Alan B. Miller, Universal Health Services, Inc.

Alan B. Miller

Superior Quality Care

Editors’ Note

Alan B. Miller is the founder of Universal Health Services, Inc. He was named to the Forbes list of “America’s Most Innovative Leaders” in 2019. He began his career with Young & Rubicam.

Company Brief

Founded in 1979, Universal Health Services, Inc. (uhsinc.com) is one of the nation’s largest and most respected healthcare management companies, operating acute care hospitals, behavioral health facilities, and ambulatory care centers through its subsidiaries nationwide, as well as in Puerto Rico and the U.K. UHS subsidiaries have more than 87,000 employees. UHS maintains one of the strongest balance sheets and is rated amongst the highest in the hospital services industry by Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s.

Will you discuss the history and heritage of Universal Health Services?

Forty years ago, I founded Universal Health Services with six employees and one telephone. Along the way, through a combination of strategic acquisitions, establishment of new hospitals in key growth markets, and replacement of facilities previously owned by other less successful operators, we established ourselves and our reputation. Today, UHS is strong and continues on a steady and well-vetted growth path. We operate a broad portfolio comprising hospital-based care, ambulatory care, behavioral health, an insurance offering, a physician network and various related services.

How do you define Universal Health Services’ culture and values?

We established the company’s mission in 1979 with a particular focus on delivering superior care to patients. To this day, our mission remains an essential foundation of our company and guides us in delivering compassionate care to patients and families. As an organization, we believe we must keep healthcare personal. We always put patients first and at the heart of all the decisions we make. Our UHS Principles define who we are and what we do: we provide superior quality patient care; we value each member of our team and all their good work; we are committed to being a highly ethical healthcare provider: we are devoted to serving our local community.

Where do you see the greatest opportunities for growth for Universal Health Services?

Our strategy is to build or acquire hospitals and related healthcare delivery points in growth markets, invest in the people and equipment needed to allow each state-of-the-art facility to thrive, and become the leading healthcare provider in each community we serve. We have successfully done this in a number of key growth markets across the country.

We are strategic and selective about specifically where we invest our next dollar. Our consistent approach is to explore investments that will add value to patients and communities and which, when successful, will provide a high rate of return.

Current areas of significant opportunity include joint-venture partnerships with leading not-for-profits in which we are not only the majority investor, but also provide behavioral health clinical expertise. Additionally, as more healthcare encounters are possible in an ambulatory setting, we are investing in the continuum of care.

How critical is innovation to Universal Health Services’ success and where is innovation taking place inside the organization?

Innovation is critical in the healthcare industry. Today, UHS operates 27 acute care hospitals in various key markets across the U.S., including Las Vegas, Southern California, Texas, Florida and, of course, Washington D.C. where we operate The George Washington University Hospital, a high-profile institution which has long served dignitaries and heads of state, and continues to win awards. Our hospitals are augmented by a growing number of affiliated freestanding emergency departments, ambulatory surgery centers, and other point-of-care services. We are continuously investing in our hospitals to both expand the services we provide to the community and to utilize the most advanced medical equipment and care.

On the behavioral health side, we own and operate well over 300 behavioral health facilities – approximately two thirds of which are located in 37 U.S. states and Puerto Rico, and the remaining one third in the U.K. Behavioral health comprises inpatient psychiatric care, residential treatment centers, outpatient programs, and specialty programs such as eating disorders and substance use disorders. In addition, many of our behavioral health facilities operate dedicated services and programs to serve the mental health needs of active members of the U.S. armed services, veterans and their families.

How important is it for Universal Health Services’ to build a diverse and inclusive workforce?

One of the challenges we face and work hard to manage is attracting talent in today’s tight labor market. Across the healthcare industry, hospitals and all providers of care are facing a labor shortage with the U.S. experiencing the lowest unemployment rate in the last 15+ years.

Specifically, the labor market in nursing and psychiatry is tight and we do not foresee that changing in the near term. We are working hard at both recruiting and retaining nurses and psychiatrists, among other specialties. We value diversity of culture, diversity of background, and diversity of thought.

Creating inclusive, energizing workplace cultures is important, both for delivering the best care possible as well as creating a positive work environment. We want to hire the best talent and provide incentives to stay with us – meaningful work, mentoring programs, development programs and career progression opportunities. Having an excellent reputation and financial stability is vital to retaining the best talent at our facilities. We want to remain an employer of choice.

Are you able to take moments to reflect and appreciate what UHS has become?

I am certainly appreciative of the success we have achieved. I was an entrepreneur intent on doing meaningful work and making a difference. It is an honor to lead this very successful company and know that every day, we provide superior quality care, save lives, and help families.

UHS stands among the most respected providers of hospital and healthcare services in the world, leading the industry with its unique combination of quality patient care, financial stewardship and integrity. Growing steadily since its inception into an esteemed Fortune 500 corporation, UHS today has annual revenues approaching $12 billion with operations across the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.K., and served 2.6 million patients in 2018.

In 2019, UHS was again recognized as one of the World’s Most Admired Companies by Fortune. UHS has made the list every year since 2011. We are listed #293 on the Fortune 500, and in 2017 ranked #275 in Forbes inaugural ranking of America’s Top 500 Public Companies. Payscale/Business Insider named UHS as one of the 30 Most Meaningful Companies to Work for in America, based on the overwhelming number of our employees rating their work as having high job meaning.