COLUMBUS – Knox Community Hospital CEO Bruce White has been named to the Ohio Hospital Association Institute for Health Innovation’s board of directors, the association announced in a press release on Friday.
White served as the chair of the OHA’s board of trustees in 2018 and has been involved with the board for the last five years, he told Knox Pages on Friday. His seat on the Institute for Health Innovation’s board of directors will complement his new role on the American Hospital Association’s regional planning board, which he will also begin in 2019. White will serve three-year terms on both boards.
“I’m really excited. I’m pleased,” said White, who learned about the opportunities a month ago. “I’ve enjoyed my time chairing the hospital association board. It’s been a great experience, a great opportunity. And so now to continue working with the institute and working with AHA’s regional planning board just gets to continue that work, so I’m really looking forward to it.”
The Ohio Hospital Association, which represents 237 hospitals and 13 health systems across the state, aims to collaborate with member hospitals and health systems to develop progressive healthcare strategies. On the Institute for Health Innovation, White will work with healthcare leaders statewide to tackle major health issues.
“The institute focuses on the pressing quality issues the hospitals around the state, as an association, want to focus on,” White said. “What are the best practices in those areas and how can we help hospitals around the state use limited resources to do the best they can in addressing those issues?”
White mentioned three key issues that the board plans to address in 2019: the opioid epidemic, infant and maternal mortality, and sepsis.
White will work alongside other hospital administrators, as well as leading clinicians and physicians from across the state to find ways in which Ohio hospitals can better use their resources to address these issues. Board members come from both rural and metropolitan hospitals, creating a diverse perspective.
According to the OHA’s press release, four members of the board were re-elected as directors-at-large to serve new, three-year terms beginning in 2019.
Those board members are Phil Ennen, president and CEO of Community Hospitals & Wellness Centers at Bryan Hospital (Bryan); Jeff Klingler, president and CEO of Central Ohio Hospital Council (Columbus); Scott Malaney, president and CEO of Blanchard Valley Hospital (Findlay); and LeeAnn Lucas-Helber, executive director of regional system development at OhioHealth (Columbus).
The institute’s board officers are: Ennen, chair; Chip Hubbs, president and CEO of Memorial Health System (Marysville), chair-elect; and Cynthia Moore-Hardy, president and CEO of LakeHealth (Mentor), secretary/treasurer. New officers will be elected later in 2019, the release states.
John Palmer, OHA director of media and public relations, said the board will likely focus on the opioid epidemic to begin the year. Members will meet quarterly at the OHA’s Columbus office.
Palmer noted that the OHA and its boards are seen as leaders in the local healthcare industry, and that White would be serving a pivotal role in that leadership.
“It’s just a huge privilege,” White said. “And it’s like I told the members of the Ohio Hospital Association board at our meeting that we just had a week or so ago, in the last meeting of our 2018 year – I would encourage all the board members to consider getting into those positions of an officer and leadership.
“Because it’s a really rewarding thing, to be able to work with all the different leaders of the hospitals around the state in trying to set those agendas and making sure that the association’s doing all the things that they can and should be doing to improve healthcare, and to help the hospitals as they’re trying to do that.”
While White did not know as much about what his future role on the American Hospital Association’s regional planning board entails, he said that board serves a similar purpose – to advise the AHA’s board of directors on setting the agenda and the strategic direction for AHA and its work.
The AHA represents and serves all types of hospitals, health care networks, and their patients and communities across the U.S., its website says. Nearly 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks, other providers of care and 43,000 individual members come together to form the AHA.
The AHA is focused on advocating for hospitals and making sure its members' needs are “heard and addressed in national health policy development, legislative and regulatory debates, and judicial matters.”
White said Friday that he is thrilled about the leadership opportunities that await him in 2019, as he will serve alongside elite company in the effort to improve local healthcare.
“The two roles that I’ll be moving into... it’s just humbling because there’s so many good people when I look around the table,” White said. “The people that are engaged in these activities, to be included and have the opportunity to participate with them... it just makes the career really worthwhile.”
White has served as Knox Community Hospital’s CEO since 2006. He has worked at KCH since 1996, having served as the hospital’s assistant administrator, vice president of support and ancillary services, and director of information services over the years.
Along with his OHA and AHA duties, White also serves in governance roles for the Mental Health and Recovery Board for Licking and Knox Counties, Community Health Center of Knox County, and Knox County Chamber of Commerce.
According to KCH’s website, White has served on the boards of Kenyon College, Kiwanis Club of Mount Vernon, United Way of Knox County, Salvation Army, YMCA, and the Advisory Council for the Mount Vernon Developmental Center. In 2015, he was selected by Quorum Health Resources as CEO of the Year.