Board Member Spotlight – Meet Rick Markello

By | October 19, 2020

HFMA is pleased to bring you a new, recurring feature on the blog, the Board and Committee Member Spotlight. Below is an interview with one of our board members, Rick Markello, discussing his history and future with HFMA. Keep an eye out for more interviews coming regularly.

What was your first job and how did you end up with it?

    • [rm] After completing my MBA from Boston University, with a concentration in health care administration, I got my first paying job working in state government at the Department of Public Health and then the State Rate Setting Commission. These experiences allowed me to see a variety of health care problems in all sorts of health care organizations and taught me that when you have your hands on someone’s wallet, they pay attention. In response to criticism from the hospital industry that I was a governmental ivory tower idealist, I went to work at the old Boston City Hospital (BCH). While I was told that the biggest financial problem at BCH was patronage, it didn’t take long to figure out that a payer mix of 2% commercial insurance was the real problem. At the urging of David Rosenbloom, then Commissioner of Boston Health and Hospitals, I drafted legislation that became known as the Massachusetts Uncompensated Care Fund. While that legislation funnelled millions of dollars to BCH, its more lasting impact is that it became the financing mechanism facilitating Romneycare, otherwise known as universal healthcare in Massachusetts.

How has your time as an HFMA member benefitted you?

    • [rm] I have benefited from my time as an HFMA member in several ways, most notably the educational materials and seminars, the professional networking opportunities and the experience of working with colleagues on various committees.

What led you to become an HFMA Board Member and Committee Chair?

    • [rm] Currently, I am serving on my second stint as an HFMA Board member. I saw it as an opportunity to work with colleagues that I liked and respected in order to provide educational and career services to others. I have been the Chair of several Committees and found it useful to interact with others in my particular specialty of healthcare finance.

What was your first HFMA event?

    • [rm] My first HFMA event was an educational seminar at the old Valle’s Steakhouse in Newton! I was working for a Mass. State regulatory agency and nobody from the Provider community would sit with me.

What was the most important take away/ most impressionable memory you have of your early days in HFMA?

    • [rm] The most impressionable memory of my early days in HFMA was the collegiality of the members. While, on the one hand, we were institutional competitors, on the other hand, we were committed to improving the working environment for healthcare professionals.

What do you like to do when you are not working?

    • [rm] When I am not working, I like to golf, kayak and explore Cape Cod with my wife. During Covid, I have become an amateur landscaper and bird watcher.

Who do you admire the most?  

    • [rm] Right now, Dr. Anthony Fauci is someone that I admire. He has dedicated his life and career to finding medical discoveries that will cure or ease the pain of others. Currently, he is, in my opinion, sticking to his guns and not succumbing to the political pressure to sugarcoat the dangers of COVID-19 or what needs to be done to contain it.