I have spent most of my twenty-year career in health care. Health care has always been a dynamic industry that responds to an ever-changing set of challenges. COVID-19 challenged all of us to think differently and honor our commitment to provide care and save lives in a rapidly evolving landscape. These uncertainties have tested me as a leader and my hospital teams to respond to the rising and unexpected needs of the communities we serve.
In 2019, my family and I moved from Orlando, Florida, to Boulder County, Colorado, where I served as CEO of Avista Adventist Hospital. Avista has a talented team and a rich history of providing excellent care for its patients and community. After my wife, Suzie and I, along with your two young boys enjoyed a quiet Christmas in 2021, and as we prepared to celebrate the new year, we had no idea of the storm that was coming.
On the morning of December 30, the Marshall Fire was ignited in a field of grass on the south end of Boulder, Colorado. High winds over 100 miles per hour combined with a lack of precipitation that winter blew the flames immediately east toward Avista Adventist Hospital.
It wasn’t long before we realized the fire was heading in our direction. As leaders, we didn’t have time to run reports and create action plans, we just moved. The front-line team members worked in tandem with our local emergency personnel to keep our patients safe, prioritizing our most vulnerable preemie infants in the neonatal intensive care unit and their mothers.
One of the most selfless acts of service that I witnessed that day was watching members of our team help with the evacuation to ensure the safety of our patients while knowing their own homes were at risk. Over a dozen of our staff ended up losing their homes.
In just two hours, our team evacuated all patients and staff. The fires came within a few feet of the hospital, and fortunately, the only damage sustained was due to the extensive smoke and soot. It was nothing short of a miracle that the hospital wasn’t entirely consumed by the flames. For nearly three weeks we remained closed for extensive cleaning and decontamination to ensure the safety of our patients and team members.
In a two-day period, the Marshall Fire destroyed more than 6,000 acres, over 1,000 buildings, and caused more than $2 billion in damages. It disrupted our lives and reminded me that when things are beyond our control, the best plan is to lean on the One who is.
Health care has been in a crisis since COVID-19. Together, workforce turnover, supply chain climbing costs and increased expenses have impacted every health care company in the nation. AdventHealth has weathered the storm as well as any health care system in the country, and I know that it is because of our focus on caring for the people who need us most.
Our mission of Extending the Healing Ministry of Christ and our brand promise of helping our patients and our communities feel whole are what make us different. At its’ core, our mission challenges us to invest in our communities’ health and wellbeing and this is the work that excites me the most.
The community of Rome and Floyd County is blessed to have several options for health care services. Patients have a choice, and in many communities that’s not always the case.
We know that patients prioritize two things when they choose where to go for care:
Quality care and patient experience are paramount to patients. Our patients go where they know they’ll receive the highest level of expert care. AdventHealth Redmond was named a Top Hospital by Fortune and Merative two years in a row and has numerous awards and designations from the Joint Commission including acute myocardial infarction, vascular surgery and heart failure. AdventHealth Redmond’s stroke care has been nationally recognized by the Joint Commission and American Heart Association. Clearly, our community trusts AdventHealth Redmond to take care of them when every second counts in a life-threatening emergency.
Since I have been here, I have heard numerous stories of the incredible care our patients have received at AdventHealth Redmond. These stories speak to the generous hearts of our team and the role that our faith-based care has played in the compassionate care they have had in our facility. This care is extended not only by our doctors and nurses, but by our nutritional services, environmental services, rehabilitation, surgery and imaging teams.
My commitment to you is that AdventHealth Redmond will continue to build on its long-time and rich history of providing expert care to the people of Northwest Georgia and Alabama. I look forward to working with other community leaders to advance the health of our community, and I am grateful for the warm welcome I have already received.
I am eager to get to know you and your families and become a part of this vibrant community. My family and I are excited to move to Rome and put down roots. We are currently searching for a home in Floyd County, and we can’t wait to get settled and begin taking advantage of all that Northwest Georgia has to offer.
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