Hospital welcomes new interim CEO

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 10, 2009

Jackson Medical Center CEO Teresa Grimes didn’t mean to come to Troy for long. But, at least for now, she’s here to stay.

Grimes was appointed by the hospital Board of Directors to serve as the new interim CEO for Troy Regional Medical Center, and this week, she officially started working in her new capacity.

Grimes won’t be in Troy to stay, but Investor Gil McKenzie said she will be a valuable asset in her time at TRMC.

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“She will be here until we get a permanent CEO,” McKenzie said.

McKenzie, an investor in the Troy Doctors Hospital, LLC., has served as the interim CEO since June, when former supervisor Rusty Eldridge stepped down.

Grimes comes to the hospital with nearly 25 years of experience as a CEO, serving as the Jackson Medical Center leader in Jackson, Ala. With a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of South Alabama and a masters in business administration from the University of Colorado in Denver, she also comes with both clinical and administrative experience.

Grimes was first introduced to TRMC when she came a few weeks ago to help management members develop a strategic plan, and she was recommended by the CEO Search Committee to step in.

“The employees here are wonderful. They are very passionate,” Grimes said. “Troy’s fortunate to have the caliber of staff here.”

McKenzie said one of the hospital’s goals is to bring a CEO who will serve in a more permanent capacity,

“This place has had so many leaders,” McKenzie said. “One of the commitments we’ve made is we’re going to stop the turnover. We will look as long as needed.”

The Search Committee — composed of Sherrill Crowe, Vernon Crowe, Murial Saunders, Wilton McCrae, Chuck Wood and John Schmidt — has begun taking applications for the position.

But while Grimes is here, she will begin to help the hospital leaders accomplish their goals.

One of those things is growing volume in the hospital, which she said can be done by increasing specialty services in Troy.

“There’s a lot of strategic planning in place with a lot of goals,” Grimes said.

Grimes has been well received by the staff at TRMC.

“When I made the announcement last week, she got a standing ovation, and she wasn’t even here,” McKenzie said. “Morale is as good as it’s ever been. We’re not doing this because we have to but because it’s better. We’ve now got a CEO who can concentrate all her efforts on Troy.”

McKenzie, though he will no longer manage TRMC, will continue to assist Grimes and finish making the final deals with hospital finances.

“We’re probably 80-plus percent completed with our financial turnaround,” McKenzie said. “Nothing’s guaranteed, of course, but I believe we’ve made it through the hard part.”

Doctor owners still have plans to turn the hospital’s real estate and fixed assets over to the city of Troy, which will then turn and lease the property back to the doctors group.

This will ensure a lower interest rate on the long-term financing of the property, McKenzie said.

“They’ll become the landlord,” McKenzie said.

In this agreement, if the doctors could no longer afford rent payments, the city of Troy would take complete ownership of TRMC.

The city is set to make this transition final in its next council meeting Dec. 22 at Troy City Hall.