New hospital CEO holds question and answer session with staff

Published 11:34 pm Friday, June 6, 2008

NATCHEZ — After months of rumor, unrest and doubts about the future, employees at Natchez Regional Medical Center got an opportunity to have their voices heard this week.

On Thursday and Friday the hospital’s new CEO, Scott Phillips, hosted several meetings with staff members to bring them up to speed on the hospital’s restructuring plans and answer any of their questions.

Both Phillips and staff members described the meetings as something that brought a calming sense to the hospital.

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“They have a right to know what’s going on,” Phillips said.

Over two days Phillips estimated he had an opportunity to meet with three-fourths of the hospital’s staff.

Phillips said the meetings were essentially called to give the staff an accurate view of precisely what is happening during the hospital’s restructuring period.

Phillips said he wanted the staff to have an accurate picture of why certain things were happening at the hospital and what staff could expect in the future.

Some who attended the meeting said it was more revealing than they expected it to be.

Patricia Marks, a nurse, attended one of the meetings and said she found it to be extremely informative.

While Phillips did meet with the staff when he first took his new position, Marks said this was the first time staff had an opportunity for a question and answer session.

“I think we all learned a lot,” she said.

Rosalie Smith, a pharmacist, said the meeting helped her to gain a new understanding as to why the hospital needed to be sold and how change was integral to the hospital’s long-term success.

And while staff had an opportunity to question Phillips they also had a message.

Tammy Lee, a nurse, said she wanted people to know that the reduction in staff at the hospital in no way impacts the hospital’s ability to treat patients.

“The care we give has not changed,” she said.

Phillips said he wanted to wait until all of the layoffs were completed before having the meetings.