By NASH NUNNERY
Timothy H. Moore literally built his health-care career from the ground up.
Now the chief executive officer and president of the Mississippi Hospital Association, the Scott County native’s first job in the industry was as an orderly at Meridian’s Rush Hospital.
Over the years, the 54-year old Moore worked his way into the ranks of hospital administration by excelling at a variety of hospital jobs. Whether transporting ambulatory patients, working in human resources, taking xX-rays or serving as CEO of a large hospital, the affable Moore has maintained one philosophy – how does it affect the patient?
“Quite frankly, I never had aspirations to become the CEO of the Mississippi Hospital Association,” he said. “I’ve always been engaged with the MHA, especially when I was in administration at North Mississippi Medical Center and Greenwood-Leflore Hospital. But the opportunity to make a difference in 82 counties and even nationally drove me to take the job.
“Again, it goes back to ‘how does it affect the patient?’ and ‘What’s best for the patient?’.”
A statewide trade organization, the Mississippi Hospital Association serves and represents over 100 Mississippi hospitals. Founded in 1931, MHA provides education and services for health care leaders and is a source of information for health care issues and trends.
Leading the MHA is the “best job I’ve ever had”, said Moore, who oversees 58 employees.
“My focus is on providing leadership and offering solutions to issues that affect our members,” he said. “Of course, our number one priority is advocacy. We take a pro-active stance when members bring issues to the table. Solving one issue for one member will solve it for all.”
In addition to advocacy, the MHA espouses education and training. According to Moore, the organization hosts 130 training sessions annually, with many of those conducted in a virtual classroom at the MHA’s Madison campus.
In today’s ever-changing health-care world, hospitals and their administrators face several challenges, including insurance claim reimbursement, staffing and governmental regulations.
“The list (of challenges) is a mile long,” Moore said. “Staffing is a huge issue, especially in the state’s rural areas. And, the staffing challenge is across the board – there are simply not enough doctors and nurses to go around.”
Compliance and regulation matters also present multiple challenges, he said, adding that roughly half of most hospital staffs today consist of non-medical personnel.
“The regulatory burden placed on (hospital) administrators is worrisome. We want to find ways to lessen that burden,” Moore said. “Non-medical staff shouldn’t make up 50 percent of a hospital’s (employment roster).”
Moore, who assumed the MHA reins in September 2013, also stays involved outside the organization. He currently serves as national chairman to the State Hospital Association’s executive forum and is a member of the Office of the Mississippi Physician Workforce advisory board, Mental Health Task Force and the South Central Telehealth advisory committee.
As a young teenager, Moore had dreams of becoming an architect. He’d while away hour upon hour at the family dining table sketching drawings of houses he envisioned building one day.
“Architecture and construction always intrigued me,” he said.
Moore credits a ‘smorgasbord’ of mentors that have helped mold his leadership style.
“I was fortunate to have several good (mentors) and I learned something from all of them,” said Moore. “There isn’t one style that is right or wrong. One thing I’ve tried to do is not be a micro-manager. Listening to the folks around you is so important.
“Get out of their way and let them do their jobs.”
Despite the demands of his job, Moore isn’t opposed to enjoying life away from the board room.
He relishes weekend jaunts to his 300-acre farm in Pea Ridge, a tiny speck on the Mississippi map in northern Scott County. An avid wing shooter, Moore is happiest sitting on his tractor planting soybeans or corn that serve as wildlife food plots.
“Though I haven’t lived there since I left home for college at 17, I love Pea Ridge and the slower pace,” he said. “Sitting on a tractor or bulldozer for five hours working the land is my idea of a good time.”
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