HomeTown Health 2019 Executive Leadership Program

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Christopher P. Jones, Secure Records Solutions Partner, among 12 HomeTown Health Graduates of 2019 Executive Leadership Program

Twelve individuals from Georgia rural hospitals and supporting organizations graduated from the HomeTown Health 2019 Executive Leadership Program. This group of individuals was recognized at the graduation and awards ceremony held at the 20th Annual HomeTown Health Fall Conference at Callaway Gardens on October 24, 2019.

The HomeTown Health Executive Leadership Program is designed to equip emerging leadership candidates with the tools necessary to become future Senior Executives, Senior Managers, and Directors. This is the 12th year that HomeTown Health, an organization dedicated to supporting the survival of rural hospitals, has offered the intense year-long training program. Graduates were recognized for their “dedication and devotion to becoming an outstanding hospital executive leader” through the completion of a one-year study program designed to identify and strengthen exemplary leaders in healthcare. Graduates included:

  • Tonya Chitwood, Associate CNO, Director of Quality and Compliance, Stephens County Hospital
  • Randy Crawford, CEO, Appling Hospital
  • John Graham, CFO, Appling Hospital
  • Angie King, Senior Director of Medical Outreach Services/Rehab, Stephens County Hospital Katrina Martin, Business Office Manager, Effingham Health System
  • Megan Randall, Interim Director of Ancillary Services, Monroe County Hospital
  • Lorraine Smith, CEO, Monroe County Hospital
  • Nancy Seymour, Director, Marketing and Public Relations, Foundations Director, Elbert Memorial Hospital

In addition to hospital participants, a limited number of best practice Business Partners are given the opportunity to nominate a member of their team into the Leadership Program. 2019 Graduates who are members of Business Partner teams are:

  • Connie Alexander, Controller/Financial Analyst, HealtHIE Georgia
  • Christopher Jones, Consulting Team Leader, Secure Records Solutions
  • Thomas Stair, Senior Hospital Services Specialist, WellCare
  • Terry Edwards, Learning and Development Specialist from HomeTown Health also completed the program.

The program was initially started because of the great turnover present within rural hospital CEOs and other executive leadership. This program helps to prepare and train individuals to understand the specific challenges of the rural hospital and develop skills necessary to lead one. 129 individuals have completed the program. The individuals must commit to develop personal management skills and to a better understanding of the changing healthcare industry.

Jimmy Lewis, the CEO of HomeTown Health, notes that “the turnover rate in administration and key leadership positions within rural hospitals is staggering and unnerving. We decided that it was valuable for hospitals to identify personnel with leadership skills and capitalize and grow these skills into capable, competent and confident leaders within their facilities who are dedicated to the long-term success of their facilities. We expanded the program to our business partners who also wished to raise up leaders within their organizations as well. Our goal is to strength, equipment and encourage people to be the best leader they can be within the organization that they serve.” Along with the HomeTown Health team, the program’s areas of training curriculum is revised each year to keep up with the top needs identified from working with leaders in facilities across the region.

In 2019, the theme of the program was “Leading Yourself, Leading the Business, & Leading Others” and the Executive Leadership Class candidates spent time learning from experts in various fields of Healthcare. Jimmy Lewis, CEO of HomeTown Health, provided the class kickoff, outlining the needs of today’s hospital leaders and reason for the training program.

Throughout the program year the class’s participants also work individually on an online professional development program offered by Harvard Publishing called Harvard ManageMentor. In this program, leading company executives and innovative leaders share insights and advice on leading a business and leading others. This year’s participants studied six topical areas including Strategic Thinking, Strategy Planning and Execution, Team Management, Business Plan Development, Innovation and Creativity and Team Creation. Online training, individual application projects, and monthly facilitated group discussions led by Dan Hiltz, facilitator from Leadership Squared, LLC, helped to apply these topics to their day-to-day roles at rural hospitals and clinics.

In February 2019 the class participated in a rural hospital CEO Day at the Capitol, and had the opportunity to meet with numerous leaders at the state level that support rural healthcare, including a member of Ways and Means Committee, House Appropriations Chairman, Majority Caucus Chairman, Chairman of Health and Human Services committee, Chairman of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs, Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, DCH’s Chief Health Policy Officer, House Health Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman, Appropriations Chairman, and Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan. Education was provided to learn to work the ropes, visit representatives, and the importance of grass roots as a leader.

An additional “Leadership in Managed Care & Compliance” training was provided on topics that overviewed the top issues for Rural Health leaders, Understanding the Payor Mix, Managed Care, Compliance and board relations from HomeTown Health CEO Jimmy Lewis, Beth Spoto, Spoto & Associates and Michele Madison, Partner with Morris, Manning and Martin, LLP.

Also, in February, the class attended the Rural Hospital Human Resources Virtual Conference in order to better understand the issues that affect their employees; top legal issues and employer compliance, unemployment claims, difficult and challenging issues, and best practices for Healthcare Human Resource Professionals.

The class participated in Spring Conference in April in Savannah, where they joined over 200 other leaders to discuss “Embracing The Future: Innovation and Opportunity in rural hospitals”.

The class also participated in an intense two-day Leadership Retreat focused around “Personal Development.” In addition to one-on-one career planning and goal setting meetings with CEO Jimmy Lewis, the class also discussed personal development topics critical for leaders, and attributes that make a good leader in a rural hospital.

The final meeting was hosted and led by Draffin & Tucker, an accounting firm and HTH Business Partner, on “Leadership in Hospital Finance.” This meeting provided training on Medicare Cost Reports, Understanding Hospital Reimbursement, and 340B Compliance & Accounting. Business Partner, Sterling Seacrest Partners, provided education on “Risk Concerns in Healthcare”.

The final event in the program included participation at the 20th Annual Fall Conference titled “HomeTown Roots” held at Callaway Gardens, where leadership candidates who met requirements were awarded with their plaque and presented to other hospital leaders and conference attendees for graduation.

HomeTown Health’s Director of Business Development, Jennie Price, notes that the organization will continue to be committed to training future rural hospital leaders, as long as there are current hospitals executives willing to support the commitment required of their up- and- coming staff. “We need current leaders to recognize that this is an investment in their hospital’s sustainability, and to look for, nominate, and support those individuals in their hospital that could be successful candidates for the CEO position one day.” Nominations are now being accepted for the 2020 Program, to begin in January.


About HomeTown Health, LLC
HomeTown Health, LLC is an organization of more than 70 rural and small hospitals, located throughout the southeast, which collectively pursue ways to help our hospitals survive in this environment of tremendous budget cuts from the state and federal level. The mission of HomeTown Health is to ensure that rural healthcare is preserved at the local community level wherever possible and that a continuum of care is available to the rural populations. What began as a handful of community hospitals years ago has now grown into an organization of over 70 hospital members and 60 business partners spanning the nation. For more information, visit www.hometownhealthonline.com.

For more information contact:
Jimmy Lewis, CEO HomeTown Health, LLC 770-363-7453 [email protected]


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