The Hall Render Leadership in Healthcare Award (2010)
Jeff Barber, President & CEO of Owensboro Medical Health System
How did winning a Medistar Award effect you either professionally, personally or both?
Throughout my career I am always humbled when recognized in any way. Receiving the MediStar award reflects on the outstanding job our employees are doing, responding to the vision established by our board of directors and the management team. I am privileged to be part of all of the great things happening in our organization. I can say that the MediStar award has provided continued encouragement for me to stay involved with our workforce and continue to lead by example.
Involvement in our wellness initiatives is a good example. I recently went for a walk with several of our employees. It was a simple walk, about a mile, as marked on the sidewalk around the hospital perimeter.
I know many of individuals routinely run 5Ks, triathlons, and such, so my 10-minute jaunt might not sound like much. But to me, it represented something very important because Owensboro Medical Health System is working to write a new page in the health of our community. With the need for healthcare services projected to grow exponentially over the next decade, the best preparation our community can do is to be proactive about our health. The healthier people are, the less they’ll need the hospital. And that will reduce costs and improve quality of life for everyone.
The walk I mentioned was part of a health initiative for called MILEstone, which wrapped up at the end of July. It challenged our employees to walk for their health and to track their mileage. As participants reach certain milestones, for instance, the 25-mile Club, they received prizes and recognition. The sidewalks circling the hospital and other OMHS sites have been marked so employees can easily keep track of the distances they walk.
Some 50 employees joined me for my walk, and it made me proud to see that show of support from our staff. Judging from the emails and comments I have received, our people are excited about setting a healthy example for the community to follow. They understand that our role as a community health provider is not only to provide great patient care but also to help build a healthier tomorrow. I can say with confidence that our employees are embracing this challenge.
I am especially proud of those employees who have taken the initiative to make changes in their own lives. I have heard from many who are working to overcome personal health challenges such as smoking, weight management, or a sedentary lifestyle. They’ve heard the message, and they’re getting it; I have no doubt that with the right attitude and a firm goal in mind, they will succeed.
What personal or professional developments have occurred since you won your MediStar award?
· OMHS sold the largest BB+ rated bond issue “ever” to finance the construction of its new hospital—$544,935,000.
· Construction of the new hospital began in April 2010 and continues to remain on or ahead of schedule. The building is scheduled for completion in 2012. The move-in date will likely be in the summer or fall of 2013.
· Served on selection committees for two local college presidents—Owensboro Community and Technical College, and Kentucky Wesleyan College.
· Received the Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Citizen Award.
· Served on the Executive Committee of the Kentucky Hospital Association and the Board of the Kentucky Hospital Association Solutions Group.
· Even with all the good news at OMHS, the most exciting happening this past year was the birth of my first granddaughter.