In mid-October, the Tennessee Hospital Association (THA) honored hospital and health system executives, as well as a collaborative COVID-19 response team, during its virtual 2020 Annual Meeting.
"During this 82nd annual meeting - with the theme of 'Extraordinary Time. Extraordinary Care.' - THA recognizes the outstanding work and contributions of healthcare leaders and public health officials who have served diligently during a year that has proven to be quite remarkable," said THA President and CEO Wendy Long, MD. "Our 2020 Awards of Excellence winners have excelled and outperformed despite these unique circumstances brought on by the current healthcare crisis, and we acknowledge their tireless efforts to improve health outcomes for Tennessee residents."
THA President's Award was presented to the THA - Tennessee Department of Health Remdesivir Rapid Response Team, which partnered in collective response to strategically distribute the drug as quickly as possible to hospitals statewide.
The CEO of Distinction Award, the association's highest honor recognizing leadership and service by an individual member, went to Susan Peach, CEO of Sumner Regional Medical Center in Gallatin. Citing her work in advancing the quality and availability of healthcare services to residents of Sumner County and northern Middle Tennessee during her eight years at the helm, the veteran hospital administrator has turned the hospital into a profitable, self-sustaining organization while improving the diversity of healthcare services provided to the community.
The Patient Safety Leadership Award recognizes an individual who has taken extraordinary and innovative steps to make patient safety and quality a top priority in their organization. This year, the honor wen to William Beauchamp, DO, orthopedic surgeon, NorthCrest Medical Center in Springfield. THA honored Beauchamp for his unwavering support and advocacy of patient care and safety and innovative approach to improve processes and protocols.
The Diversity Champion Award recognizes leaders who have made outstanding contributions in leadership and workplace diversity, equity and inclusion, and demonstrated commitment to a diverse workforce. This year, THA recognized Sherri Neal, chief diversity officer for HCA Healthcare. She has served as a tireless champion of diversity, equity and inclusion for patients, colleagues and the larger community. In 2018, Neal established the BRAVE Conversations Program at HCA Healthcare, which provides a forum for employees to share perspectives and discuss complex and challenging topics. The program received first place in the Profiles in Diversity Journal's annual Innovations in Diversity & Inclusion Award in 2018 and currently is being expanded across the company.
Other honorees across the state were:
- Senior Executive of Distinction Award: David Hall, COO at the University of Tennessee Medical Center Knoxville.
- Trustee of Distinction Award: Trudy Harper, board chair at Siskin Hospital of Physical Rehabilitation in Chattanooga.
- Nurse Leader of Distinction Award: Deborah Deal, chief nursing executive at Parkridge Health System in Chattanooga.
- Clinical Nurse of Distinction Award: Janet Kramer-Mai, director of oncology services for Erlanger Health System in Chattanooga.
- THA Small and Rural Hospital Leadership Award: Freda Russell, CEO and chief nursing officer for Three Rivers Hospital in Waverly.
In other news from the annual meeting, Paul Korth, CEO at Cookeville Regional Medical Center, was installed as chairman of the THA Board of Directors. He has more than 30 years of experience in healthcare. Before being named CEO in 2013, he served as the hospital's chief financial officer for 13 years. A member of the THA Board of Directors for many years, he also was appointed by Gov. Bill Haslam to serve a three-year term on the Tennessee Health Services and Development Agency.
THA chairman-elect is Jason Little, president and CEO at Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation, Memphis. Only the fifth president in Baptist's long history, the health system has grown from to a 22-hospital, $3.1 billion integrated healthcare system with 18,000 team members and more than 5,000 affiliated physicians under his leadership.