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KH board could name interim CEO today

Posted: November 21, 2013 5:09 p.m.
Updated: November 22, 2013 5:00 a.m.

The KershawHealth Board of Trustees could name its choice for interim chief executive officer (CEO) of the healthcare organization today. The board voted to narrow the field to two finalists during its one regular meeting of the month Tuesday. After contacting them Wednesday, the board publically announced that Terry J. Gunn and David E. Loving are the two candidates it is considering for the interim CEO position.

The vote to determine the finalists came after a more than two and a half hour executive session at the end of a nearly four-hour meeting. Board Chair Karen Eckford previously reported that the board considered some 28 candidates. The board’s executive search committee ultimately interviewed five of those candidates. The full board interviewed Gunn on Nov. 13; Loving on Nov. 14; and a third candidate, former Palmetto Health CEO Kester S. Freeman Jr., on Oct. 31.

Following Tuesday’s vote to determine two finalists, Eckford announced that the full board would hold a special called meeting at 8 a.m. today “regarding a personnel matter related to the interim CEO search.” Eckford confirmed in a brief phone conversation Wednesday afternoon that the board does intend to take some type of action following Friday’s executive session.

Along with narrowing the field of candidates to two finalists, the board also voted unanimously to authorize Eckford to enter into an agreement regarding a contractual matter involving surgeons. Eckford explained during Wednesday’s phone call that there are several potential agreements the board is having her look into but that none are at the point where any physicians or practices can be publically mentioned.

About the finalists

“The board has been very impressed with the exceptional expertise of all of the candidates we considered,” Board Chair Karen Eckford said in Wednesday’s press release. “The interim CEO will be critical to the future of KershawHealth, and each of these final candidates embodies a wealth of healthcare experience that will prove invaluable in this transition. We appreciate the time they devoted to this process and to helping the board understand their thoughts on KershawHealth and the healthcare environment.”

According to the press release and copies of the finalist’s resumes the board provided, Gunn is currently the executive chairman and senior operating partner of Applied Healthcare Solutions (AHS) and executive advisor with Charter Resource Group (CRG). AHS is a hospital management and consulting company that utilizes various platforms to create a favorable business model for rural hospitals and regional health systems. Gunn’s resume indicates the company is located in Tulsa, Okla., and that he joined the firm in 2009. His resume stated that while working for the company, AHS, among other achievements, improved the profitability of client hospital by “almost 600 (percent) through application of our unique business model” while “establishing (a) new business model showcasing expertise in rural hospital management, revenue cycle excellence and information systems deployment.”

CRG provides consulting and coaching services to healthcare CEOs and entrepreneurs. Gunn’s resume stated that achievements there included working with the CEO of a privately held healthcare organization to “hone the strategic sales process and gain access to key health systems across the country, provide transition guidance for a newly placed executive director in a multi-hospital academic system, facilitate leadership team development in a clinical department for an academic medical center, and provided executive coaching for the CEO of a rural community hospital.

Gunn served in multiple senior executive positions with Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), a Fortune 100 company that operates hospitals and freestanding surgery centers across the U.S. Through HCA, Gunn served as CEO of hospitals in Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina. He most recently served as president of the HCA Carolinas Market and CEO of Trident Health System in Charleston.

Gunn’s resume said that as president of the HCA Carolina Market, he launched four branded strategic service lines and a comprehensive sales program resulting in a 3.8 percent increase in admissions and 2.2 percent increase in emergency visits; introduced three Six Sigma “black belts” to lead operational excellence efforts, resulting in an 8 percent gain in operating room case load, 7 percent gain in outpatient diagnostic center procedure volume and 10 percent improvement in emergency department visits; and achieved an annual earnings growth of 4.1 percent.

As CEO of Trident, according to his resume, Gunn reorganized the health system to increase accountability for performance and reduce bureaucracy; established several new outpatient posts, including workplace wellness clinics, geriatric center and outpatient burn clinic; nearly tripled the number of primary care practice sites affiliated with Trident; transformed a “dysfunctional” cardiac/open heart program into an “integrated and growing service line;” and generated annual earnings growth of 3.9 percent.

