The following is an article written by Birmingham Medical News.

At a time when many rural hospitals are struggling to make ends meet, Cullman Regional Medical Center is expanding services and increasing access to care for their target population.

When James Clements came on board as CEO of Cullman Regional in 2014, the hospital was losing money. He assembled a senior leadership team with the purpose of turning around that loss and growing the hospital in order to serve patients better.

James Clements, CEO

“The team, which evolved throughout the turnaround, consisted of nursing and quality leadership, operations and financial leaders, marketing, the addition of a chief medical officer and the creation of a Physician Leadership Academy to help create a cohesive team of physician leaders, since most of the medical staff served in private practice,” Clements said.

Together, they worked to set goals for hospital. “There were several steps involved,” he said. “We looked at the services we did the best – highest quality and best outcomes. We looked at what people were leaving town for: minimally invasive surgery, specifically robotics; cardiology; advanced imaging procedures such as 3D mammography. And we did market research and asked our consumers about what they were looking for in a healthcare provider and what role they wanted Cullman Regional to have in their care.

Once the plan was developed, they helped the staff understand the overall goals, then created scorecards and teams to achieve them. “We rewarded teams for making positive changes,” Clements said. “In short, we learned from mistakes and celebrated the successes.”

The result was a turnaround marked by significant expansion of facilities and services in 2018, including a new fifth floor 30-bed expansion unit, urgent care facility and outpatient imaging center. (See sidebar for a complete list). The staff was rewarded with performance-based pay increases within the first year.

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