Peter Bastone takes the helm at CRMC
By JOHN DOWNS, SR
Dr. Peter Bastone is filling some big shoes at Chesapeake Regional Medical Center as the newly appointed President and Chief Executive Officer. Those over-sized wing tips he’s wearing now once belonged to Dr. Donald S. Buckley, the legendary administrator who shepherded CRMC from a vacant lot of rural acreage to the mega-health care complex it is today. Christopher Mosley succeeded Buckley at CRMC in 2005. Upon his departure five years later Wynn Dixon, long term vice president of operations, was appointed interim CEO, and in September 2010 was named CEO.
Bastone officially came on board in April of 2013 fully aware of the expectations the position demanded. “There’s no doubt I’ve stepped into some big shoes to fill,” Bastone admits, “But I did my homework before accepting this opportunity. Chesapeake is much like the Mission Viejo, California community where, early in my career, I was President and CEO of Mission Regional Medical Center. In addition to being a regional hospital like CRMC, the center enjoyed passionate community support, just like here in Chesapeake. Chesapeake also has a very large employee base with an impressive and pedigreed medical staff. I am pleasantly surprised at the high degree of medical care our patients receive. As people get to know me, they soon realize that I am definitely a ‘hands-on’ type of administrator. There’s no such thing as the status quo with me. I’m never satisfied just keeping up with the Joneses. I’m always leap-frogging into new ideas.”
Bastone comes to Chesapeake as the former Chief Administrative Officer of CHA Health Systems in Los Angeles, California and Seoul, Korea. He was responsible for a national effort that supported an international vision for the next generation of health services. He provided the necessary leadership for the United States to remain at the forefront of medical advancement and innovation. Specific goals included building a global network of hospitals, clinics, and research institutes for the advancement of state of the art bio-medicine and bio-ventures. His scope of authority at CHA included operational support for the system’s eight international acute-care hospitals and the home based hospital in Los Angeles with a total patient capacity of 2,500 beds.
Peter Bastone was raised on the tough streets of Chicago, Illinois. His father was a homicide detective with the Chicago Police Department and his uncle was a successful Chicago politician. But even at an early age, no one could place Bastone into a mold. He explains, “I was a straight A student and class president at Chicago’s Latin School which was no easy task for a street kid. I also played football and ran track and field.” Bastone’s athletic prowess eventually earned him a try-out with what was then the Baltimore Colts of the National Football League. “That’s about all it was,” Bastone recalls with a big grin, “a try-out!”
Even though sports was a big part his life, Bastone always wanted to be a physician. He continues, “After a bout with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, I learned in the 70′s the medical school I wanted to enter had an unwritten prejudice against cancer patients. They simply wouldn’t take me. I beat the disease but had to reevaluate my career goals. Fortunately today that type of bias doesn’t exist.”
From high school, Bastone went on to compile an impressive educational resume including an Ivy League bachelor’s degree from Princeton University (where he also was a lineman on the football team); a master’s in Public Health and Corporate Management from the University of California in Berkley; a master’s degree in Theology and Health Care Mission from St. Louis University’s Aquinas Institute of Theology and a doctorate in Public Health. His professional credentials are equally formidable. Bastone is a Delegate of the American Hospital Association and a fellow of both the National Health Foundation and the National Committee for Quality Health Care.
Bastone’s extensive and diverse educational achievements, especially in Theology and Philosophy, helped form his basic administrative beliefs. “I consider myself an original thinker,” he remarks, “I’m always thinking out of the box. You simply have to. In the world of medical science and health care delivery, change comes quickly and you have to be prepared.”
Bastone already sees a bright future not only for CRMC but for the city of Chesapeake as a leader in the Hampton Roads medical community. “I think Chesapeake would be an ideal location for a Bio-Tech Medical Park.,” he shares excitedly. “There are so many areas where we could provide the necessary leadership to benefit our community and the entire Hampton Roads area.” Two specific areas Bastone mentions is stem cell research and the development of futuristic prosthetic devices. The latter would be of particular interest to the large military community in the Tidewater area.
Bastone’s main priorities, however, remain with CRMC and taking it to the next level. He explains, “We have an active medical staff of more than 600 eminently qualified physicians and I am presently working with one of the area’s largest medical practices to join us at CRMC.”
While Bastone is proud of his spiritual values, he doesn’t wear his religion on his sleeve. “My international experiences afforded me the opportunity to see health care at its absolute best but also at its lowest primitive level,” he shares, “CRMC has a solid track record of providing great health care services to the entire community, and I want that to continue. The next few years will be extremely challenging for health care delivery, especially with the new Affordable Care Act. I am already studying our Medicare policies to further improve services, now and for the future.”
Shirley Forbes works in Government Relations at CRMC and is the wife of Congressman J. Randy Forbes. She’s excited about the future of CRMC under Bastone’s leadership. “The Hospital Authority has made a wonderful choice in Peter Bastone,” she says. “He has that unique ability to immediately inspire confidence. His ‘can-do’ attitude is contagious. We look for exciting things to happen at CRMC under Dr. Bastone.”
Dr. Bastone is already an active member of the Chesapeake and Hampton Roads community. He serves on several boards including the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance, the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, and the Chesapeake, Regional, Riverside, and University of Virginia Radiosurgery Center Board of Managers.
Dr. Bastone and his wife of 23 years Julie have 4 children: Frankie, 20, Dominic, 19, Gino, 13, and Rachel, 11. He enjoys spare time activities with his family and is a voracious reader. His favorite book?
“That’s easy,” Bastone responds eagerly, “Jesus, CEO: Using Ancient Wisdom for Visionary Leadership.”