PORTLAND, Maine — When Andy Mueller, the chief executive officer of MaineHealth, the largest health care operation in the state, walked into the room for our interview, he sure didn’t look like your typical hospital executive.
The outfit of nearly every high-ranking medical administrator I’ve ever interviewed—and there have been a lot, most of them male--has been predictable: conservative dark suit, white or blue dress shirt, and a subdued, let’s-not-get-crazy-here necktie.
Mueller, in contrast, looked as though he’d just wandered over during a break from selling fishing rods in the sporting goods department at L.L. Bean.
This is not what you expect from the CEO of a huge nonprofit that runs 12 community hospitals in Maine and New Hampshire, including Maine Medical Center in Portland; employs 22,000 people; and deals with just about every one of the countless challenges confronting the American health care system.
Speaking of which, what does Mueller think of that system?
He is quick to say that just about everyone dislikes it, and he’s even more pointed in noting that if you wanted to create a system that provides good care while driving up costs at nearly every step of the way, it would be difficult to come up with a better one.
That’s unusually straight talk from someone in his position.
After nearly a year on the job, Mueller has a clear vision for improving the health care system in Maine. What does he want to do? And just as important, how does he hope to do it? Watch our conversation to find out.