When someone needs to see a health care provider, Mike Murrill wants their first thought to be of AdventHealth.
“We need you to expect, as a patient, that you will get better care here than if you go somewhere else,” he said. “Many independent benchmarks indicate that to be true, but it’s up to us to deliver on that promise to every person, every time.”
As the new chief executive officer and president of AdventHealth Gordon, AdventHealth Murray and AdventHealth’s Southeast Region, Murrill aims to continue the health care system’s growth as a leader in whole-person care.
“What I really want to focus on as a region is, we have to be the best health care providers in the region, not just with our clinical outcomes, but also the expectation of when you come to one of our hospitals or physician practices, you’re expecting better care, safer care and that we know you,” he said.
That starts, he said, with community engagement to identify what health care needs are lacking in the communities served by AdventHealth in Northwest Georgia, Kentucky and North Carolina and then finding ways to provide the services needed to meet those needs.
“One of my personal goals is to be an impact for the greater good wherever I am,” he said.
He credits values instilled during his upbringing and opportunities to work with underserved populations during high school and college with helping him develop a servant leadership mindset.
Murrill graduated from a Seventh-day Adventist high school in Kansas and earned a business administration degree from Andrews University in Michigan in 2002. While earning his Master of Business Administration from the University of Colorado, he began an administrative residency program with an Adventist hospital in Denver, where he learned about hospital operations within surgical services, supply chain management and the finance department.
“All those things, from day one, reinforced the common mindset of, ‘How do you show up in your community? And how do you show up wherever you are?’” he said. “From day one, I felt the desire to be a good, influential member of the community.”
The early part of his 18-year career with AdventHealth focused on finance management. He spent the past nine years in executive leadership at hospitals outside of Chicago, assuming the role of CEO of two campuses there in February 2019.
“To think about having an impact on communities all across this part of the country was definitely intriguing to me,” he said of why he wanted to take on a regional leadership position.
Murrill, an outdoor enthusiast who enjoys camping and golf, said relocating with his wife, Melissa, and sons, Mason and Max, to such a beautiful part of the country that offered small-town Southern hospitality made the move to Northwest Georgia all the easier.
“One of the things we’re excited about is to engage in a different part of the country,” he said.
He credits his mom, a physical education teacher, with encouraging him at an early age to embrace the adventure in every opportunity.
“We just tried everything, and I loved that,” he said. “Most people find me to be a collaborator, wanting to work with people and alongside people and having fun with the work we’re doing. I love to engage in whatever I’m doing.”
Murrill has had to find creative ways to collaborate amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, however, due to his restricted ability to meet with civic groups and other community partners – common first steps for new hospital administrators.
“I’ve done a lot of Zoom introductions,” he said. “We have to think about how to do things more in smaller groups.”
He’s also had to be more intentional about how to keep moving forward with the organization’s goals to create healthier communities across the region while carrying out the AdventHealth mission of Extending the Healing Ministry of Christ.
“One of the things I’ve worked on with the team is how to stay visible and present through COVID-19,” Murrill said.
The novelty of the virus has tasked health care leaders across the country with implementing policies and procedures to mitigate the spread of the virus and keep their employees safe within their facilities while also convincing patients to not let the fear of getting sick prevent them from seeking care when they need it.
“My intention in the first 90 days was around communicating our goals and our role in the community to be a really safe and great health care partner for them amid a crisis like this,” he said.
Shortly before his relocation to Calhoun in June, AdventHealth Gordon began construction of its new cancer center.
“Cancer reaches into every tentacle of someone’s life, and it’s an experience we do not want anybody to go through alone,” Murrill said. “If you have cancer, our goal is to help you navigate that experience. We’re going to help you go through that experience mentally, physically, emotionally and even spiritually.”
Murrill said one way to improve the health of communities served by AdventHealth across the region is by offering specialized care and dedicated services like the ones provided in the cancer center.
“We need to ask, ‘How do we build the network around some of those major disease areas like cancer?’” he said. “How do we go about building physician services and adding those functions to the markets to support our community?”
He said everyone at AdventHealth has been gracious in granting him time to settle into the job, and he’s enjoyed getting to meet people within the community since his arrival.
“It didn’t take very long to just feel the warmth and welcoming of this community,” he said.
Murrill and his family looks forward to making Calhoun their home for many years to come.