Prior to working at Trident, Gunn served as CEO of HCA’s Doctors Hospital, from 2001 to 2004. There, according to Gunn’s resume, he “launched a new vision for the organization to create a caring environment where healing occurs;” transformed a regional burn center into the “busiest burn trauma center in the country;” built a sports medicine program in conjunction with the company’s Human Motion Institute; instituted special staffing pools and incentives to eliminate all clinical agency staffing resulting in $300,000 monthly savings; and delivered annual earnings growth of 15.3 percent.

Gunn’s career started in Memphis, Tenn., in 1988 as an administrative resident of Baptist Memorial Health Care System. He then became an administrative assistant at Baptist’s medical center and then assistant administrator of the system’s East hospital. In 1993, he moved to Nashville, Tenn., as assistant administrator for Donelson Hospital/Summit Medical Center. Gunn earned his first CEO position in 1995 as head of Stones River Hospital in Woodbury, Tenn.; in 1997, he became CEO of River Park Hospital in McMinnville, Tenn.

Gunn graduated from the University of Oklahoma, received a master’s degree in healthcare administration from Washington University in St. Louis, and is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE).

According to his biography on CRG’s website, Gunn and his family have continued to live in Summerville. He and his wife have two sons.

Loving has family ties to Camden. He is the brother-in-law of Jim McAlpine, an internal medicine physician and former CEO of Sentinel Health Partners. McAlpine once served on the KershawHealth Board of Trustees.

Loving served as CEO of Hugh Chatham Memorial Hopsital in Elkin, N.C., from 2009 until 2013 while working Alliant Management Services. According to his resume, Loving produced an earnings before interest, depreciation and amortization margin averaging 10 percent for the Alliant System and 14 percent for Hugh Chatham. He also, among other things, expanded the affiliated/employed provider group from 17 to 31 providers through acquisitions, recruitment and new practice initiation; directed a $1.3 million “turnaround” to profitability of physician practices through contract renegotiation, midlevel utilization, and volume and reimbursement improvements; reduced hospital costs by $1.5 million; achieved a 90th-plus percentile ranking for “likelihood to recommend this hospital” from patients (Press Ganey survey); and achieved a five-star quality rating for Hugh Chatham’s nursing center in both 2011 and 2012.

Loving has also served as chief administrative officer of Mercy Health Partners/Baptist Hospital West in Knoxville, Tenn., (2008-2009) where he was responsible for strategic plan implementation and operational leadership. According to Loving’s resume, there he helped achieve growth of 49 percent in admissions, 39 percent in surgical cases, 62 percent in outpatient visits, 37 percent in deliveries and 22 percent in emergency department visits. Loving also improved productivity by 3 percent while reducing supplying expenses by 3 percent; facilitated surgical services improvements resulting in more than 85 percent overall utilization; and implemented $15 million in capital projects, including an ICU expansion, cardiology, imaging, surgery and sleep lab.

In addition, Loving served as CEO of Meadowview Regional Medical Center in Maysville, Ky., a 101-bed hospital operated by Lifepoint Hospitals Inc. In his resume, he listed achievements there as including being named Lifepoint’s “Most Productive Hospital” for three fiscal years; recruited 20 physicians, increasing active staff to 48 physicians, including the first pulmonary/critical care and nephrology physicians, and maintained a 90 percent retention rate; and planned and implemented new services, including a 64-slide CT, sleep lab, inpatient dialysis, plus obtaining certificates of need for inpatient rehabilitation and MRI.

Loving also spent nearly a decade with Community Systems Inc., serving as CEO or executive director of hospitals in Alabama and Florida.

Loving graduated from Furman University in Greenville and received his master’s in business administration from Indiana State University. Like Gunn, he is an ACHE fellow.

A newspaper report from earlier this year showed that Loving, his wife and two children were living in Elkin, N.C., where Hugh Chatham is located.

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