Photographer by Vanessa Rogers at the Garden of Hope and Courage on the NCH Downtown Campus
“Without good health care as a fundamental, almost nothing else will matter.” That’s the tenet Dr. Allen Weiss has espoused from his days of private practice all the way to his current position as CEO and president of NCH Healthcare System. Rather than languishing in the administrative mire of the healthcare industry, Weiss exhibits a contagious optimism that has led his daughter, now a physician herself, to claim she’s never seen him worry. While Weiss chuckles at the assertion, the announcement last year that NCH Healthcare System would be the first member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network in Florida (and the seventh in the nation), proves he’s doing something right. “People used to leave town for care, but now they’re coming here. We’re becoming a medical destination,” he says. It’s a reality that Weiss never imagined when relocating his family from New York to Naples 35 years ago. He’s grateful to have played a part in the city’s quest to become “a globally competitive environment” in terms of medicine—in 2012 the hospital system was listed as one of the best in Southern Florida by U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings—but he’s somewhat reticent about being the face of the movement. “I never started out with the idea that it would be for publicity. The goal was the opposite,” he says. “It was to deliver good quality and value and then everything else will follow suit thereafter.” It certainly has, and Naples can thank the innovative, yet humble, Weiss for it.