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Conversations with CEO’s Series: HPIC continues its Hospital CEO Leadership Series

Chief Executive Officer
Patrick S. Chapman, Ed.D.
Tippah County Hospital

 

Dr. Patrick Chapman was named the CEO of Tippah County Hospital in January of 2016. He holds advanced degrees in Counseling Psychology and Healthcare Administration. For the previous 14 years, he served as Program Administrator for North Mississippi Primary Health Care, Inc. in Ashland, Mississippi.

 

As we continue our CEO series in leadership, HPIC CEO, Rick Farlow, selected Dr. Chapman to visit because of the challenges he has faced over the last two years in opening a new facility during a pandemic. Tippah County Hospital has had a legacy of serving its community for more than 70 years, and we thought that was vital to understand in our leadership series.  What creates that success?

 

What drove you to pursue a career in the healthcare industry?

 

It seems I arrived at healthcare management by happenstance. I started out as a mental health provider. After working a few years at the local mental health agency, I was hired to administer a federal grant at NMPHC, the local federally qualified health center, in mental health and substance abuse. While working through that grant and as a mental health provider, I became interested in the management and quality of healthcare programs. I was groomed by the then program administrator to participate in healthcare management. I began to help her with the federal grant and other reporting requirements. I eventually enrolled in a master’s program in Healthcare Administration and started on a new path in 2012.

 

During my 14 years at the FQHC, I served a stint on the hospital board. It was during this time I watched my hometown hospital, in which I was born, struggle to survive. We were a sole community PPS hospital that had been through seven interim CEOs and four management companies in eight years.

The Board of Trustees invited me to be the CEO on January 1, 2016, since that time, we have accomplished some great things together for our community.

 

Have the events over the past two years changed your perception of what it means to be a healthcare leader in Mississippi? If so, how?

 

Absolutely, I have learned how important each person on our team is and that we should never take any position for granted. The supply shortage has taught us to reward and be thankful for those who are willing to serve and support the mission of the hospital with their time and talent.

 

What are the biggest leadership lessons you have learned?

 

That while healthcare is always in a state of flux, the wheels turn much slower than you sometimes wish. Change is good, but too much change in an organization can disrupt the homeostasis in ways that are not healthy. Patience must be mastered and cultivated as the leader of a hospital. Knee jerk reactions are almost always met with folly.

 

What is your advice for other healthcare leaders in the immediate future?

 

Learn to get a focus and a pathway and then pursue it. You can’t be all things to all people. You must select a great team and trust them with your guidance to move the mission forward. The weeds and micromanagement will kill you and is not healthy for the organization either.

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