James Kolka, DO, was placed as the chief medical officer at Norwegian American Hospital in Chicago, Illinois. Norwegian American is a 200-bed acute care facility that is the fourth-leading provider of high quality, charitable health care among 59 area hospitals. It is a family- and community-centered hospital that promotes personal wellness, with the passionate belief that the health of the community and the health of the individual are interrelated, and is among the top 10% of all hospitals evaluated for excellent performance in patient safety. The hospital is served by 851 employees and 376 medical staff. Dr. Kolka serves as a physician and patient advocate, actively engaged in contributing clinical expertise to administrative functions as a member of the executive team. As a liaison between administration and the medical staff, he builds consensus and ensures that organizational goals and strategic initiatives related to quality, clinical performance and outcomes, patient safety, clinical informatics, patient experience, physician and employee engagement, and process excellence are successfully achieved. He also plays an active role in developing the strategy and direction of the organization and implementing programs and processes according to established goals and objectives.
Dr. Kolka brings to the position strong business skills, as well as a strong background as a physician executive. His creativity and entrepreneurial spirit will be an asset to Norwegian American.
Before joining Norwegian American, Dr. Kolka served as the chief medical officer at Baptist Health in Madisonville, Kentucky, a 460-bed tertiary, safety net facility that serves a population of approximately 25,000. There, he had oversight of physician relations, the medical staff office, quality, utilization, patient safety, credentialing, health information management, physician relations, risk, and medical staff peer review, as well as holding responsibility for the hospital's managed ambulance company, the emergency department, and anesthesia. During his tenure, Dr. Kolka successfully improved physician contracting, brought in a new anesthesia group, and addressed incomplete medical records and data capture, which resulted in net charges increasing by $3 million.
Previously, Dr. Kolka served as the physician vice president for mergers, acquisitions, and practice with TeamHealth, one of the nation's largest providers of hospital-based clinical outsourcing; the founder and medical director of Air Angels, a regional air transport company; an emergency department consultant with The Sullivan Group; the president and chairman of Emergency Medicine Risk Retention Group; the president and co-CEO of MEA Management; and the founder and president of Aurora Emergency Associates. Dr. Kolka began his career as a police officer and paramedic before completing his medical degree, and practiced emergency medicine at Provena Mercy Medical Center in Aurora, Illinois at the start of his medical career.
Dr. Kolka is originally from Michigan, where he earned his bachelor's degree from Michigan State University. He subsequently completed his Doctor of Osteopathy degree at Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine and a residency in emergency medicine at Cook County Hospital. Dr. Kolka is a Certified Physician Executive through the American College of Physician Executives. He is also a diplomat of the American College of Emergency Physicians and a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives.