FLEMINGSBURG -- Three days in and new Fleming County Hospital Chief Executive Office David Faulkner has been busy touring the facility and getting to know staff -- both of which he gave glowing reviews.
"It's a beautiful facility," he said. "People should be very pleased and proud of what they have gotten."
Faulkner said in all the places he has worked he has been pleased with the staff, and FCH's staff ranks up there as well.
Faulkner comes to Fleming County from Montana, where he served 15 years as CEO of Central Montana Medical Center. Before that , he was CEO of a hospital in Illinois, his home state. Faulkner has a total of more than 20 years in hospital administration.
Faulkner's educational background includes a bachelor's degree in health care management from Southern Illinois University and a master's degree in health services management from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Faulkner said the decision to pursue a career in medical administration came as a result of his service in the Navy. As a hospital corpsman, Faulkner said he ran a clinic in the Navy and became excited about the work. He began taking classes during that four-year service that he continued with after he left active duty. Faulkner remains active in the military through his service in the Navy Reserves. He also serves in Medical Services Corps and is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives.
The decision to move to Fleming County was not an individual decision, Faulkner said, but rather a family one. Faulkner took into account the opinion of his wife of 25 years, Diana and their two children 19-year-old Shelby and 17-year-old Ryan.
"Ryan had a lot of input since he is still in high school," Faulkner said.
All four of the family members determined the move to be the right choice because it would bring them closer to their family in Illinois. Faulkner said from Fleming County they will be only five hours away, as opposed to the approximately day and a half trip it required from their Montana home.
The family is already putting roots down in the county with the purchase of a new home. Faulkner said he also expects to be involved in the community, though through what venues it is not quite certain yet. Faulkner said he has typically been involved in Rotary and is interested in discovering what other ways he and his family can get involved.
For the moment, however, Faulkner's focus is on the hospital. He described himself as a "participative" leader who likes to spend time out of his office and in the hospital, seeing what's going on.
"You can't do it behind a desk," he said.
Though it has struggled financially, Faulkner said the hospital is "stable" and he anticipates revenue growth through the recruitment of physicians and programs.
"We've got a nice, new facility that we have to pay for," he said.
During his years at CMMC, Faulkner increased market share of the hospital by recruiting primary care physicians and visiting specialists, according to previous information.
Faulkner also said the success of the hospital does not rest solely in the physicians hands, but with every staff member. Even if the doctors and nurses provide great care, the hospital's image can be tarnished by dust bunnies under the bed, he said. Likewise, a great service can be hurt if the patient finds a billing error on his or her statement. Faulkner said everyone is included in the success of a hospital.
"Is the place clean? Is the food hot? Are the patients greeted appropriately?" he said. "It's everything."
Faulkner said he anticipates challenges but expects to address those.
"We've got challenges, like any hospital in the country, but we'll address those and move forward," he said.