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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Mar. 9, 202105:10 AM EST

Hospital Trends: Ensuring a good experience at Ascension St. Vincent’s

Dr. Estrellita Redmon oversees nine hospitals and more than 100 other care sites in three states.
by: Monty Zickuhr Managing Editor

Each day when she goes to her office at Ascension St. Vincent’s in Riverside, Dr. Estrellita Redmon works to help the health care experience be the best possible for everyone involved.

As chief clinical officer for Ascension Florida and Gulf Coast since January, her territory comprises the nonprofit Catholic health care systems’ hospitals, outpatient clinics and post-acute facilities from Northeast Florida to the Panhandle and in 20 counties in Alabama and Mississippi.

Ascension Florida and Gulf Coast comprises Ascension St. Vincent’s based in Jacksonville, Ascension Sacred Heart based in Pensacola and Ascension Providence in Mobile, Alabama.

It operates nine hospitals and more than 100 other sites of care, employing 900 providers and more than 13,000 staff.

Its Riverside campus has the second-most number of hospital beds in Northeast Florida.

“I make sure the patient has a good experience and make sure our provider clinicians are having a good experience while trying to do that at a lower cost of care,” Redmon said.

“I enjoy the work. I never have a dull day.”

Redmon was born and raised in Tallahassee, in a home that valued education, so there was no doubt she would attend college. Her mother was an elementary school teacher, her father was an instructor and administrator at Tallahassee Community College.

A family tragedy when she was 11 years old led Redmon to her career in medicine.

“On Christmas Day, right after we opened gifts, my great-grandfather collapsed and died of a massive heart attack. That was so traumatic for me that it fashioned my desire to go into medicine,” she said.

The first step was a degree in pharmacy from Florida A&M University in 1981.

“It’s not the typical path, but I thought it would be a good background for medical school,” Redmon said.

After graduating from the University of Florida College of Medicine with her M.D. five years later, Redmon left her home state and practiced for nearly three years at the University of Virginia Affiliated Hospitals.

She returned to Florida in 1989 to become a primary care physician in West Palm Beach.

“I was seeing patients at a clinic that was always in the red. We took good care of our patients and they kept coming. We ended up making it profitable,” Redmon said.

She went home to Tallahassee in 1995 to join Capital Health Plan as a primary care physician. Redmon later was named associate medical director, and then medical director and vice president.

“It was the needs of the organization that pulled me to administration. I felt it was what I was called to do,” Redmon said.

“I needed the business background, so I got my MBA.”

Always looking for the next challenge, Redmon said she was “cruising LinkedIn” when she noticed that St. Vincent’s in Jacksonville was looking for a vice president of clinical integration.

“I interviewed and they hired me,” Redmon said.

She joined St. Vincent’s HealthCare in July 2014. In March 2016, she became president of St. Vincent’s Medical Group and clinical integration with responsibility for transitioning St. Vincent’s HealthCare to a regional clinically integrated system of care.

Redmon rose steadily in the organization and was appointed to her current post in January.

The challenge for Ascension and Redmon is how to transform value-based care in a fee-for-service environment while delivering high-quality care at an affordable cost, she said.

“Our mission is a commitment to the poor and vulnerable, based on our Catholic health care identity. We want to deliver health care that has equality and equity attached to it,” Redmon said.

Even with a job revolving around reports, spreadsheets and projections, Redmon maintains her commitment to patient care. She keeps her primary care skills sharp with Ascension St. Vincent’s Mobile Health Outreach Ministry that treats uninsured patients in Hastings.

“My first passion will always be patient care, even though I don’t do that much any more. I want to take care of the mother, the father, the grandmother, the grandfather. I want to wear a stethoscope around my neck,” Redmon said.

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