In a healthcare environment where many community hospitals are either closing or being sold to larger healthcare systems, Cullman Regional is thriving — and defying the trend. But that wasn’t the case in 2013, when operating losses topped $13 million over five years.

“We knew changes were necessary in order to survive in the current healthcare environment, and we hoped that bringing in a new Chief Executive Officer with a strong background in growth would be just what we needed,” Immediate Past Board Chair Todd McLeroy said, “but we honestly weren’t certain.”

James Clements, CEO

So in 2014, the hospital Board brought in a new Chief Executive Officer, James Clements. Clements had experience in both the for-profit world and the not-for-profit world. He’d had a career focused on improving the quality of patient care while also improving the bottom line at the hospitals he’d managed previously.

“Over the past three years, James has built a leadership team, made the hospital financially sound and has broken ground on two major expansion projects – both of which will help Cullman Regional better serve our community and add 150 local jobs to our local economy,” Hospital Board Chair Judy Butler-Patterson said. “The success of the hospital has surpassed our expectations, and we couldn’t be more pleased. In fact, the hospital is stronger than ever. We want to insure the future of the hospital continues on this path; therefore, we’ve extended his (Clements) contract for six more years.”

Clements built a leadership team with two goals — to put the patients’ needs first and grow volume so they could devote resources to the best quality care and expand to continue to meet the needs of the community now and in the future. Since then, Cullman Regional has increased volume by 23 percent. The 30-bed expansion is ahead of schedule and plans to open in February of 2018 and the new Urgent Care Center and Outpatient Imaging Center is slated to open in April of 2018.

Urgent Care Exterior Rendering

“It takes all of us working toward the same goals to make this happen,” Clements said. “Together, our team is working to make Cullman Regional one of the best hospitals not only in Alabama, but in the Southeast. “Personally, our family is proud to call Cullman home and are excited to be here for the next 6 years,” Clements continued. “We’ve been particularly impressed by the school system and our local church who have both embraced our family with open arms.”

Clements is a healthcare executive with more than 30 years of healthcare operations experience for acute-care hospitals with 60-500 beds. Previously, he served as Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer for a seven-hospital healthcare company in which he was responsible for the management of hospital executives and medical directors. He has also served in various capacities as a Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer and as Vice President of Business Development and Strategic Planning during his career.

Prior to joining Cullman Regional, Clements served as the CEO at South Fulton Medical Center, a Tenet Healthcare Corporation hospital in Atlanta, Georgia where he had served since 2004. Clements holds a Master of Business Administration from Georgia State University in Atlanta and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from Mercer University in Macon, Georgia.

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