When Jeff Matton ’93 entered the College to study business, he never thought his future would involve the field of health care.
Nevertheless, as president of Good Samaritan Hospital in Baltimore, Matton has found his passion — allowing him to navigate the business of medicine while serving patients in a community teaching hospital setting.
Having grown up in various parts of the country and overseas as part of a military family, Matton enrolled at the College in 1989. He spent his first year as a member of the tennis team and later went on to join Kappa Alpha fraternity, where he eventually served as president. He was also involved with the child mentoring service program Big Brothers Big Sisters.
From his first day at the College, Matton believed he wanted a career in business. “I saw myself in a more traditional arena, such as banking, or working with investments on Wall Street,” says Matton.
After graduating with a degree in business administration in 1993, Matton joined the financial services company Norwest in a management training program.
A year and a half later, Matton realized that working in the financial industry wasn’t fulfilling his need to help others. “I had a personal desire to use my business experience and give back to the community,” he said. “I decided to explore how I might accomplish that.”
Matton’s uncle, a physician in northern Virginia, introduced his nephew to the world of health care at Alexandria Hospital in Alexandria, Va. Matton received an administrative internship, working with the hospital’s vice president of business development, who had service and operational responsibilities. “This experience really opened my eyes to how a hospital operates,” he says. “I had never thought of a hospital as a major financial enterprise that needed business acumen and leadership skills. It was a great environment, being able to help others and use your business talents.”
The internship experience convinced Matton that he wanted a career in health care. Soon afterwards, he enrolled at the Medical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth University, where he earned a master’s in health care administration.
After graduate school, Matton worked as an administrative resident at the Washington Hospital Center, a member of MedStar Health, in Washington, D.C. During this time, he became immersed in hospital administration. Matton worked in cardiovascular services, later becoming executive director of Washington Heart. He then became vice president of professional services for the center. In addition, Matton received a certificate of executive leadership from Georgetown University Center for Professional Development.
In 2006, Matton left D.C. and headed to Good Samaritan Hospital in Baltimore, another MedStar Health hospital, where he was named senior vice president and chief operating officer. In 2010, Matton was named president.
Good Samaritan is a 317-bed adult care community and teaching hospital committed to creating “ideal health care experiences” for patients as part of its Catholic heritage. More than 2,400 associates are on staff. Long known as a specialty center for rehabilitation and orthopedics, Good Samaritan has expanded its range of health care services to provide complete care for the community and has been recognized nationally for quality and service.
“What defines Good Samaritan Hospital and its campus is that we really have all levels of health care embodied in one campus setting,” Matton says of the main hospital and the surrounding facilities.
Matton says every day is different, which makes his role so enjoyable for him. “I may leave a board meeting, then head to the facilities department and round on a nursing unit,” he says. “There’s no typical day. I keep my eyes on our mission, driving performance improvement on our focus areas: service, quality, people, growth and finance. I try to keep it that simple.” Matton adds that it’s all about the hospital’s mission and its people. “We have strong leaders, and teamwork is at the core of our success. Listening to staff is vital.”
When he’s not listening, writing thank-you notes to recognize employees, or rounding on patient care units, he’s trying to improve his golf game. More importantly, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Michele Kavulich Matton ’93, and their three children.
When he thinks of his career, he thinks of how he got there. “I think health care administration is a terrifically rewarding field where you can draw on your management and leadership skills and deploy them in a way that has tremendous societal value,” says Matton. “There’s hardly anything else we hold so dear to us as our health, and even as a non-caregiver, it’s great when I receive letters from patients and hear how we’ve made a difference in their lives.”