman and CEO of Baxter Healthcare.

Here are the words and visuals that I shared with the group.

Hello. Welcome to SunCloud Health and the kickoff of our new speaker series titled, “The Sky is the Limit”.   For those of you who have been here before, welcome back.  And for those who have not been here before, welcome to our little corner of the world where we are creating a sacred healing place for humans who have eating disorders, addiction involving substance use, mood disorders and trauma. My name is David Newton.  I am one of the founders of SunCloud and my job is to direct the business office and operations here. I do pretty much everything that my wife (our CEO, Medical Director and fellow co-founder) and her amazing clinical team either don’t want to or don’t have the time to do.

Here at SunCloud we like to think of ourselves as progressive thinkers.  Clinically, Dr. Kim was one of the first in her field to recognize and treat the disease of eating disorders as an addiction, similar to how other addictions such as drug and alcohol and sex addiction are treated. We believe in treating the whole person, with an individualized, sophisticated and integrated treatment approach to people with co-occurring disorders. We are also big believers in what has become known as value based healthcare.  For those who don’t know what this is, Value-based healthcare is a healthcare delivery model in which providers, including hospitals and physicians, are paid based on patient health outcomes which is focused more on quality as opposed to fee-for-service healthcare. Under value-based care agreements, providers are rewarded for helping patients improve their health, reduce the effects and incidence of chronic disease, and live healthier lives in an evidence-based way.  At SCH, our vision is to move away from the fee-for-service model which provides incentives for providers who focus on quantity of services provided. We want, and we think our patients would agree, to provide more health, not more treatment. The value-based care way of delivering and paying for care meets that desire and serves as an alternative to the traditional and incredibly broken system of fee for service.  As a treatment center committed to being measured and reimbursed not based on the volume of services we provide but rather on the value that we provide (or don’t provide) to our patients and their families, we are always striving to improve health outcomes that matter to our patients without breaking the currently almost bankrupt healthcare bank….which is why we are here tonight.

Delivering healthcare to our patients is what we do here.  These are diseases of the brain and to treat them we must deliver the best possible care that we can.  We also know from the research and from our experience here that there are outside forces, referred to as Social Determinants of Health, which also have a large impact on health outcomes.  The World Health Organization defines Social Determinants of Health as, “the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age, and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life.”  For example, ones employment, or lack thereof, directly effects ones economic stability which in turn can effect ones sense of well-being or self-worth, and this can obviously have a direct effect on one’s health outcomes.  Therefore, as part of our patients’ treatment plans we not only focus on treating the medical and behavioral aspects of the disease but we are also incredibly mindful of these social detriments of health… because it all matters and it is all related.

Tonight we will hear from an incredibly successful man who lives his life according to 4 principles which are strikingly similar to the principles of 12 step recovery we practice in treatment and which we believe are essential to long term recovery.  We will listen to these similarities and hopefully be inspired and emboldened to use what we are learning in treatment and in recovery in our personal and professional lives.  If a guy like Harry Kraemer can lead one of the world’s largest companies guided by principles similar to the principles of the 12 steps, well, we should all be able to do the same!  On a personal note, there is another similarity that we will hear tonight- the similarity between the way Harry Kraemer leads companies and lives his life and the way, Dr. Kim, lives her life and leads this company.  Both put people above dollars, both place integrity and honesty above all else and both understand and are committed to the work and discipline required to take care of themselves so they can properly care for others.

Harry is probably best known for his time spent as Chairman and CEO of Baxter International, a 12 billion dollar global healthcare company.  Mr. Kraemer is active in business, education and civic affairs. He serves on the board of directors of Leidos Corporation, Sirona Dental Systems , VWR International, Sage Products Inc., and Catamaran Corporation and on the board of trustees of Northwestern University, The Conference Board, NorthShore University Healthsystem and the Archdiocese of Chicago Finance Committee and School Board.

He is a member of the Dean’s Global Advisory Board of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. He is a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and the Economics Club of Chicago. He is a past member of the Business Roundtable, the Business Council, and the Healthcare Leadership Council.

Mr. Kraemer graduated summa cum laude from Lawrence University of Wisconsin in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and economics. He received an MBA degree in finance and accounting from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in 1979 and is a certified public accountant. For his outstanding leadership and service, he received the 1996 Schaffner Award from the Kellogg School of Management. Harry enjoys jogging, tennis, skiing and reading, especially world civilization. Harry, his wife Julie, and their five children live in Wilmette, Illinois

Without further ado, allow me to introduce Harry Kraemer.

Here is a link to the slides from this presentation PDF.