Building Community that Maximizes Patient Care
Updated: Jan 15, 2020
CEO of Tristar Horizon Medical Center
Born in Durham, NC (but moved 9 times), including time in GA as well as TX.
Moved to Nashville at the age of 15
Went to college at Samford University
Got an MBA at Belmont University
Is a Certified Pubic Accountant
Three time recipient of the Becker's List award "Top 40 under 40" for Hospital Executives
Recipient of the American College of Healthcare Executives Regents Award in 2018
Loves to play golf, hunt and spend time at the lake with the family
What were some of the key influences to lead you to becoming the CEO of a hospital?
From a young age I remember my father, Dewey Allen Greene, being the CEO of a hospital, and I always had the dream of following in his footsteps. As is the case with most young boys, my dad was my hero and I wanted to do what he did. At a young age he was the CEO at a hospital in south Georgia, then he went on to make a few moves to Atlanta, Texas and then to Nashville when I was a sophomore in high school. I love strategy, relationships, and helping people and healthcare provided the perfect opportunity at the intersection of helping people and developing a business. I had the vision of being a hospital CEO so when I went to college I was very intentional to major in business management and accounting and initially worked with Ernst & Young. I later joined HCA in financial roles, completed my MBA from Belmont, and sought to cross over into operations. Shortly thereafter I was offered a job as the Associate Administrator of a hospital in Atlanta which then shifted to the same position at another Atlanta hospital where I eventually became COO. After seven years, I got back home to the Nashville area as COO of TriStar Skyline Medical Center and that led to the CEO position here at TriStar Horizon 4.5 years ago.
What makes your hospital unique in our community?
It is the people here at Horizon that make us a fantastic hospital. Typically the hospital is caring for the community but in our case, it is the community caring for the community. Our staff is very local to the Dickson community- roughly 80% of our five-hundred employees live here in the area. Much of the time our team is caring for their very own. This unique connection creates intense loyalty, commitment, and pride in how we care for our patients. Our culture is what sets us apart from other hospitals, being recognized as a perennial leader in employee engagement for HCA
How do you live out the HCA mission statement of--- “Above all Else, We are committed to care and the improvement of human life"?
Even though HCA is a vastly large company, the commitment to doing the right thing for our patients as well as our staff is consistent throughout. I have almost 19 years with HCA and would not be here if we did not put the patient first. I live out this mission first by ensuring the way I lead reflects the mission of HCA and second, by ensuring our entire team embodies our commitment to the care and improvement of human life. I love strategy and growth but every decision we make is first guided by how it impacts the patient. We have a unique opportunity to lead in a way that ensures clinical excellence, quality, and an environment that favorably impacts patients and their families in what can be some of the most trying times of their lives. Healthcare is a calling and I’m proud to be part of an incredible company like HCA.
What are your goals for the hospital?
We have four specific very clear priorities: 1) Protect mission and culture, 2) to be the best in quality and service, 3) Develop clinical / specialty depth, and 4) to become the regional hospital for Western Middle Tennessee. Ultimately, we want to be the hospital the community trusts and believes in during their most pivotal moments in life.
TriStar Horizon is the only hospital in the 140 mile stretch between Nashville and Jackson, TN, so we have developed key clinical capabilities to be able to provide the services that many people in the region desperately need.
What are some of your accomplishments while at HCA in the Nashville area?
While at TriStar Skyline, I was part of the team that developed a Level II trauma program as well as the state’s first comprehensive stroke center. These experiences have tied in naturally to the advancements at TriStar Horizon.
We added a Level 3 Trauma Center at Horizon.
We added a Level 2 Neonatal ICU at Horizon.
We opened a free standing emergency room at our Natchez campus.
We expanded our cath lab coverage, which will be 24/7 later this year.
We added a dedicated and specialized joint replacement and orthopedic center.
We made significant advancements in our oncology program, including the launch of stereotactic radiation therapy, the development of PET/CT services, and an oncology navigator, to name a few.
We added fourteen new surgeons over four years.
Four consecutive years of the highest patient safety award, an “A” in Leapfrog.
What is the culture that you infuse into your staff?
I find it critical to care for the people who serve and work here that ultimately care for our patients. A smile and a kind word are free and I constantly speak to everyone and check in with everyone here at the hospital, whether they are a lead surgeon or are cleaning the floors. Attitude, compassion, and kindness are contagious and the cumulative result of these attributes equals culture, which defines the care our patients receive – and they deserve the best. I also constantly challenge our team to never be satisfied with where we are. We celebrate the “wins” but are constantly considering what’s next; what service line expansion, technology addition, new access point, quality improvement, or physician recruit, etc.
What does a normal day look like?
