Bell tapped as interim CEO at St. Luke’s Hospital

Published 5:49 pm Monday, May 18, 2009

An executive with Carolinas HealthCare System (CHS), Alex Bell, MA, ME, ACHE, has been named interim Chief Executive Officer for St. Luke&squo;s Hospital.

Bell is managing the daily operations at St. Luke&squo;s while the Board of Trustees conducts a nationwide search for a new CEO.

Bell replaced Cameron Highsmith, who recently accepted a position with Cape Fear Valley Healthcare System, based in Cumberland County

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Bell most recently served CHS as the vice president of support services for Cleveland County Healthcare System, overseeing several non-clinical and ancillary departments such as plant operations and facilities management, clinical engineering, environmental services, food services, textile services and security.

He brings extensive experience with major building projects including renovations and hospital expansions.

While at St. Luke&squo;s, Bell has overseen the completion of renovations to meet regulatory codes for the St. Luke&squo;s Regional Hyperbaric and Wound Care Center, directed minor improvements to meet Joint Commission standards, and assisted the Institutional Planning Committee of the Board in regards to operating room capabilities and facility improvements that will enable St. Luke&squo;s surgeons to increase their surgical caseload.

&dquo;I am excited about this opportunity to join a great staff here at St. Luke&squo;s Hospital. I look forward to working with the Board of Trustees, the hospital leadership team, hospital staff, Medical staff, and the huge cadre of volunteers to continue moving St. Luke&squo;s forward,&dquo; Bell said. &dquo;We have a lot to be proud of here. Everyone I&squo;ve met is committed to St. Luke&squo;s and to our success in meeting the healthcare needs of this community.

&uot;With Carolina&squo;s HealthCare System, we can share best practices, cost savings, clinical efficiencies and better contract rates that can only help us to better meet our mission.&dquo;

He&squo;s been on the job for only a few weeks, but Bell has already tended to small details and shared the big picture.

He brings a fresh insight with 15 years of experience in management and operations, and he is also a strong advocate and role model for Service Excellence, a tried and true cultural philosophy that focuses on patient, employee and physician satisfaction.

A native of Rutherfordton, Bell graduated from the College of Charleston in1984 and from The Citadel&squo;s non-military graduate program in 1992. &bsp;&bsp; &bsp;He joined CHS in 1993 to assess and coordinate the system&squo;s network development of regional hospitals.

He joined Kings Mountain Medical Center in 1994 as Assistant Administrator and was promoted to Vice President of Support Services for the Cleveland County Health System after Kings Mountain and Cleveland Regional Medical Center (CRMC) merged to form Cleveland County HealthCare System (CCHS).&bsp;&bsp; &bsp;

With CCHS, he managed the addition of a $20 million, 50,000 square foot Emergency Department/Operating Room expansion/renovation at CRMC as well as a $10 million ED /OR expansion renovation at Kings Mountain hospital expansion, among others.

While here, Bell intends to help St Luke&squo;s Hospital implement the orthopedic strategic plan St. Luke&squo;s Hospital has announced and work closely with Brian Rosenberg, MD, and Jim Holleman, MD, to build on the positive growth projected in orthopedics&squo; and general surgery.

He will also focus on developing improved communications and relationships among the staff, medical staff, board and county leaders

&uot;We need and want everyone&squo;s support to help re-establish a strong referral base of physicians and satisfied employees who love working here, and from the community who use the hospital from Polk County and the surrounding areas,&dquo; Bell said. &dquo;We hope to earn everyone&squo;s support for St. Luke&squo;s and to share the message of the importance of accessible healthcare in our community.&dquo;

Bell, his wife Jane, and two young children, Zander and Katie, live in Rutherfordton, and he says he&squo;s happy to make the short drive to work at a great hospital like St. Luke&squo;s.

The assignment here is indefinite while the hospital&squo;s Board of Trustees, with support and assistance from John Young, CHS regional vice president for western North Carolina, complete the search for a new chief executive officer.

&dquo;I&squo;m very pleased to have this assignment as long as they&squo;ll allow,&dquo; Bell said. &dquo;I am honored to join the St. Luke&squo;s Hospital team and their mission to provide exceptional care, close to home.&dquo;