West Boca Medical Center CEO George Rizzuto is ready for his closeup. He succeeded Mitch Feldman, who retired in July.
Rizzuto has 35 years as a hospital administrator. He came from Tenet Healthcare’s sister facility, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philly.
Q: Let’s get this out of the way. Are you related to the famous Yankee Hall of Famer and Major League Baseball announcer Phil “The Scooter” Rizzuto?
A: No bloodlines. Not even one connection at Ellis Island. That surprised us.
Q: Why did you wait to do an interview like this?
A: I had so many internal people to meet. During the transition [between he and Feldman] I was listening and learning.
Q: What did you learn?
A: The relentless pursuit to get people well is repeated here daily. We never give up. I’ve heard a lot of wonderful stories. That’s one of the things that has kept me in healthcare.
Q: What impressed you most about the hospital?
A: The quality of physicians and clinicians a hospital this size [195 beds] is able to attract. There’s a real desire to solve problems here. There’s very little bureaucracy. Decisions can be made on the front lines.
Q: What do you want potential patients to know about West Boca Medical’s specialties?
A: We’re building on a 30-year foundation. We enhanced women’s and children’s services and orthopedics. Our level three neonatal intensive care unit [for premature babies] is the highest designation in the state. We have neonatologists on site and hired specialty nurses. We have a dedicated pediatric emergency room staffed by pediatric ER physicians.
In orthopedics, our physicians specialize in hands, hips, knees, foot and ankle and spine with a high degree of training. Our investment in technology can get people better faster.
Q: Were you able to get your feet on the ground quickly in Boca?
A: I was elected to the Chamber board. As a team, we’re doing a build for Habitat for Humanity of South Palm Beach County. I’ve asked our employee activities committee to do more.
Q: What else is important to you?
A: Family is everything. I’m married to my wife Geri for 35 years. We’re both from Philly. We have three adult children. Also my religion. I’m Catholic. I graduated from LaSalle University. [He has an MBA from West Chester University.]
Q: What was your biggest surprise once you moved from Philly to south Florida last summer?
A: Planning for a hurricane. We were prepared.
By Marci Shatzman