By Ray Van Dusen
ABERDEEN – Looking at Harley Smith’s professional past, it’s evident his approach to hospital administration is a revenue-making machine.
During his eight-year tenure at the helm of Georgia’s Miller County Hospital, he pulled the entity out of financial shambles and brought in $37 million in revenue. He also spearheaded the addition of 15 private rooms to further increase profit by the time he left in 2007.
Although the other hospitals he’s served since have had different circumstances on a case-by-case basis, he sees his current health care facility, Pioneer Community Hospital, as a viable facility with plenty of positive attributes. His goal is to make PCH the friendliest and most professional hospital.
“People can go anywhere, but with that attitude, they’ll come here,” said Smith, who took over as chief executive officer in July. “Quality is key in health care. Every minute counts when it’s a heart attack or a stroke and we’re right here.”
The first big milestone for the hospital during his tenure has been a work in progress during the past several administrations – the opening of Pioneer’s surgical center, slated for this fall.
Smith, himself, is working toward recruiting more doctors and services to the facility, among other goals.
“We need to make a few good business decisions and have a few more family practice doctors. I want to make this a profitable hospital for years after we’re gone. [Pioneer Health Services President] Joe McNulty has a good vision for the future and knows how to run a good hospital and he knew I knew how to run one too,” Smith said.
His baby steps to hospital administration began early on in life when he was an X-ray tech in the military. He later received his master’s degree in human resources and served as an X-ray director before entering a training program through Humana.
The Statesville, North Carolina, native manages better from face-to-face interaction throughout the facility opposed to staying behind a desk.
“I’m getting to know the employees and their work habits. I visit the patients to know if they liked the food and if they’re being treated right. I want our employees to be courteous with world-class customer service. I think you’ll see a much friendlier and more professional hospital in the future,” Smith said.