Brian Riordan steering Riordan Clinic to financial health

riordanWICHITA — The founders of the new Vis Clinic told Have You Heard? last week that they left Riordan Clinic (the former Center for the Improvement of Human Functioning International) in part because of an increased focus on business and a decreased emphasis on patient care.

CEO Brian Riordan, son of the late clinic founder Hugh Riordan, wasn’t immediately available for comment Friday but is now.

Patient care has “always been a focus, and we’ve never done anything to diminish that or sacrifice it,” Riordan says. “In fact, it’s improving.”

He is, though, paying “more attention to nickels and dimes.”

Without that, Riordan says, the clinic would cease to exist.

“We have reserves, but the operating loss is substantial,” he says.

Riordan won’t discuss specific numbers, but since he took over in January, he says, the clinic is “much, much improved” financially.

“We had a huge loss in 2009. We’ll have a much smaller loss in 2010.”

By next year, Riordan thinks the clinic will no longer be losing money, “which is kind of a miraculous recovery from 2009.”

One step toward financial wellness was to convert the clinic’s restaurant to a smoothie bar, which has been an unpopular move with some.

In addition to being a money drain, Riordan says, “I thought it had gotten off mission.”

Even though the restaurant offered healthier meals than a lot of Wichita restaurants, he says it wasn’t all that healthy.

“I want to be much truer to the mission, which is about health and wellness.”

He says the clinic has been a great help to people who have diseases like cancer, but he says he wants to focus more on preventing illnesses rather than treating them.

The clinic had 48 employees when Riordan arrived. Since then, he says, nine quit, nine were fired and 11 have been hired.

“The truth of the matter is there was no turnover for five years before I got there or even longer than that,” Riordan says. “It had become a very inwardly focused culture.

“I think the priorities of the staff should always be the customer, the organization and finally your own needs, and often times that order was confused or inverted.”

Riordan says it’s good to hear about Vis Clinic, which is opening in a couple of weeks south of Il Vicino and Gessler Drug Co. near Douglas and Oliver.

He says he likes to see other people successful in the same area as his clinic.

“The more people who do well at it the better,” Riordan says. “It’s a great thing for Wichita.”