Where are they now? Michael Bukosky GNA ’71

Where are they now? Michael Bukosky GNA 71

Liam Carcieri, Editor

Michael Bukosky, a GNA graduate, has dedicated his life to helping those in the healthcare industry. While he is currently the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of USMD Holdings and President of Physician Practices Management, Mr. Bukosky has previously served in many other positions. In the past, Mr. Bukosky has achieved offices such as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of University of Louisville Physicians and was previously the Chairman of the Board for the Executive Committee of the American Medical Group Association (AMGA), whose member organizations employ over 175,000 physicians and provide healthcare to one in every three Americans.

After graduating GNA in 1971, Mr. Bukosky entered into King’s College, earning bachelor degrees of Science in Business Administration and Accounting. After earning these initial qualifications, Mr. Bukosky found employment at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital as a Business Office Manager. In this position, Mr. Bukosky managed the business side of a hospital, including subjects such as billing. Though relatively small in comparison to his more recent postings, this was Mr. Bukosky’s first and held some notion of things to come.

In 1979, Mr. Bukosky left Wilkes-Barre General and took up a job as a Hospital Business Systems Consultant under Lifemark Corporation, a position which took him from the comparatively small city of Wilkes-Barre all the way to Houston, Texas. Here, Mr. Bukosky managed accounts for 11 different hospitals, This position started to build a clear pattern in his career- a pattern supported by his next occupation as a Division Manager for Hospital Affiliates International. The company he worked for owned or managed more than 155 health care facilities, and Mr. Bukosky managed patient accounts from 19 different psychiatric hospitals.

The next employment he held was as an Assistant Administrator for Scott and White. This Assistant Administrator position had the influence necessary for Mr. Bukosky to demonstrate his aptitude as an effective manager; during his tenure as Assistant Administrator, Mr. Bukosky helped modernize the company by leading the redesign and implementation of new patient accounting systems, developed a primary care network by bringing 5 new practices into the fold as well as materializing 25 new construction initiatives in central Texas, as well as creating a centralized business office which eliminated inefficiencies and saved 3.5 million dollars annually. While accomplishing all of this, Mr. Bukosky was also studying for a Master’s of Science in Healthcare Administration.

Mr. Bukosky remained with Scott and White, rising through the ranks from 1981 until 2001, when he transitioned to Carle Clinic Association as an Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer. With this title, he was responsible for the operation leadership and financial performance of the entire system which included 340 physicians and a support staff of 2,500 employees. Mr. Bukosky also provided counsel to the clinic Board of Governors and was responsible for the development of Carle Clinic Association’s research department. Despite the tremendous amount of responsibilities facing him, Bukosky still managed to go above and beyond by achieving feats such as raising patient satisfaction scores from 45% to 80% and implementing five electronic medical record systems throughout the organization. In 2010, Mr. Bukosky changed companies once again, this to to be the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of University of Louisville Physicians. The University of Louisville Physicians is a channel for collaboration between multiple groups of physicians and has more than 600 faculty members under its employ. Personally, however, Mr. Bukosky was responsible for such tasks as implementing a new integrated practice group and serving as the Senior Business Leader for the aforementioned practice group. In addition to that, Mr. Bukosky, was the Chairman of the Board of the Executive Committee of the American Medical Group Association in 2013. As previously stated, member facilities of the AMGA employ over 175,000 physicians who serve around one out of every three Americans. He was also responsible for providing the infrastructure and processes necessary for such practice groups, new or preexisting, to function. Mr. Bukosky left the University of Louisville Physicians in 2014 and assumed his current occupation as Chief Operating Officer (COO) of USMD Holdings in 2016. As the COO of USMD Holdings, Mr. Bukosky oversees USMD’s clinics, which employ more than 250 physicians in almost 70 clinics.

Among all of these accolades and triumphs lies one which is simultaneously the most surprising and one of the most amazing- the “Brewkosky.” The Brewkosky is a designer coffee, developed in 2009, which was named in honor of Mr. Bukosky

The GNA Insider had the privilege giving Mr. Bukosky a brief interview:

What did you like most about attending GNA?

Attending GNA during my generation was like attending a family event each and every day. The respect of the teachers coupled with an environment where everyone knew each other- friend, cousins, neighbors, etc. -it was like an extended family being together in a truly healthy environment.

What was your favorite class at GNA? Did you have any favorite teachers?

Like most students, I had my strengths and weaknesses. Mathematics came easy to me, so obviously courses such as math and algebra were enjoyable. As far as teachers, I enjoyed many of them. However, if I had to pick a few, they would have been Charlie Davis in middle school and John Gregowicz in high school. They both were respectful, caring, fair, and wanted us to be the best we could be.

Did you participate in any extracurricular activities while you attended GNA?

As far as extracurricular activities during my high school years, I participated in several clubs. I love sports and played junior varsity baseball; however, I did not participate in baseball in high school. During my high school years, GNA had outstanding football, baseball, and basketball teams. Nanticoke was blessed with outstanding athletes, excellent and passionate coaches, and a supportive community. I did not have the necessary skills to participate; however, I along with the entire community supported all involved. It was a special time to be a Trojan.

