The board of Haywood Regional Medical Center bid farewell to chairman Glenn White April 24.
White had served on the hospital board nine years and became chairman in March 2008 following the resignation of then-chairman Dr. Nancy Freeman. White called his experience “very educational and enlightening.”
“The last year was very difficult,” White told the board and audience at his final meeting. “There were a lot of dark days, but I think at the end of it we’ve come out probably a better hospital than we were before.”
The board presented White with a plaque that had a stethoscope attached to it. Former interim CEO Al Byers, who guided the hospital in the aftermath of it’s loss of federal healthcare funding and who has rarely been seen since his retirement, attended the ceremony. So did former Haywood County Commissioner Chairman Larry Ammons, who led his board at the time the decertification took place.
“Glenn is a leader,” said hospital board member Cliff Stovall as he presented the plaque to White. “He doesn’t push himself out front, but things are happening in his head and behind the scenes that make an operation work.”
Hospital CEO Mike Poore also stood up to thank White for his service. He called White “a good steward” during a “very eventful period in this hospital,” and thanked White for his “sage advice and guidance.”
White was one of the last board members still serving who was on the board when the hospital’s decertification took place in February 2008. Now, only two of 12 remain who were part of that board — Mark Clasby and Dr. Dick Steele.
Clasby, whose three-year stint makes him the longest serving member, was appointed as the new chairman.
“This is a new chapter in our history, and an exciting time as we go forward,” Clasby said as he accepted his new post. “I welcome the new board members to help us with this endeavor as we continue to make this hospital the best hospital in the nation.”
At the meeting, the hospital board welcomed three new members. One is taking White’s place. The other two are filling newly added positions, part of the planned expansion of the board to 12 members total.
New board member Norman Yearick is an industrial engineer with management experience in manufacturing. Also joining the board is Bennie Sharpton, a resident and practicing surgeon in Haywood County who has previously served on the hospital board. The third new board member is Dr. Christofer Catterson, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine
County involvement changes
When two positions opened up on the Haywood Regional Medical Center board of directors a year ago, Haywood county commissioners spent hours conducting interviews with each of the 37 people who applied.
But this most recent go around, commissioners drastically reduced their level of involvement in vetting hospital board candidates. Instead of conducting interviews with the 19 applicants, commissioners only interviewed the five recommended by the hospital board.
So what gives?
According to County Commissioner Chairman Kirk Kirkpatrick, the most recent selection process followed correct protocol, while the previous one — where commissioners interviewed all 37 candidates — deviated a bit from statute.
According to state statute and procedures set up by the county when it formed the hospital board authority, the county makes all appointments to the hospital board based on the hospital board’s recommendations, Kirkpatrick said.
Last summer, however, the hospital board did not submit any recommended names to the county, so commissioners simply interviewed everyone who applied.
County commissioners have the authority to approve all the recommended candidates; approve some of them; or approve none of them and request a whole new slate of recommendations.
That was unnecessary this time around, because commissioners were satisfied with all five candidates the hospital board recommended to them.
“We could have interviewed more, but I think all of us felt the five that we interviewed were outstanding candidates,” said Commissioner Bill Upton.