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NEA Baptist CEO Brad Parsons Says Private Option ‘Critical’

3 min read

In June 2012, Brad Parsons was named CEO of NEA Baptist Memorial Hospital in Jonesboro and was promoted to CEO of the medical group in December. NEA Baptist Health System has a medical group with 140 providers and a 216-bed acute-care hospital. NEA Baptist opened a medical campus in January 2014 and said it spent $400 million on the project.

Parsons graduated from Birmingham-Southern College with degrees in business administration and leadership studies. He received two master’s degrees from the University of Alabama in Birmingham, in hospital administration and business administration.

Parsons is a fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives.

What should be done with Arkansas’ hybrid Medicaid expansion?

This is an important piece of legislation because of the number of Arkansans who now have health insurance. It is critical to the people in the state of Arkansas that the private option continues. I believe this also puts the burden on the health care delivery system to create innovative ways to reduce the total cost of care.

I spend a large part of my time working on new care models within our integrated delivery system at NEA Baptist. The sole intent of these new models is to increase the quality of care that patients receive and to reduce the cost of care to employers and individuals.

What impact will the opening of the osteopathic schools in Arkansas have on NEA Baptist?

The New York Institute of Technology at Arkansas State University will be a great addition to our medical community. NEA Baptist has been at the table during the entire process. It will allow us to train more physicians who will practice right here in northeast Arkansas.

How difficult is it to recruit physicians?

Our first priority is to recruit great physicians. We have had success in that and believe we will have a lot more success in the next few years. The main difficulty we face is our growth. We are growing faster than we are able to recruit physicians. We like to target physicians who have ties in Arkansas or who train here, which is why we are excited about NYIT at ASU. It can be difficult to recruit physicians who aren’t familiar with what’s happening in Jonesboro. When we get physicians to visit and they see what Jonesboro has to offer professionally and personally, we have a lot of success.

Will NEA have to form a partnership with another system to survive?

Our 2007 merger with Baptist Memorial Health Care of Memphis was a strategic step toward providing for the long-term well-being of our community. This affiliation has positioned us well for the future.

NEA Baptist Health System’s net revenue jumped 23 percent to $242.9 million in its fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. What do you attribute that increase to?

Our new medical campus with increased capacity and the demand for the NEA Baptist brand in this community.

What is one of the top challenges you face and how will you solve it?

Access has been a top challenge at NEA Baptist. We are engaging teams in ways to improve access, but we certainly need more providers. We will continue to recruit great physicians because we have a great system for physicians to work in. Our physician group has always been a key strength of our organization, and we are looking to add to our medical staff.

What’s your management philosophy?

My management philosophy is to ensure that our teams are able to reconnect with the important work in health care. It’s easy to get caught up in busy, fast-paced environments, but my goal is to remind our people why we got into health care and engage them in the work of their area.

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