BY MICHAELA GIBSON MORRIS
TUPELO – North Mississippi Health Services' Dr. Ken Davis will be motoring off into sunset.
At the end of April, the system's chief medical officer, known for his red scooter, will trade the halls of North Mississippi Medical Center-Tupelo for those of Methodist Health System in San Antonio as its chief medical officer.
“It's bittersweet for me and my family,” said Davis, whose decision was made public Monday.
But the opportunity to be a leader at the bigger system is a success story for himself and North Mississippi Medical Center, said Davis, who uses the scooter because of multiple sclerosis.
“Everybody wants to be like the hospital in Tupelo,” said Davis, a geriatric medicine specialist and a Harvard-trained health care leader.
Davis, a native of Cleveland, has been in Tupelo 16 years. He was a central part of hospital-wide efforts that brought the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award to NMMC.
The experience with the Baldrige process was a significant part of his conversation with Methodist.
“The Baldrige means excellence, and these medical systems want excellence,” Davis said.
North Mississippi Health Services Chief Executive John Heer said in a statement Davis has contributed to the hospital's reputation as a national leader through his work in clinical quality.
“Dr. Davis has done an outstanding job during his tenure at NMMC and will be sorely missed,” Heer said.
The Methodist system is larger, but more centralized, than North Mississippi Health Services. It has 7,500 employees working in 22 facilities.
By contrast, North Mississippi Health Services has 6,480 employees at six hospitals and a regional network of more than 30 clinics spread over 22 counties.
Instead of 450 physicians in North Mississippi and West Alabama, Davis will be working with 2,300 doctors in San Antonio.
“It's certainly going to take a different leadership style,” Davis said.
Although he won't continue to host “60-Second House Call” on WTVA, he does hope to find a similar venue in Texas.
“Community education is very important role of the chief medical officer,” Davis said.