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Top 40: Larkin Kennedy

Although his father taught him that even though life is tough and not always fair, hard work and perseverance are things that Larkin Kennedy can control at the end of the day.

Judging by Kennedy’s resume alone, most people would say the 31-year-old hospital executive has heeded his father’s words of wisdom.

Larkin Kennedy may have been one of the nation’s youngest chief executive officers in the hospital industry. He was CEO of Baptist Memorial Hospital-Booneville before taking a position with Rush Health Systems in Meridian last October as director of critical access hospitals.

Ptior to the move, Kennedy oversaw a 115-bed facility that treats over 35,000 patients annually and pumps nearly $30 million a year into the Booneville and Prentiss County economies.

Under the diligent watch of the Inverness native, BMH-Booneville was awarded the Outstanding Patient Experience award by Healthgrades.com in both 2008 and 2009. The award is given to hospitals that perform in the top 10 percent of all hospitals in the U.S. in both quality of care and patient satisfaction.

Kennedy says the role of a hospital administrator can be quite challenging in the 21st century.

“(The hospital industry is) one of the most complicated industries in the world, I must be able to effectively manage change on an hourly basis,” he said. “But the majority of my time is making sure our patients and their families are taken care of in the best way possible.”

Allen Puckett III has known Kennedy since their undergraduate days at Mississippi State University and is not surprised at his friend’s success in climbing the corporate ladder.

“Larkin is a well-respected young businessman and is very active in the Northeast Mississippi community,” he said. “I have watched him progress over the years through the hospital system and he has demonstrated excellent leadership qualities since his days at MSU.”

Kennedy takes pride in his professional accomplishments, particularly becoming board certified in healthcare management. Getting through the arduous process wasn’t easy, he admits.

“The exam is a comprehensive 230-question review of 10 healthcare management areas that took almost six hours to complete,” he said. “After passing the exam, I became one of only 11 people in Mississippi to receive this honor in 2009.”


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