A conversation with Gary Schmidt of Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network

Christopher Holland//March 28, 2019

A conversation with Gary Schmidt of Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network

Christopher Holland//March 28, 2019

Over the years, he has volunteered on the finance and human resources committee, work services advisory board and the board of trustees. In 2017 he assumed chairmanship of the board, and in 2018 accepted the position of interim president and CEO.

He is retired from Mondelez Global LLC, formerly the snacks division of Kraft Foods, where he worked as a human resource executive since 1989. Before that he worked for National Steel Corp. and Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp.

He has a bachelor’s degree in history and master’s degree in labor relations from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

A resident of Orefield, Schmidt enjoys golf and other outdoor activities and is a fan of the Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Indians.

Lehigh Valley Business: How long has Good Shepherd been operating in the region and what are its primary services?

Gary Schmidt: Founded in 1908, Good Shepherd is an independent, nonprofit post-acute provider offering care at 70-plus locations throughout the Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia regions.

In the Lehigh Valley, we provide inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation for adults and children, physician services, long-term acute care, long-term care and home health.

In Philadelphia, Good Shepherd partners with the University of Pennsylvania Health System to provide rehabilitation and specialty services through Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a joint venture.

LVB: What have been some of the biggest challenges and opportunities that Good Shepherd has encountered?

Gary Schmidt: Good Shepherd has thrived for more than 110 years, because our founders and forebearers knew how to turn challenges into opportunities. Thankfully, innovation is in our DNA – especially in today’s dynamic health care market, which is particularly challenging for independent providers like Good Shepherd.

Over the past decade, we have faced unprecedented competition in our local market. However, Good Shepherd differentiates itself by providing truly leading-edge technologies and expertise. We tackle the most challenging, catastrophic cases and produce remarkable outcomes.

It is critical that we inform patients that they have a choice of rehabilitation providers following a serious injury or illness. The choice we make when recovering from a stroke, brain injury, spinal cord injury or other illness can impact the rest of our lives. We need to advocate for the best care and that is what Good Shepherd provides.

When it comes to rehab, Good Shepherd is synonymous with quality. We are the only provider in the Lehigh Valley to have earned seven accreditations by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities – the gold standard in rehab care. Good Shepherd is a national leader in rehabilitation, especially for catastrophic conditions.

LVB: Good Shepherd is one of the largest employers in the Lehigh Valley. How does it directly impact the local economy, and how does it get involved with the local community?

Gary Schmidt: I feel incredibly fortunate to see Good Shepherd’s mission in motion every day. Our compassionate associates have a strong commitment to enhancing lives, maximizing function and inspiring hope within our hospitals, outpatient clinics and greater communities. In 2018, Good Shepherd provided uncompensated care and community services (like health screenings) valued at $11 million.

Additionally, as a destination for recovery, nearly 40 percent of Good Shepherd’s patients and their families travel to the Lehigh Valley from across the globe, contributing significantly to the local economy.

LVB: What is your guiding philosophy as a business leader?

Gary Schmidt: My basic tenets are to be humble, surround yourself with excellent people, heighten engagement, uphold reasonable accountability and build relationships. We are in the people business; we accomplish everything with and through others.