A: I have been president and CEO of Tanner Health Systems since 1994. We certainly have grown dramatically in that time period, as our community has grown. We’ve expanded from two loosely associated hospitals to what will soon be a five-hospital system. We have grown in medical staff from less than 100 to more than 400 physicians. We’ve transformed into a regional medical center during that time period.
Q: What do you find to be the most rewarding part of your job?
A: Working with the community. As a community hospital, it’s starting initiatives and programs and seeing them play out over time. Through serving patients, that helps patients and families stay close to home for high quality health care so they don’t have to commute to Atlanta. I think it is very rewarding that people are better off today and healthier because of the programs that we have started. That really is what excites me every day when I get up, knowing that we are making a positive difference in our community as it relates to healthcare.
Q: What is the long-term vision for the hospital system – internally and externally?
A: We want to continue expanding services that we can offer to patients, like early diagnoses of diseases and taking advantage of technology so we can offer more to our patients. Internally, we are continuing to recruit the very best people and keep them in our community. That’s another part of the job that I really enjoy--I get to work with a lot of talented and well-trained individuals. Health care is a team sport, and it takes a talented team to deliver high quality healthcare each and every day.
Q: What is the responsibility you feel regarding the impact Tanner has on a community and region?
A: Improving access to healthcare. There is great evidence that substantiates the better access you have to healthcare, the more often you are able to visit your doctor and follow through with proper screenings such as mammograms and colonoscopies on a regular basis, the healthier life you’ll have. The next big frontier we are excited about is our “Get Healthy, Live Well” initiative. This is the concept of practicing healthier lifestyles, eating better, maintaining weight better, and being more active so that people in our community avoid some diseases all together. That could potentially be cardiovascular disease or certain types of diabetes. That is where I think health care is going... just think how much healthier you could be by following certain smart habits every day. That will be our focus over the next 5 to 10 years as a health system.
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
A: I enjoy anything outdoors: hunting, fishing, working on my farm. I like working with cattle and I’m starting to grow row crops such as soy beans. So anything where I get to be outside I truly enjoy. But spending time with my family is most important of all.