Advertisement
Carroll County Times
Carroll County

Q&A: Leslie Simmons to head Carroll Hospital Center

Leslie Simmons has worked at several hospitals, but she's stayed at Carroll Hospital Center the longest.

That says something about the hospital's staff and its philosophy, she said. And on July 1, she'll be in charge of all of it, as she assumes the role of the hospital's president, taking over for John Sernulka, who is retiring from the post.

Advertisement

Currently, Simmons is serving as the executive vice president and chief operating officer. The Times caught up with her before she assumes her new position, talking about how she got into health care (it wasn't always a goal) and her plans for the hospital's future.

Q: First, could you tell me a little bit about your history at the hospital and what you've done here?

Advertisement

A:

I came here in October of 2000 and came here as the chief nurse and ended up working through until 2006 when I was promoted to the chief operating officer. It's without a doubt the best place I've ever worked. I've worked at a lot of other hospitals in Maryland, but there's a difference here. We're taking care of our friends and our neighbors and our relatives, and it's a joy to be connected with the community in such a powerful way.

Q: What brought you into health care?

A:

It's funny - I started out as a secretary at a construction firm. What brought me to health care was actually I had a job as an EKG technician in a hospital, and a cardiologist that I worked for said, 'I think you could make a great nurse.' I never thought that, but he saw something in me that I didn't see in myself, and I went to nursing school, and he was there at graduation when I won two awards, and I don't know who was prouder, him or my dad.

Q: What are the roles of the president day to day and in general as well?

A:

Carroll County Daily Headlines

Carroll County Daily Headlines

Daily

Get the day's top news and sports headlines.

It really is leading the enterprise and making sure that the highest quality of care is maintained and making sure that we're focused on our future and that we're focused on what our community needs most. I'm very blessed that I have a fabulous executive team and managing team. They are amazing, very talented people, so health care is crazy these days, so we're reinventing it as we go, and you need a strong team to help you do that.

Advertisement

Q: Are there any specific areas that you're planning to hone in on?

A:

I think our future is really about taking care of the health of our community, and that's a different focus for the hospital. We're used to being a great place for you when you're sick, but now that's not enough anymore. We have to still be that, but we have to focus on keeping you well, so we're looking into disease management or care management, sometimes they're called the same thing. You know we have construction going on, so we're building the new cancer center, and the new health and wellness center, so it really is all about trying to keep people well, keep them out of the hospital and teach them how to manage their disease process, and even better yet, prevent them from getting a chronic disease. ... We know that some of the biggest things are controllable behaviors. Obesity is huge in our county, as well as physical inactivity, so there's a lot of things that we're learning that we need to focus on to improve the health of the community.

Q: Are there any ways to combat that?

A:

I really think it's about learning how to creatively reach patients where they are, reach the community where they are. It's providing a whole variety of kinds of education and resources that people are going to want to take part in. For some of the community members, some of it is just basic education - they're unaware of these risk factors. But others, they want to have a way to become engaged and have resources available where they need it and have it be, well, fun to take care of yourself.


Advertisement