Lisa Hausmann led Mercy Hospital Folsom through the COVID-19 pandemic when she was head of nursing. She’s now the hospital’s president and CEO. (Photo by Wes Davis)

The Way We Work: Mercy Hospital President and CEO Lisa Hausmann

A glimpse into the daily life of a Dignity Health hospital executive

Back Article Feb 13, 2024 By Jeff Wilser

This story is part of our February 2024 issue. To subscribe, click here.

A city’s growth can be a hospital’s headache. The population of Folsom has more than doubled since the opening of Mercy Hospital, which strains resources like beds, rooms and staff.  “Oftentimes we’re holding patients in the emergency department because every bed is full,” says Lisa Hausmann, Mercy’s president and CEO, who was formerly head of nursing during the COVID-19 pandemic. “That’s our biggest challenge, but we’ve gotten really good at it.”

The roughly 900-employee, 106-bed hospital has gotten really good thanks in large part to Hausmann’s tireless work ethic, something she calls the “protected hour,” and a box of cookies.

Favorite to-do list system: Jotting down lists and sublists in old school spiral notebooks.
Tricks for staying focused: Trying to maintain a decluttered environment. I feel better if my bed is made.
Daily ritual she will absolutely never skip: When they’re leaving for school, I have to hug and kiss my children goodbye.

5:00AM – Wakes up at 5 a.m. without an alarm, always, every day, including weekends. 

5:01AM – Her husband, Dan Hausmann, gets out of bed and brings her a sugar-free Rockstar. (Why an energy drink? “I’m a little bit embarrassed to admit this,” she says, but “coffee upsets my stomach.”) 

5:10AM – Uses Dignity Health’s wellness app for a 10-minute guided meditation.

5:20AM – Scans the hospital’s overnight report, which could alert her to any unusual or urgent behavior such as an overflow of patients in the emergency department.

6:00AM – Gets ready for work.

7:00AM – The “chaos starts.” And here the chaos refers to when her three children wake up — ages 5, 9 and 16. 

7:40AM – Drives her 3-mile commute from her home in Folsom to Mercy, either making calls or listening to music. (“My music is really obnoxious. I’m a Swiftie.”)

8:00AM – The morning “bed huddle,” where she meets with senior staff to talk through any potential barriers to discharging patients.

9:00AM - Every day Hausmann blocks this as her leadership team’s “protected hour,” where they go on rounds throughout the hospital and connect with patients. “That’s my favorite part of the day. I really value that human connection.” 

9:30AM – Part of the protected hour includes a quick team huddle to discuss any safety issues or updates to key goals. Once a week she holds a raffle to reward whoever does the most patient rounds. (The winner gets a box of Crumbl cookies.)

10:00AM – Now the day shifts to meetings, especially one-on-ones with her direct reports like the chief medical officer, chief financial officer and chief of staff. 

12:00PM – She tries to block out two hours for office time to catch up on emails and focus on work; she’ll usually eat lunch at her desk that she prepped at home. Sometimes this means a Mediterranean salad, sometimes this means chips and crackers. 

2:00PM – The afternoons are usually jammed with more meetings, such as sync-ups with physician leaders or calls for the many boards she sits on, like the Folsom Chamber of Commerce. “We’re here to serve the community; that’s why the hospital exists. So a huge component of my job is community relations.”

4:00PM – Sometimes she’ll attend work or community events (like hospital town halls) or events that Dignity sponsors, such as the Folsom “Her” Women’s Conference. 

6:00PM (or as late as 7 p.m.) – Arrives home for family dinner cooked by Dan, often chicken or salmon and vegetables. “He’s not the best cook either, so when we get rich we’ll hire one.” (She adds, “We do order pizza more than we should.”)

7:00PM – Very little TV. Some nights are spent shuttling the kids to baseball or basketball practice, some nights helping with homework, and some nights they unwind in their dining-room-turned-arcade, where the whole family plays games like ping-pong, shuffleboard, Pac-Man or Golden Tee. (There’s even a putting green.)

7:30PM – Usually more work emails, and maybe she’ll check flights for future international travel, which is a core value. “I’m constantly planning trips, as it’s important to expose the kids to different places.” She often thinks of the Mark Twain quote, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.”

8:30PM – Once the kids are in bed she grabs a book (frequently one from Reese Witherspoon’s book club) and binge-reads until falling asleep, which might be as early as 9 p.m. on a “wonderful night.”  

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