By Troy Wells, President and CEO of Baptist Health
At Baptist Health, we’ve had to navigate through a complex and frequently changing healthcare environment during our entire 100-year history—everything from changing treatments and technologies to ever-changing regulations.
Our founders gave us a great gift when they set out to create a modern, scientific hospital for the state. They saw this endeavor as a faith-based, healing ministry and used that vision to guide their decision-making.
Every decision stemmed from their desire to provide care to the people of the state, including a commitment to provide charity care for those who couldn’t afford to pay. That commitment existed long before the federal government included a requirement for hospitals to accept charity cases if they received federal funding.
During the 1950s, long-time administrator John Gilbreath saw that the system needed to expand into non-medical and for-profit areas in order to provide revenue streams to support the hospitals and their charity work. Gilbreath said, “The days of running a hospital on what you collect from the patients are over. Every successful hospital must have subsidies or endowments to survive.”
He was referring to the hospital building the Medical Arts Building on the downtown campus—the system’s first major entry into creating revenue streams outside the clinical setting. Since then, we have created multiple revenue streams that support our system that spanned several decades of rapid growth and expansion.
With all that growth, it would have been easy for the system to drift off course or to become what we “could” be instead of what we “should” be. But we always look to our past as we consider our future.
Any time we look at a new venture, we ask ourselves some basic questions: “Can we add value to what is already there?” “Can this venture make a positive contribution to the system?” And the most important question: “Is it consistent with our mission?”
We may adjust our sails with the winds of change, but we always know where we are headed. Because our mission hasn’t changed. At Baptist Health, we are a faith-based, not-for-profit healing ministry––which means we will always focus on our values, the people we serve, and the well-being of our community.
The State of Care blog by Troy Wells, President and CEO of Baptist Health, is published once a month at Baptist-Health.com. Learn more about Baptist Health’s 100th anniversary by visiting BaptistHealth100.com.