Hospital promotes Wisner to CEO

The Barnwell County Hospital has a new chief executive officer and it's someone the board knows well.

Mary Wisner - who has been the hospital's interim CEO and the former head of nursing - was named permanent CEO at a Feb. 26 hospital board meeting.

Wisner said the news was unexpected and the position is a "great honor."

"I think she was doing such a good job as interim CEO, that the board thought she would make a great permanent CEO," said Al Altman, chief financial officer for BCH.

Wisner has been the interim CEO since former CEO Bob Waters retired in January.

"The board feels she is the right person to move the hospital forward," said board chairman Don Alexendar.

Alexander said Wisner has the right qualifications.

Wisner has shown the ability to energize the staff as head nurse a talent to implement many projects successfully, he said.

"She has a deep commitment to the community and a very open managerial style," noted Alexander.

Wisner said her goal as CEO is to provide "exceptional care" and "not just satisfactory care" for community residents and patients.

"I want to have care that is equal to large city medical centers but with a personal touch," she said.

That "personal touch" is what Wisner feels is the hospital's trump card because most of the hospital staff lives in Barnwell County.

"The staff really cares about the patients here and it shows - the patients can be their neighbors, friends or family," said Wisner.

Wisner said she is going to start pushing the hospital toward magnet status, a goal she would like to reach in five years.

"I feel we have the right stuff here to make this happen," said Wisner. "While the hospital strives for that magnet status, it will be increasing the quality of its care along the way."

Wisner has already began working on three areas she would like to see improve or grow.

Those include customer service, convenience of patient care and increasing volunteers.

Wisner would like to see patients get in and out of the emergency department more quickly.

A project she's working on is getting a diagnostic center for the hospital's main lobby that will improve customer service and patient care.

"It's a one-stop information center and a patient will immediately know where he or she has to go - and then our goal is to have someone personally escort a patient to where he or she needs to be," said Wisner.

Wisner would also like to see more volunteers at the hospital because it "enriches the environment" and helps build community relations.

Wisner is also trying to launch patient-center care at BCH.

"It's a culture and philosophy of how you care for patients and treat them," said Wisner.

Patient-center care "give patients an active voice" in their care and treatment, she said.

"It's a more interactive and interpersonal type of medical care among patient, physician and family," Wisner said.

In other hospital board news the board:
• Approved hospital management to obtain temporary surgical services.
"Our goal is to have a consistent surgeon here to meet the needs of our emergency department and this county until Dr. (Majeed) Kaun returns," said Wisner.
Dr. Kaun has been in Syria since August awaiting a Visa renewal.
• Approved management to hire a marketing/public relations/grant writer.
The employee will increase marketing efforts for the hospital, rural health clinics and sleep lab, said Wisner.
Grant writing will also allow the hospital to take advantage of the upcoming economic stimulus package.
•Approved bringing self-pay collections back to BCH which had previously been contracted to an outside agency.
The hospital itself will be following up on outstanding accounts, said Altman.
"We will be hiring someone locally to do this," added Wisner.
• Board member Gene Croft announced he will be stepping down from the board and this is his last meeting.
Croft has been on the board since 1994.
• Board member Ray Drinnon will also be retiring from the board and his replacement will be Steve Sloan.
•Heard from David Garrison and Tracy Butenhoff from the Taylors-based Web design company, Webspeak Media.
The two gave a presentation of a mock Web site which it could implement for BCH.
Alexander said the presentation was for the board to consider a hospital Web site and open a digital doorway.
"It's vital for the hospital to have a Web site," said Wisner.