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New Baptist Leadership Expands Health Care Services

The following is an excerpt from the Fall Issue of Memphis Crossroads. To see the original article or view the full magazine click here.

In recent months, Baptist Memorial Health Care brought on new leadership even as the health care industry is undergoing significant changes. Three of the newly appointed executives spoke about the challenges of maintaining a large corporation in a changing marketplace where attention to the individual and the community is paramount.

The newly appointed President and CEO, Jason Little, is only the fifth person to hold this position at Baptist. His vision is to seamlessly deliver quality care to the community. 

“There are a lot of changes in health care,” he said, “whether employers are figuring out how best to pay for coverage or individuals trying to find the best insurance for themselves. We’re excited because we believe when people make their own choices about care, Baptist is extremely well positioned to be a partner.”

Little cited, for example, the creation of the Select Health Alliance, a partnership between Baptist and about a thousand physicians in Memphis, “to guarantee patients and employers the kind of care they can expect to get.”

He also pointed to the investment in a $250 million electronic health record system that will be fully integrated.  

He said that Baptist’s growth will continue to change the landscape of health care in the Mid-South. “We have an opportunity to grow that network across the Mid-South that combines physicians and hospitals delivering this health care,” Little said. “In five years, I’d like us to be able to say we’re caring for this entire population with the right care at the right time in the right place for the right cost.”

Toward that end, Baptist is building more facilities, including new rehabilitation, pediatric and behavioral health structures. It’s also expanding into rural areas where there would otherwise be no significant health care services. 

Its main facility is Baptist Memphis, which is headed by Dana Dye, the hospital’s first female administrator and CEO who took the position in June. 

Its challenges, she said, are much like those of facilities around the country: a growing elderly population with growing health needs. “We have to be nimble in being prepared,” she said. “Health care is transitioning to outpatient settings even more than in the past and technology treatments are growing. We never dreamed five years ago we’d be doing minimally invasive surgery to replace heart valves. We have to be good stewards in outpatient settings and be good at deploying the latest health care technology and treatments.”

The economics of the region are also a factor in providing the best possible health care.  

“We’re putting a strong focus on a healthier community,” Dye said. “We push better and healthier diets, and have a stop smoking campaign. We want to get people to take advantage of preventive medicine.”

Reaching out to the community is second nature to Rev. Keith Norman who was named vice president of government affairs for Baptist, a newly created position. As pastor of First Baptist Church-Broad in the Binghamton neighborhood and president of the NAACP-Memphis chapter, he has long been active in community outreach. 

That effort, he said, is two-pronged. “We want to make sure we’re engaged with vendors and all the suppliers in our area who want to do business,” Norman said. “We work in that area and in bringing the faith community and other areas together around a health-centered agenda, making sure people are aware of the products we offer.”

As he put it: “Taking it to the streets is the idea.” For example, Baptist’s Cancer Center is reaching out to the community in an effort to improve survival rates.  

“Oftentimes, people suffer because of a lack of knowledge,” Norman said. “Now we can make sure we get the information to the community. Sometimes there are obstacles in rural and urban areas, such as transportation or no primary medical care. People might have symptoms but not know what those symptoms might lead to. We’re making this information available in churches and community centers.”

Norman’s duties in handling governmental affairs bring their own set of challenges. “Because Baptist wants to stay on the cutting edge,” he said, “we need someone to interface between existing boards and all this legislation that’s taking place so we can interpret it to the facilities as well as make sure we’re performing at an optimal level.”

For Little, the Baptist Memorial Health Care enterprise is built around trust and teamwork. “We want to be the provider of choice for the community,” he said. “When you look at what people look for today, they want a trusted partner, which Baptist has brought for 102 years with the leading edge of technology and facilities. Our team approach is key: When we function as a team, we’re able to do multidisciplinary care when it all comes together.”

Photo by: Troy Glasgow
Story by: Jon W. Sparks

Posted: 1/6/2015 9:20:24 AM | with 0 comments
Filed under: Baptist, Healthcare, leadership, new

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