One of the things that I love about my job is that no two days look alike. The diversity of my responsibility adds constant excitement to my work. Whether I'm walking the halls and checking in with the team, or recruiting physicians and developing service lines, or being involved out in the community, it’s always a full day. I love the diversity of what I do. I am on four different non-profit boards in the community. While my role is overseeing the team strategically, clinically and operationally the other things I am involved in keep everything fresh and new. While no two days are alike, a typical day has me waking up around 4:30am to get a workout in before I get to the hospital around 7:00 with a day filled with meetings, bed huddle, recruiting, leadership team meetings, physician meetings, etc. Some days take me out into the community, others are non-stop here at the hospital, and I also have the opportunity to participate in TriStar system initiatives, which I enjoy. It is a high paced environment and the diversity, successes, and challenges alike continue to motivate me.
How do you try and maintain a balanced life outside of work?
I have an amazing wife of seventeen years, Amy, and three wonderful kids- Riley Kate, Davis and Ellie Rose. The pace of life with kids activities is challenging and seems to be a common theme with everyone I know. Amy is a nurse by trade and worked early in our marriage, but now is able to run the household and care for our kids which is really what allows me to do what I do. I firmly believe that I need to maximize the time that I have. So I try to be fully present when I am home. I am intentional with my time with the family with my phone put away and not just sitting in front of the TV. My father taught me that kids spell love, T-I-M-E, and so I work hard to be present every chance I get. Early in my career I was too caught up in my work and was motivated by career success but as I’ve matured (or aged….), my perspective has changed and while work and career success aren’t bad, they aren’t what’s most important.
Have you ever been close to quitting? How did you stay engaged and push through?
HCA is a great company and has been so good to me for 18 years. The individuals who stay and commit to a career are always well taken care of and do well professionally. I have an entrepreneurial spirit and so at one time considered doing a start-up company running joint venture vascular access centers with nephrologists. It went so far that I actually told my former boss at the time that I wanted to leave and do this and he gave me his blessing and told me that I would have a home if I needed to come back. We had really young kids at the time and I came very close to pulling the trigger, but when it got down to it I decided to stay with HCA and don't regret that decision at all. So while I nearly left to pursue another opportunity, I have never been close to quitting all together. I love what I do and find satisfaction in it. The relationships are very important to me. We all have components of our jobs that we don't particularly enjoy but are necessary parts of our jobs. Luckily, the many great things about my job far outweigh the nuances that may be more challenging. I have always enjoyed my work and consider it a pleasure, a joy and an honor to do what I do.
What motivates you?
Motivation is really hard to teach. When I am recruiting I am looking for someone who has an engine that runs hard all the time. People usually either have drive and motivation and they work hard or they don't have those characteristics. My motivation is intrinsic to who I am. I have always wanted to work hard and be assertive but early in my career I had way too much focus on me and my personal growth. As I have grown as a person and as a leader I have learned to be “content” in where I am professionally and to turn my focus to supporting those around me. My heart for what we do for our patients is a clear driver in motivation for me but I have also learned that I get great joy supporting other capable leaders and watching them grow and realize success.
In what ways do you hope to see practicing medicine evolve in the future?
The current healthcare model is extremely complicated and clearly is going to experience dramatic change now as well as into the coming years. We need to be smarter about how we deliver evidence based care and how we control utilization and cost. On the clinical side, the exponentially growing transparency around quality and resulting clinical improvements is something I see continuing to evolve and escalate in the coming years.
Who has influenced you the most in the medical world?
As mentioned earlier, my father certainly influenced me greatly with my career decisions and pursuit. In addition to that, when I was the COO at Eastside Medical Center in Atlanta I was greatly influenced by Kim Ryan the CEO there at the time. She was a nurse by trade and a quiet leader. Previously, she was the COO at Tulane Medical Center when Hurricane Katrina hit and led the command center and the successful evacuation of over 400 patients at the time. Kim’s background as a nurse gave her a laser focus on the care of patients. Each time I had a new idea or strategy she would ask the same question, “How will this impact the patient”. She was pivotal in my career in helping to give me that patient-focused perspective on leadership.
Getting to Know the CEO:
Who is the most fascinating person you’ve met?
I wouldn’t say I “met” her but I had the chance to hear Condoleezza Rice speak recently and I was in awe of her intellect, perspective, personal history, and poise. Absolutely fascinating.
What was the last book you really got into?
Of all of the books I’ve read, I always go back to Jim Collins “Good to Great” and continue to reflect on many leadership principles taught in this book. The “window and mirror” philosophy provides great insight and visibility into a leader.
What are some movies you really enjoyed?
A Few Good Men, Top Gun, and Driving Miss Daisy
What amazing adventures have you been on?
Time in the Caribbean is always enjoyable but I wouldn’t classify those as “amazing adventures.”
What hobbies would you like to get into if you had the time?
I’m a novice guitar player and would really like to invest in this when I have more time.
I’ve always wanted to be a private pilot……..and will take this on sooner rather than later.
Favorite Vacation Destination?
Jade Mountain, Saint Lucia.
Tims Ford Lake
Favorite Restaurants in Nashville?
J. Alexanders, nothing overly fancy but definitely one of the best and for many years!
Among your friends, what are you best known for?
Being an old soul & always going to bed early.
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