Paris, TN — Engagement was the theme of the evening as Henry County Medical Center Board of Trustees interviewed candidate and current Chief Financial Officer Lisa Casteel for the position of Chief Executive Officer. Thomas Gee, current CEO, will retire from this position in October after 25 years of service to the hospital, community and region.
Gee, who was unable to attend the meeting, provided a letter of support for Casteel that Phil Wichlan, Board Chairman, shared with the group Thursday evening. The interview process, which lasted about 1 ½ hours, gave Casteel the opportunity to discuss her leadership qualities and abilities as well as her vision for HCMC and the community, all of which encompass engagement. Engagement of staff, physicians, and patients to continue the foundation of growth and services that HCMC and the community have become accustomed to, but ever mindful of the changing environment of healthcare.
Casteel pointed out that healthcare is a very unique industry and one of service, which is a passion for her. Staying engaged with patients and employees will be a challenge and has been a challenge over the last few years with the change in the healthcare environment including reimbursement, delivery of care, technology, employee turnover, and consumerism. All these have contributed to disengagement and Casteel wants to help be a part of the movement to create a new vision of “us” that focuses on the delivery of great care that is local and dedicated to serving all of “us” from administration, to staff, to patients, to physicians, and the region.
Casteel has served HCMC as CFO for 11 years. She is a 1989 graduate of the University of Memphis with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accountancy and she earned her Masters of Business Administration degree with a concentration in health care administration in 2014 from Bethel University.
She worked as a certified public accountant for Deloitte and Touche in Memphis from 1989 to 1991 and for KPMG in Nashville and in Shreveport, La., from 1991 to 1993. Before coming to HCMC, she served as Controller and Compliance Officer of Gateway Health System in Clarksville, TN.
With her education and experiences, Casteel’s leadership style is one of relationships and forward thinking, which she believes will help her to lead the organization to a strategic vision that looks at all avenues and opportunities to continue delivering local care. She noted in her interview that HCMC does face several challenges including a changing healthcare environment, cultural issues, turnover, and an aging infrastructure. She views this challenge as an opportunity to serve, to listen, and to problem solve. She is in it for the long term and is committed to investing time and effort to turn the organization around in areas that need improvement, starting at the top.
When asked about ancillary services that continue to be a cause for concern with finances, Casteel discussed the relationships and synergies amongst the various service lines. EMS and the Healthcare Center may have losses, but those losses ultimately help the hospital to show profitability. The goal is to find that balance between acceptable losses that keep the healthcare system in our community running more smoothly. If EMS was run by another entity there could be a large backlog in the Emergency Department, causing a further strain on our abilities to care for patients. If the Healthcare Center wasn’t owned by HCMC, many patients would be stranded at the hospital with nowhere to go because no other facility would accept them, ultimately eating away any profits the hospital might see. The relationship is very complex and Casteel is committed to keeping these services in the community by investigating new projects, legislation, or revenue streams to ensure that these services continue to be here.
Ultimately, Casteel, if selected as the next CEO, plans to hire a Chief Operating Officer to assist with developing a culture of engagement at HCMC. With all the growth, addition of physician practices, and the need to work on the many challenges facing the organization, the need to replace the position that was vacated by Mike Garner after his retirement from HCMC will need to be filled. Relationship building with a new image of “us” will be front and center at HCMC.
The HCMC Board of Trustees has been in succession planning and the search for a CEO for several months and hopes to have a decision at the next board meeting set for Thursday, February 23 at 5 p.m. in the HCMC Board Room.
Located in Paris, TN, Henry County Medical Center is a progressive, integrated healthcare organization committed to serving the healthcare needs of Henry County and the adjoining region. Including a 142-bed hospital and other facilities, the medical center provides a variety of outpatient services, as well as inpatient care. Henry County Medical Center is a county-owned and operated nonprofit in. For more information: www.hcmc-tn.org.