You studied the double degree: demography - economics, what did attract you to this combination? How do you use the knowledge of demography in your profession?
I started this double degree by coincidence. Like most of my schoolmates at the time, I did not know what I wanted to study. I sent my applications to different fields from political science to physics. At that time, it was not possible to send more than one application to the FSS, and I applied for politics. Then I found a combination with demography (under the Faculty of Science) so I used it as a back door.
The above illustrates one systemic problem in the Czech education system. At the end of the high school, students make crucial decisions that often have an impact on their entire lives. They choose their future profession. They often can not imagine what it means. What sort of possibilities they have, where they will be in ten, fifteen years. It would be a good idea, especially in the last year of high schools, to focus on it much more.
I would go back to what this combination of education brought me. From the whole study of demography, I was interested in two subjects – demographic analysis and population forecasts. In my work in the field of health care, it was very valuable to me because I was able to make a good picture of where the health and social system can be directed at one or the other generation. Demography is a very good complement of economics.
You have quite unique career for the IES graduate, how did you manage to work for the health services?
Like in the previous question, a coincidence played a big role here too. I attended the Master's courses of Economic Theory (I have chosen it out of three possible study plans). I liked that after this I could go anywhere. This is a very important ability of the IES graduates. At the same time, however, I envied a few of my friends from other faculties that they had seen it clear what they would do. At this time, the entire counseling and analytic team left the Ministry of Health, and they were quickly looking for the new people. It was only a few months before the elections. So I thought I was going to try it, and I liked the health sector so much that I stayed there.
The start of my career in the cabinet of the Minister was an advantage for me. It gave me the opportunity to get information from any area I was interested. And I was interested in almost everything. I was looking for the problems with colleagues, pointing to them, and trying to suggest possible solutions. This was how I got a huge overview of how the whole system works, and it helps me everyday until now.
You have worked in different positions at different companies. Which was the crucial one that influenced you the most, whether professionally or personally... You can mention even more positions, which were important to you….
I can not name only one position, it is such a mosaic that only together it makes the real sense. However, I would recommend one thing. I think it is very valuable to pass different positions in one branch, so you can get very close insight.
I have described my career at the Ministry of Health in the text above. Eventually I was responsible, among other things, for e.g. reimbursement decrees that divide over CZK 200 billion each year. I felt very strongly, though, that making decisions about such things without any “field” experience is entirely wrong. I did not want to be a clerk. This is why I decided that in this situation, when I have actually achieved the greatest career success ever since, I would have left.
Instead of accepting a position of a Head of Department, I resigned and distributed my resumes to various corporations, and eventually went to KPMG. It was amazing to experience the corporate environment after such a long time in a state administration. Naturally, I was still working in the health sector. I was advising hospitals on how to get better from health insurance companies, and I also experienced the health insurance company’s audit, for example. The efficiency of the work and the concentration of motivated intelligent people was unbelievable in comparison with the state administration.
At the end of my work at KPMG I co-founded a family business and “from the scratch” we opened our first GP practice. I prepared a business case, got funding, received concessions from the office, and began providing health services. Business is one of the key experiences for me. Compared to the hospital I am managing today, it seems to be nothing. However, the sense of responsibility for one’s own business and own employees, the direct impact of all their own decisions, one that can not be imagined, must be experienced.
Prior to my transition to the hospital, I worked for about three years in the health insurance company. I had the opportunity to get to know the functioning of the segment in detail and from the inside. Earlier in my career, I was responsible for its control and regulation. It is actually absurd that people in the position of the regulator usually start with no experience in this field, even if it should be vice-versa.
You are the new CEO of Bulovka Hospital since September, what exactly does this mean for you and what are your duties? Is not medical background necessary for this position?
The director of the hospital does not need to be a doctor, just as the director of a car factory does not have to be a mechanic. Bulovka is a hospital with a huge potential, but it has been damped for decades. It has huge economic problems. The team I brought with me is working on crisis management. What I can offer to the hospital is my insight and good knowledge of the health system. The management of any organization is primarily about people. I brought a highly motivated team to the hospital. All the members of the team really understand their areas. Many of them come from the private sphere, which I consider to be a huge benefit. They have a wholly different point of view and demands on delivery speed and output quality. I hope we will be able to make Bulovka a showcasing hospital.
Do you have some free time? What do you do, what is your “passion”?
I used to have some... But it is bad enough since coming to the hospital. I usually leave home early in the morning and come back in the evening. This is the biggest problem as I have small children. However, I believe that when we set up all the processes in the hospital and things will start working, it will improve. My wife and I have been looking for a common hobby, and we have been captured by climbing. We both love mountains, to take a backpack and disappear for some time somewhere in the wild. Now when the winter is coming, I am looking forward to skiing. Since 2001, we meet friends once a week and we play World of Darkness, the role playing games.