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Michael Calhoun
Cynthia Reeves | SBJ
Michael Calhoun

2022 Dynamic Dozen No. 10: Citizens Memorial Hospital

Posted online

SBJ: What has been key to your recent growth?
Michael Calhoun: Our organization is relatively young – we started in 1982 – so CMH has been a fast-growing organization for a long time. I think the key to our growth has been our community.

SBJ: What are your top issues when it comes to managing growth?
Calhoun: Recently, being able to keep up with the demands of staffing has been at the top – particularly nurses, tech and support staff. A lot of our efforts go to support the staff that we have. We’re making opportunities for our current employees so they feel they can stay at CMH and maintain a competitive compensation package. A lot of nurses have moved to the model of contract and travel nursing, so we’ve been able to keep nurses by offering compensation for extra shifts. We also have a strong relationship with Bolivar Technical College and Southwest Baptist University to train the next generation of talent.

SBJ: What has the company’s growth enabled you to do?
Calhoun: As we’ve grown as an organization, I think that’s also made us more attractive to recruiting staff. We’ve been able to recruit high-quality physicians to our rural area. I don’t think it’s a secret that rural areas have struggled with physician recruitment. But our relationships are very strong, so we’ve been able to recruit some of those support services that might not ordinarily be offered in a rural area.

SBJ: Is your fast growth sustainable?
Calhoun: It has been for a long time. And I think there are additional communities that we will be looking to move into and additional services we don’t currently provide. Eventually we’re going to get to a point where we provide all the services our community needs, but that’s a little way out yet. One thing we would be looking at is increasing our ER and hospital beds to make private rooms in the in-patient area. There’s a continued need to grow our long-term care footprint. And then we have plans for a dialysis center and being able to increase our nephrology services.

SBJ: Have you taken some lessons from the pandemic?
Calhoun: One of the things we learned is we can adapt to change more quickly than we perhaps gave ourselves credit for. In the pandemic, you’re changing daily by necessity. We set up services within days that may have taken months before. I think we’ve all become a lot stronger from the pandemic. I think there’s a lot of fatigue involved, but I think when people have time to recoup, I think we’ll have a stronger workforce.

SBJ: What is the best or worst business advice you’ve received?
Calhoun: The best: One of the things my mentors said was just how important relationships are. You have to build relationships to accomplish your goals. The worst: I had a supervisor who had heard some advice from the front lines – in confidence probably – and he said he didn’t care what they said, he was going to do what he was going to do. That person on the front lines probably knew more about that situation than the leader did. I made a vow to myself to not do what that leader did. I decided to listen to people who are touching the patients and helping the public because they probably know how to fix the problem.

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