Dr. Hal Leftwich has been named Fishermen's Hospital's new Chief Executive Officer.

Board’s focus on renewed community relationship

Fishermen’s Community Hospital this week has named its new CEO.

Dr. Hal Leftwich has been named Fishermen's Hospital's new Chief Executive Officer.

Dr. Hal Leftwich will take the reigns on Jan. 1, 2012, when Scott Landrum, who’s served as chief transitional officer, leaves his post on Dec. 31.

“He successfully led several small hospitals through major challenges, was a hospital CEO or vice president at four Florida hospitals, and has the proven skills and leadership abilities to take Fishermen’s Community Hospital to the next level,” said Michael Cunningham, Board of Trustees chairman.

Members of the board  spoke with The Weekly to emphasize that the focus right now is on patient care.

“Right now for people in need of care in this community, it’s a matter of deciding which way to turn when they hit U.S. 1,” said long time board member David Kirwan. “The board wants Fishermen’s to be where they start for their care.”

Cunningham added that in polling the community over the past year, though everyone recognizes the need for the hospital, many are still looking at the past and holding on to bad memories.

“They’ll refer back to a past bill they received,” Kirwan noted, adding that the current petition floating around the community urging the hospital to develop an in-patient rehab facility is a plausible idea.

A fresh coat of paint and new lighting will be among the aesthetic changes to welcome Leftwich in the coming weeks. The board said they’ll likely be considering a façade renovation in the future, but some of the new patient care improvements will include a new record system and digital mammography machine.

Healthcare Management Systems, Inc. is currently being implemented with continuous hard work from the hospital staff, and the digital mammography machine has been ordered.

“That’s a standard of care, and on that, we’re a little behind,” Kirwan noted, continuing that after Christmas, Quorum Health Resources (QHR) will begin laying out a three-year plan for the future of the hospital by determining the needs of the community and service lines for the facility.

The chances of a maternity ward, the staff and board clarified, would be slim.

Leftwich will remain an employee of Quorum with extensive oversight in conjunction with the Board of Trustees, Landrum noted.

Leftwich grew up in Orlando and said his new post in the Keys, after years of visiting to snorkel and fish, will be like coming home. He’s coming from Hancock Medical Center, an acute care hospital in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, with two rural health clinics and a satellite outpatient services campus. When he assumed the CEO position in 1997, the hospital had 104 beds, but a direct hit by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and the resultant flooding from storm surge, destroyed 100,000 square feet of the hospital main floor, leaving only 25 operational beds on the second floor.

“Katrina forced the hospital to downsize, but eventually we rebuilt the hospital into a 47-bed facility and are heading back to 104 as more and more residents return to the area,” said Leftwich. “The hurricane destroyed my home as well, so I spent the next six months living in a camper in the hospital parking lot as we moved quickly to get the hospital operational again.”

“I am excited for the opportunity to work with a great small hospital and an outstanding staff,” said Leftwich.


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