Physician Spotlight: Robert Prichard, Jr, MD, CEO, St. Elizabeth Physicians.


PS_Robert Prichard MDFast Facts

Hometown:  Louisa, Ky.

Family:  Married to Jackie Prichard, retired education, volunteer and Pilates instructor.  Two adult daughters.  My parents are retired educators.

Hobbies:  Golf, reading and gardening.

Education:  Bachelor of Science, University of Kentucky 1981; Medical Degree, the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, 1985; Residency in Family Medicine, St. Elizabeth Healthcare.


Why did you become a doctor? 

Originally I wanted to return to my hometown to be a family physician.  I was inspired by many of the physicians I watched growing up.  I appreciated what they did for people and what role they played in the community.  I guess I wanted to be like them.

What are your short term goals in your new position?  I want to build on the foundation already established at St. Elizabeth Physicians of providing outstanding care and service.  I want to make our organization the best place for physicians, providers and staff to work while improving upon the care to our community.  I believe strongly in the St. Elizabeth Healthcare mission of helping Northern Kentucky to become one of the healthiest communities in the nation and I want to be a part of making that happen.

What is the biggest misconception about your field?

I am answering this from the perspective of being a physician leader and being a part of a healthcare system leadership team.  I believe there is a perception that healthcare leadership (the administrative team) doesn’t really care about the patient and the care delivered.  That they only care about the bottom line.  This is very untrue.  The leaders I have worked with in my career are extremely dedicated to their associates, the medical staff, and the care and outcomes that are provided.  The leadership teams at St. Elizabeth Healthcare and St. Elizabeth Physicians are deeply caring people who are invested in our community and are driving to make St. Elizabeth Healthcare and St. Elizabeth Physicians great places to work and to receive care.  We are greatly committed to partnering with our community to enhance the lives and health of those who live in our region.

What is the one thing you wish patients knew and/or understood about doctors? 

Physicians, like most people, work very hard and care very much about what they do.  Physicians are deeply invested in the care their patients receive and in the outcomes of their patients.

What is your opinion of managed care and how will this affect you and your practice? 

There are many aspects to managed care so I will just choose one aspect to comment on.  I believe managed care and the government payers are very engaged in trying to assure that the quality and outcomes of care are maximized.  I think this is a good thing.  For many years we have had difficulty truly defining quality, I feel the Triple Aim for Healthcare has helped to focus physicians, practices and healthcare systems on what is important.  Quality, outcomes and value are driving where we are going in healthcare.

What’s one thing your colleagues would be surprised to learn about you?

I strive to be very transparent so I hope they wouldn’t be surprised to learn anything about me.

What’s the best advice you ever received:  Who gave it to you? 

Your job as a leader is to provide the best answer not just an answer; so slow down and speak to whoever you need to speak to; research what you need to research; and then provide the best answer, not just an answer.  This advice was given to me by a gentleman named Bruce Gehring who was the administrative leader for my practice earlier in my career.

What is your motto? I have a couple:

  • Do the right thing!
  • It is amazing what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit (attributed to Harry Truman).

If you weren’t a doctor, what would you be? 

I am glad I never had to make that decision.  I love what I do.

Who are your heroes in healthcare?  

I have had a number of great mentors who helped and taught me in my career.  My best mentor in healthcare was one of my original partners, Bill Reutman, a Family Physician in Florence, Ky.  I have had many others on the administrative side of healthcare who have taught me valuable life and professional lessons.

My great heroes in life are my parents and my paternal grandfather.  I also reflect on the many people, especially teachers, who were instrumental in my life and are heroes to me.