Brian Thomas will always remember hearing the phrase, “The way to achieve success is to be willing to help someone else achieve it first,” and those words continue to impact his life today.
Today, Thomas’ role as president and CEO of Jefferson Regional lets him do just that — he takes care of the people who take care of the patients. And when they’re successful, the hospital is successful. Thomas’ recipe for success at Jefferson Regional focuses on hiring the best people, giving them the tools and resources they need to do the job and then simply getting out of their way.
One of the challenges Thomas has had to overcome in his four-year tenure as president and CEO was addressing employee morale, which was at an all-time low and having an impact on everyone’s experience at the hospital. Thomas launched the first official employee survey in 20 years and the results showed that there was only one direction to go — up. Each department developed action and communication plans to address what they were going to do about the issues identified by their employees. Communication trainings were implemented to help employees better relate to their patients and co-workers, take ownership in the culture initiative and improve the entire patient experience.
“Everyone has embraced our cultural transformation initiative over the past several years with over 91% of our employees participating in the annual employee survey, up from the mid-70s last year and low 50s two years ago,” he said. “Now, our employees live it every day — excellent care and service are provided to our patients and community and [provided through] teamwork with their co-workers and [we] continue to achieve success no matter the challenges.”
Moving forward, Thomas is preparing Jefferson Regional to be well-equipped to face the changing landscape of health care. In the first quarter of 2020 it focused on an expansion that will provide oncology services as well as a $180 million modernization project that will expand and replace portions of the current campus, which will begin later in the year with board approval.
“The goal is to develop the next generation of facilities needed to take care of patients in this market,” he said. “Health care is very competitive these days. Driving to Little Rock to get services is not unusual, so we have to be more aggressive to make sure patients come our way.”