Dimas Ortega’s main priority is helping people. As vice president of finance for Sinai Health System, his seasoned finance skills are put to work behind the scenes as the organization works to serve patients in Chicago’s west and southwest sides.
“The more you learn, the more you can help people,” Ortega says simply.
Ortega has never sought grandiose titles or professional clout. Instead, he showed up for work, did the best he could, and pointed his efforts toward the mission of the organization. Like most young finance students, Ortega wasn’t sure at first exactly where or how he’d ultimately use his university training. But he believes he’s fortunate to have landed in healthcare, where the focus is always on patient care.
Ortega was granted his first opportunity in the field as an accounting assistant for Resurrection Healthcare, where he stayed for four years. During that time, he gained a foundational knowledge of how finance executives operate within the healthcare space—and of how vast and complex that space truly is. “Sometimes we don’t think of healthcare as a whole,” Ortega says. “We just think, ‘If we’re sick, we go to the ER.’ There’s a lot more that the healthcare industry does.”
Ortega’s next stint in the healthcare industry, at Swedish Covenant Hospital, helped further solidify his passion for this work: every day, he saw how his work helped both his colleagues and the hospital’s patients.
“That’s what I really love about healthcare,” Ortega says, “knowing that I am—little by little—making a difference.”
“The more you learn, the more you can help people.”
After ten years, though, Ortega was ready for a change. So, when United Therapies offered him an opportunity that included substantial professional development, he took a risk. Unfortunately, six months in, when the company was sold to private equity, Ortega was suddenly without a job for the first time in more than a decade.
“We all have to look at life as a learning experience—good and bad. If we only focus on the good, then we won’t be ready when something bad happens,” Ortega reflects. “It was the first time I had to look for a job in ten years. I was not necessarily prepared for it, but I embraced it. You can sit back and say, ‘Why me?’ or look at challenges as opportunities.”
Determined to make the most of the situation, Ortega took time to plan his next career move. Having developed a niche expertise at the intersection of finance and healthcare, he knew would stay in the industry he knew best—but only at an organization whose mission aligned with his professional values.
Sinai Health System caught Ortega’s eye. “The type of work being done [there] really interested me,” he says.
Ortega was hired to help stabilize Sinai’s finance division. He clarified processes, simplified procedures, and minimized costs. As he propelled growth, promotions followed in tandem. He went on to become controller, CFO, and finally VP of his division.
“Frontline workers are the real heroes,” Ortega emphasizes, “but my contribution to the patient is making sure we’re financially stable, that we have resources, and that I partner with the right leaders to help solve financial difficulties.”
“You can sit back and say, ‘Why me?’ or look at challenges as opportunities.”
In his current role, Ortega has worked with the operational program to foster a better understanding between departments. He has assembled teams with divergent skill sets, accelerated the audit process, and removed a layer of dust from age-old reporting techniques. Instead of going through the motions, Ortega inspires his team to approach the work thoughtfully. Moreover, with practical knowledge of the many layers within the finance function, he is happy to help where needed.
“I don’t mind getting my hands dirty and digging up accounts to reconcile,” says the VP. “I can do the work of an accountant if I can do the work of a vice president.”
By embodying an open leadership style, Ortega helps ensure that his team feels comfortable approaching him with new ideas. He enjoys open discussions and encourages disagreement. In this way, he is able to keep fine-tuning his own knowledge of the industry—which, in turn, supports Sinai in providing the best patient care across their network of hospitals, community clinics, and community institute.
Ortega’s passion for helping people echoes even outside the office. As treasurer of the board of directors for Latinos Progresando—a nonprofit organization that serves immigrants by providing high-quality, low-cost legal immigration services and other resources for the immigrant community—he is able to use his knowledge to the utmost. As he says, “If you have the God-given talent, why not use it for others?”
Looking to the future, Ortega is prepared to keep learning. Minimizing costs while providing high-level patient care will continue to be a challenge. But for Ortega, such challenges are opportunities—for learning, for growth, and for inspiration.
Xtend Healthcare is proud to partner with Dimas Ortega and his team at Sinai Health System, providing patients and staff with revenue cycle solutions. Thank you, Sinai, for including us in your extraordinary community.