Do you have any advice for current GNA students?

My advice to GNA students is quite simple: follow your heart, be thankful for your health, your family, and all who supported you in school, in your faith, and those close to you. As an American, there are no limits, the opportunities are endless, and in the end, and most importantly, be happy in what you decide to pursue.

What do you feel is your most prestigious  accomplishment?

I would have to say my most prestigious accomplishment was serving as the Chairman of the Board for American Medical Group Association, www.amga.org. The organization represents more than 150,000 physicians and over 450 health care organizations. In its 70 year history, I was honored to be only the fifth non-physician Chairman of the Board. I am very proud of the honor. (I suggest you Google them at amga.org)

What are you most proud of achieving?

In my 40 year career in the healthcare industry, I have been truly honored and humbled for organizations to place their faith and trust in me and my abilities. In serving as Chief Executive Officer in healthcare organizations, I am truly most proud of playing a small part in seeing professionals do what they do best, that is, taking care of all of us as patients. Nothing is more enjoyable than watching our fellow men and women care for each other. I am most proud to have been included as being part of the healthcare team.

How did your experiences at GNA help prepare you for getting to where you are now?

As I indicated previously, GNA was a caring family in a safe and positive environment. From the superintendent, to teachers, to students, we all cared for each other. The community of the school along with the entire city of Nanticoke prepared us well as to how we should treat each other in our entire adult.

What interests you most about the career you have? What does your job entail?

My job in healthcare leadership is quote similar to coaching. It provides me the ability to recruit the talent needed for the team’s success. In creating a team, my challenge is to determine everyone’s strength, their passion, and their interests in bringing the best possible care to our patients. In the end, our goal is to help every individual attain the highest quality of life from a health perspective. Watching people become the very best they can be provides tremendous satisfaction for me in leadership.

Why did you choose to pursue the career you have?

The truth is, upon college graduation, I took a financial position in Wilkes-Barre General Hospital simply because I needed a job. In the year that followed, I realized as a young man, that I could become part of a profession where I could play a small part in the health and well being of supporting our families. Even though I was not a physician, a nurse, or a technician, I believed that by understanding the business, the financing, and the technology, I could become a positive influence of providing care to all patients. I have never been disappointed. Mission accomplished!

Has anyone or thing inspired you during your career?

Many events and many people have inspired me throughout my career. First and foremost, my mom and dad influenced me from the very beginning. My dad was from Nanticoke; he only completed eighth grade and went to work in the coal mines with his dad, then went to serve like many from our area in World War II. All of these young men set the bar very high for all of us that followed. Unfortunately my dad passed on when I was ten, and my mom made sure my sister and I would become responsible adults. I was most fortunate to see leadership and accountability first hand. It’s had a huge impact on my faith and taught me to never give up.

My other significant inspiration came from my son Craig, who we lost 22 years ago at the age of 12. With me being a leader in healthcare, watching my son go through cancer treatments off and on for nine years gave me even more insight and inspiration to always try to do what is right for our patients because they are counting on us to get it right.

In the end, I would say life is a journey; it is a winding road. It has many great days and some challenging days. It has many possibilities. Most of all, always remember, embrace today. Make the most of each day you wake up. We all have the same gifts, it is what we do with each of these gifts.

While studying at Southwest Texas University for a Master of Science in Healthcare Administration you were also employed as Chief of Operations at Scott and White. How did you balance the two responsibilities?

While working to attain my MBA, I had three children under the age of six. I also coached my oldest daughter’s soccer team while attending evening and weekend classes. The balance of work, family, and school certainly became a challenge. Some of my success could never have been possible without a supportive wife and a clear vision as to why sacrifices must be made in order to achieve my future goals. In life, we should never expect to be given anything; everything must be earned. We are all given the gift of life; the rest is up to each and every one of us. The reservoir of strength that we all possess is endless. Each and every one of us has the ability to achieve remarkable goals if we have a supportive family and we are willing to make sacrifices.

You hold a few titles relating to the AMGA. What responsibilities do these titles entail?

AMGA, American Medical Group Association, was formed more than 60 years ago to serve the needs of medical groups of all sizes, multispecialty groups associated with hospitals and many organized systems of care. It currently represents more than 160,000 physicians and 450 hospital systems. I was honored to serve eight years on this group’s prestigious board of directors of which the last four years included officer status- with my final year as Chairman of the Board. It is truly a privilege to have held these positions and impacted healthcare on a national scale.

According to the Summary of Skills section of your resume, you are an accomplished public speaker. In high school, it is a common ailment that a person will find their public speaking skills lacking due to inexperience or stage fright. Do you have any advice for them?

The key to public speaking is to be prepared, know your topic, be ready for the unexpected and engage your audience. Never let your audience know you are nervous. As much experience as I have and as many talks as I have given around the country, I am and always will be a bit nervous. But, I believe it is a positive trait to never be overconfident.