by Joseph H. RADDER
A striking metamorphosis has been under way at the Erie County Medical Center for some
time now. From its transition to a Public Benefit Corporation to the hiring of a new CEO,
Michael A. Young, this past December, ECMC is poised to accomplish great things for our
A lot of the changes which are partially the result of ECMC's change to a public benefit corporation are already in place. And Tom Quatroche is one of those people who typifies the new look.
Dr. Quatroche joined ECMC in March 2004 as Executive Director of Institutional Advancement. Under this umbrella title he has several areas of responsibility. He is a member of the hospital's executives management team, reporting directly to the Chief Executive Officer. He heads up all marketing, public relations, government relations, fundraising, and grant development. That includes all marketing research on which strategic planning and grant efforts are based.
Since taking on the job, Tom has made major contributions to the hospital's public image. For example, news coverage of hospital programs and services has doubled since Tom took over.
"We've been a full public benefit corporation since January 28, 2004," Tom explains "as of January 28, 2005, the corporation officially took over the assets of the county hospital and we were no longer a county entity."
"We will still get county subsidies," he says, "but the difference really is that we're no longer a department of the county. That's the main benefit. In other words, we're no longer part of a government beauracracy."
"We can now enter into partnerships with other private healthcare providers. In many cases, we were prohibited from doing this in the past. It enables us to be more flexible in the marketplace and react quicker. The ECMC board of directors is where the buck stops, while it used to be the County of Erie," Quatroche said, adding that separating the Hospital from the County has been talked about for years, going way back to the Rutkowski administration.
County subsidies continue, however? "Yes, this year we requested $29 million. But we hope to get that number down to zero."
Tom Quatroche's personal bio is also interesting. He plays golf when he has time, and prefers to play with his father when he has the opportunity. And his main personal focus right now is on his son, Maxwell, who was born in the Fall of 2004. Channel 2 viewers may remember that event. Tom's wife, Jodi Johnston, is the morning News anchor at WGRZ-TV.
He has also been a Councilman for the Town of Hamburg for twelve years. He was only 22 years old when he was elected, 23 when he took office. One of his main interests in town government is in youth and recreation. For example, he has been instrumental in improving and expanding Hamburg's Lake Erie waterfront. And he is a school board member at Immaculata Academy.
Tom is also a jazz drummer, taking after his grandfather who was a professional jazz drummer in a band out of Long Island called The Southampton Express.
Civic activity does not end with his service on the Town Board. He is also a member of the Lake Shore Lion's Club, and the Knights of Columbus.
Tom Quatroche was born in Buffalo on December 14, 1969. His father, Dr. Thomas Quatroche, Sr. also a PhD, was on the faculty and in the administration at Buff State for over thirty years. His mother, Marilyn Frost Quatroche, was head of the computer division at National Fuel for many years. Tom's brother, Matthew, is in Boston, where he pursues a career in sound engineering. Prior to joining ECMC, Tom was vice president of development for Canisius High School, vice president of institutional advancement for Niagara County Community College, and assistant to the president and director of marketing for Erie Community College.
He has a long list of awards and honors on his resume, but says, "My biggest award was being elected to the Town Board by the voters of Hamburg, particularly being re-elected his succesive terms."
Any conversation with Tom Quatroche keeps coming back to ECMC, an organization he is clearly proud to be part of. "We have more physicians here who teach at UB than at any other hospital. This really is a teaching hospital," he says proudly. And he sees much improvement in cooperation among the hospitals. "All the systems are working together in some capacity," he says. And he continues to work on improving ECMC's image. The perception in the past has been of the typical county hospital. Some of that perception still hangs on, and it's Tom Quatroche's job to change it by getting the truth out there about the excellence of medical care to be found at the Erie County Medical Center.
His take on greater Buffalo in general? He's optimistic, agreeing that we have so much potential here. He says "The key is to get people my age to stay here. I stay here because of the great people in this area. And that includes our families. The cost of living is amazingly low." He admits we have our problems, but believes we are on the right track in getting them solved.
Certainly bright young people like Tom Quatroche can be an important part of a great future for all of Western New York.
Joseph H. Radder, a frequent contributor to Living Prime Time, is author of the book, Young Jesus, the Missing Years. For more information, phone 1-888-280-7715 or visit www.1stbooks.com
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