NRMC still not closer to new CEO

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 24, 1999

The search for a permanent chief executive officer of Natchez Regional Medical Center is back to square one, said Billy Gillon, president of the NRMC board of trustees. A round of three interviews conducted at the beginning of December came to naught this week. Now, it may be well after Jan. 1 before the hospital finds a permanent CEO, Gillon said Thursday.

The NRMC board of trustees made an offer to one of the three candidates. &uot;And after consideration, he declined,&uot; Gillon said.

The first three interview have shown three key issues facing NRMC in recruiting the next CEO: understanding and appreciating the small size and racial diversity of the community, understanding the competition factor with local health care institutions and an appreciation for the political nature of a public, county-owned hospital, he said.

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&uot;A determining factor dealt with the hospital and where it is economically,&uot; Gillon said. &uot;Both of these guys had been there, done that.&uot;

Hospital trustees will cast a wider net for the next CEO of the 205-bed county-owned hospital by using more specific advertising. Gillon said he would expect the next round of interviews for the position to begin around the third week of January.

The next step for Quorum will be to review applications and expand the search into a more regional context.

&uot;We’ve received contact from another CEO at another Mississippi hospital who is interested in the position, and we’ve discussed the possibility of running ads in New Orleans, Jackson and the Mississippi Hospital Association newsletter,&uot; Gillon said. &uot;The view now is not necessarily to find someone within the Quorum system.&uot;

The board’s main goal in the CEO search is to find someone the board and medical staff can feel comfortable with, &uot;someone who can come into town and make NRMC a flagship hospital,&uot; Gillon said.

The hospital board still believes in its original goal to bring in someone from a public hospital in the South so they understand the political nature of hospitals such as NRMC, Gillon said.

&uot;Our relationship with board of supervisors is fine, but it is political,&uot; he said. &uot;Quorum is a company that manages hospitals across the country, and they receive unsolicited resumes on a continuous basis.&uot;

When the NRMC opening was posted within Quorum several months ago, 25 applications were filed with Quorum for the position.

&uot;Then, Chuck Ellis – who is in charge of Quorum hospitals in Mississippi – took the 25 and reduced it to 5,&uot; he said.

The NRMC board of trustees took that five and chose to interview three, one from Mississippi, one from Alabama and one from Arkansas.

&uot;Part of the criteria we had given them in the search process was to find somebody with background in public hospitals in Mississippi or one of the surrounding states,&uot; Gillon said.

The three candidates met with the hospital’s chief of staff and vice chief of staff, department heads and board of trustees.

Everybody felt comfortable with two out of the three candidates,&uot; Gillon said.

After the interviews, one of those two candidates indicated he wasn’t interested in the job.

&uot;This is a guy at Bolivar County Hospital in Cleveland who has been in the position eight years,&uot; he said.

Basically, the candidate indicated he was ready for a different situation and felt that NRMC would be too similar to his current situation in regard to hospital size, competitive factors and community composition, Gillon said.

&uot;This situation was so similar to Bolivar County eight years ago,&uot; he said. &uot;He’d been there and was looking to do something else.&uot;

The other candidate from Alabama was accustomed to living in communities of 200,000 and did not believe he could make the transition to a community of roughly 20,000, Gillon said.

Identities of CEO candidates interviewed so far have been kept confidential at the request of the candidates who occupy positions at other southeastern hospitals.