Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Jennie Stuart finance chief resigning

By Nick Tabor, New Era Senior Staff Writer
Sam Brown, who has overseen all of Jennie Stuart Medical Center’s financial affairs for the last 15 years, will be leaving the hospital Nov. 2 to work for a medical system in Texas.
Eric Lee, the hospital’s president and chief executive officer, praised Brown’s qualities as a manager and his skill at communicating with the board of trustees. Beyond Brown’s advanced knowledge of health finance, Lee believes these leadership qualities will make him hard to replace.
“It’s not just about bookkeeping,” Lee said Tuesday. “I’ve teased Sam about wanting a clone for his replacement.”

Brown’s wife, Sharon, joined the hospital’s marketing staff about a year ago. Sharon Brown came here from Texas, and the move will put her closer to family, Sam Brown said.
“It’s going to be hard to walk away,” he said. “Hopkinsville’s been good to me, and Jennie Stuart’s been very good to me.”
Sam Brown has served on boards of the United Way, Hopkinsville Community College and the YMCA, he said. He and Sharon attend First Baptist Church.
Sam Brown came to the hospital in 1997 as an employee of Quorum Health Resources, the Nashville company Jennie Stuart pays for management services. He grew up in Manchester, Tenn., but he came here via Lake Jackson, Texas, near Houston.
Lee was vice president of development and operations at the time.
“He and I were side-by-side colleagues and developed a fast friendship,” Lee said.
From watching Brown, Lee learned about budgeting for project management and operations, and about communicating with trustees, among other subjects. He also admired the way Brown listened to staff members and guided them with gentleness.
Board chairwoman Theresa Nichol echoed Lee’s praise about Brown’s communication skills. He seems supremely organized, poised to make financial recommendations, in his presentations to the board.
“He’s just really on top of it,” Nichol said. “Because of his work, I think that finding a replacement will be easier.”
For one tangible benefit, Brown helped the hospital rise out of the deficit from which it operated in two of the last four years, Lee said. It’s now in the black.
Jennie Stuart pays Quorum primarily to provide a CEO and a CFO, Lee said. This way board members and administrators don’t have to conduct complex recruitment processes themselves.
A Quorum employee in Brentwood, Tenn., who specializes in recruiting CFOs, has already started the process of filling Brown’s slot, Lee said. The company will advertise nationally and select maybe 10 candidates’ applications. The board of trustees will narrow those down to about four or six, then the interviews will start, Lee said.
Successful candidates will likely have undergraduate degrees in finance or accounting, and they may well have master’s degrees in business or health administration. Quorum will also seek candidates with five to 20 years’ experience in health care organizations, Lee said. He expects it to take about four months.
“Jennie Stuart’s going to be attractive,” Lee said. “We’re a good-sized hospital in a good-sized market.”
Brown will become the regional CFO for the East Texas Medical Center’s Northern Hospital Group in Tyler, Texas. There he will oversee multiple hospitals.

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