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Decades Interview with Will Schlotter M'85
Reconnect with a member of the Class of 1985
Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Will Schlotter ’85, CEO, Capitol Anesthesiology Association

With Texas roots that go back 200 years, Will Schlotter ’85 grew up in small towns across Texas in a family that emphasized public service and service above self. He earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Texas where his research focused on the application of staining techniques to measure neurological development of rat pups. “Not directly applicable to any future endeavors,” he laughs, “but it did give me a disciplined, scientific approach to problem solving.”

Unlike many young graduates, Will had no problem figuring out what to do next. Capital Guardian Research— at the time, the country’s largest pension investment firm— recruited him right out of college into a unique financial analyst/in-house MBA program. While there, Will became engaged to Regina Swaim, his wife of 34 years, and concurrently received a full scholarship to Trinity’s Health Care Administration (HCAD) program. Although his five cohorts in the program now hold major positions in the company, Will declares happily, “I’ve never looked back, and the satisfaction of being involved in the health care field supporting patient services has been great.”

At Trinity, Will had the opportunity to do a little hospital cost accounting thanks in part to an early investment in a Compaq “portable” computer and Lotus 123A, which was being beta-tested on campus. Convinced that the administration of patient services through ambulatory care services had the potential to grow and deliver value to the community, he sought an unorthodox approach to the residency requirement and became the first HCAD student to do a full residency in a physician practice management environment. With support from HCAD professors Paul Golliher, the late Ted Sparling, and Steve Tucker, he was able to create a meaningful residency within an early management group that was pioneering the practice management concept across 16 groups in the 1980s.

Thanks to the mentorship of Pankey Hall and other early pioneers in practice management, Will—at age 25—was named chief administrator of the Brenham Clinic Association, a multispecialty group, where he had the opportunity to learn every facet of group practice management in a challenging but supportive environment. “In hindsight, I was probably way too young, but I survived and the lessons learned at a young age were invaluable” he says. Those lessons included that “it is much more important to lead through facilitating others than through absolute control.”

Today, as CEO of Capitol Anesthesiology Association (CAA), Will leads an administrative team that supports 85 physicians, 170 CRNAs, 25 RNs, and support staff covering some 27 facilities, eight of which are hospitals ranging from Trauma Level I to a tertiary pediatric hospital. A recent partnership with US Anesthesia Partners is expected to bring a vast array of resources to be used with CAA’s stakeholders in developing higher valued services through shared clinical quality improvements.

Obviously passionate about his field, Will is proud to have been involved early in the movement to promote and grow the impact of medical group management. “I have spoken for 34 years on physician practice management issues and the alignment of health systems and physicians’ interests across a broad range of state and national associations and boards,” he notes. He was part of a group that grew the Texas Administrators organization from a small state program into an affiliation with the Medical Group Management Association of Texas (MGMAT) and created a formal affiliation for legislative affairs with the Texas Medical Association in the late 1980s. On the state level, he was also a strong advocate for initiating conversations among the THA, the TMA, and insurers. A past president of MGMAT and current legislative affairs chair for the organization, he remains active in health care policy at the state and national levels.

Outside of work, Will enjoys spending time with family (two married children and one very joyous grandchild), traveling, hiking, or fly-fishing in the great outdoors.  He also enjoys a round of golf “here and there or anywhere.” In their Austin community, Will and Regina are members of Covenant Presbyterian Church where she has been an elder for the last three years. He has served on the Greater Austin Chamber Board of Directors and has been involved in education policy matters at the state and local levels. He also truly values his involvement with and the opportunity to give back to the HCAD program over the years. HCAD professor and former chair Mary Stefl became a good friend, and Will credits her with finding ways for him to contribute to the program for the past 20 years.   

Will says the highlight of his career has been leading and facilitating teams through periods of unprecedented change. At this point, he enjoys taking a step back to recall with great appreciation “the incredible talent and dedicated work of teams that I have been privileged to work with.” As he maintains, “it’s all about the patient and the quality of the team.”

Words by Mary Denny

AVISO is written and produced by members of the Health Care Administration Alumni Association in partnership with the Office of Alumni Relations. 

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