Alvin Hoover, CEO of King’s Daughters Medical Center (KDMC) for nearly 15 years, has announced his retirement in September 2022. Prior to joining KDMC, Mr. Hoover was the CEO of Abbeville Area Medical Center. He has over 30 years of distinguished service in hospital administration and takes a special interest in rural health policy development and advocacy.
He is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). Mr. Hoover has served as Chairman of the Mississippi Hospital Association Board of Governors, Chairman of the Myriad ACO – a Mississippi statewide accountable care organization, President of Mississippi True – Mississippi’s provider-sponsored health plan, and Chairman of the American Hospital Association’s Small or Rural Hospitals Governing Council.
The events of the past two years tested Mississippi Hospital’s infrastructure, resilience, and its healthcare workers & leadership.
Prior to Mr. Hoover retiring, HPIC Chief Executive Officer, Rick Farlow took the opportunity to sit down and visit with Mr. Hoover about his journey in healthcare and leadership through COVID.
What drove you to pursue a career in the healthcare industry?
I grew up in South Georgia and was working at the Health Department in Tifton, Ga.
A dear friend of mine was going to pursue his degree in Healthcare Administration, and he encouraged me to pursue a different path in life and seek the degree with him. I enjoyed helping people, and as his encouragement continued, I finally made the decision to take the next step in life and pursue that degree. Once I secured the degree, the doors started to open for me with advancements through several positions, and I eventually became the CEO of a Hospital.
Have the events of the past two years changed your perception of what it means to be a healthcare leader in Mississippi? If so, how?
Yes. We obviously had to tackle many obstacles, but as a leader of a hospital, we are always going to face reimbursement issues, supply shortages, and other difficult challenges. For me, the pandemic confirmed the importance of our Mission. That was a key lesson learned for us. At KDMC, one can ask any staff member, and they can cite our Mission to you while visiting our hospital.
“Always Providing quality health and wellness in a Christian environment”
We learned that our staff was so grounded in our Mission, and consequently, we had a foundation built to support our response to the pandemic. We did not look to the internet or outside experts, but rather we turned to our staff because they believed in our Mission so strongly. For me, it was a rewarding time to watch our leadership and staff respond unified to meet our Mission to assure we were providing quality health and wellness in a Chrisitan environment to our community.
What are the biggest leadership lessons you have learned?
Employee engagement was critical to our success. We have been awarded Modern Healthcare Best Places to Work seven out of the last nine years. Our staff did not want to leave during the pandemic. I have always tried to be an inclusive leader, and our Sr. Leadership team has always strived to treat everyone equally. So, the lessons we learned about speedy & transparent communications were tremendously successful for us. I have always tried to create a culture of compassion from the employee that greets you at the front door to our administration. Again, our delivery of healthcare rolled back to our Mission & Vision. For me, clear and empathetic communication of that to our staff, and then our leadership living that Mission by example was vital.
As you approach retirement, what is your advice for other healthcare leaders in the immediate future?
We know the pandemic will not be our last crisis. Focus on the positive. Remember, there is strength in numbers. Network with other leaders and join organizations that can support you and provide you with peer feedback. Harness the lessons learned over the last two years, and move forward remembering we are all in a unique position to help heal people and have a positive impact on our community.