Seton Healthcare Family executive will depart for McCombs, work with Dell Medical School

Josh Willis

After 20 years of service as an executive board chair at the Seton Healthcare Family hospital network, Charles Barnett is planning to move to the McCombs School of Business, where he will work to connect the Dell Medical School with UT business students.

In his role as an executive-in-residence at McCombs, Barnett will mentor students and faculty in the field of medical administration.

“The opportunity to use [McCombs] as an innovation engine to integrate the work being done [and] interface that among the colleges, especially the business school, is really important,” Barnett said.

After working as vice president and chief operating officer at a Virginia hospital, Barnett said his work at Seton Healthcare Family required skills beyond what he expected when he started the job.

“When I got here, I thought the job was going to be running a hospital, but it turned out that was only a piece of it,” Barnett said. “It was really about thinking about community building, oddly enough, and how an organization like Seton can become an important and critical asset to the creation of a viable, sustainable community beyond just the healthcare work it does.”

Barnett said his work helping Seton Healthcare Family hospitals to improve the safety of baby delivery is his proudest accomplishment. In 2002, Seton Healthcare Family hospitals saw an average of 31 babies who suffered birth trauma per 10,000 live births, according to Barnett. After new protocol were put in place, that 31 dropped to one baby per 10,000.

“We were able to develop a protocol by which the number of babies which suffered any kind of birth trauma event were reduced dramatically,” Barnett said.

Greg Hartman, president for external affairs, academic medicine and research at the Seton Healthcare Family, said he started work at Seton because of Barnett.

“He has been instrumental in building the excellent healthcare we have here today, from the heart transplant program, to the nationally recognized low birth trauma, to the building of the new medical school,” Hartman said.

Barnett also helped develop new protocols to serve patients in Central Texas, according to a statement released in Aug. 2014.

“Barnett also introduced new ways to care for a growing and diverse population, including the addition of insurance products and the first steps toward a more organized system of care,” the statement said.

Barnett said Seton Healthcare Family helped save hospitals that were in financial trouble, allowing those hospitals to develop other health resources.

“We salvaged a number of things,” Barnett said. “Probably, the most important was Brackenridge Hospital, because without that, none of these other things [would exist] — Dell Children’s Medical Center would not exist; the graduate medical education programs would not be there; the medical school would not be getting ready to take its first class.”

Barnett said he hopes the Dell Medical School will provide medicine industry leaders that can work to resolve pressing issues.

“We’re going to have to figure out how to help people stay healthier if they’ve got a chronic condition, so they can stay out of the hospital and out of the emergency room,” Barnett said. “The medical school will provide us with thoughtful leaders in medicine to do two things — to help us solve these kinds of problems and really change the way we think about what a physician needs to do going forward.”