The Carroll Hospital board of directors has a new chair: Jeffrey Wothers, of Eldersburg.

Wothers previously served as the vice chair of the board and is a partner at Niles, Barton & Wilmer LLP.

The Times recently caught up with Wothers to learn more about his involvement with the hospital and just what the role of the hospital board is in the community.


Q: Not everyone has had the opportunity to serve on a board, much less for a community organization as important as the hospital. Can you explain what the role of the board is, and what your job will be as you take on the role of chair? How long will you serve in the position?

A: The role of the Board is primarily one of governance. Carroll Hospital is a community hospital organization. As such, it does not have shareholders. The role of a community Board is to essentially serve as the community's voice in holding the hospital leadership accountable to the priorities and concerns of the community. My role as chair is to work with the leadership and insure that the community continues to have a robust voice in the governance of this important and extremely well run organization within our community. My term as chair is for three years.

Q: You first joined the Carroll Hospital Board of Directors in 2009. How did you first come to get involved, and did your legal background involving insurance help motivate that decision?

A: I actually became involved with the hospital through my work at my church: Wesley Freedom United Methodist Church. I served in some leadership roles there and came to meet individuals who are leaders within the Carroll Hospital organization. From the development of those relationships they asked if I would be interested in serving on the Board when an opening became available. It was a privilege to serve in those roles at my church and it has continued to be a privilege to serve in these roles at the hospital. My legal background has absolutely nothing to do with health insurance, but it does involve other types of insurance which has been useful at times regarding different types of insurance issues that organizations like a hospital must deal with.

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Q: Between your legal practice and your eight years on the board, what particular experiences and skills do you believe you bring to the table? Relatedly, are there any insights into the importance or challenges of community hospital management and health care you have learned over the years through these roles?

A: I have been blessed to have had many wonderful mentors on my journey in various leadership roles with my church, my law firm and other organizations. The experiences have varied greatly; however, they have provided me with a broad base of experience in terms of working with leaders in the community who care deeply about making Carroll County a better place to live and raise families and pursue careers and retire and enjoy a high quality of life. Healthcare is an amazingly complex area that has a velocity of change that is probably unequalled in our economy and community currently. The leadership in the Carroll Hospital organization and the LifeBridge organization is exceptionally strong; they are thought leaders in nearly every aspect of this incredibly diverse and complicated field. My prior experience in working with very smart dedicated caring people in the church organization as well as my law firm and most recently through my work with the hospital and the county government on the Planning and Zoning Commission has revealed many similarities in terms of people motivated to make the community a better place and bringing their substantial skills to bear on problem solving to accomplish those goals. Marshaling those talents and helping all of us to stay focused on those things that really matter to harness the positive energy and create a better quality of life in the community is sort of the thread that carries through experiences I have had over the last many years in these various organizations.

Q: What is something you see as crucial to understand the role of community hospitals that you believe everyone should know, but is frequently unknown or under appreciated?

A: Probably most interesting to me is that the role of the hospital is changing to really keep communities well, to help people become and remain healthy so they can stay out of hospitals. The resources and skill sets of the hospital leadership and the doctors that is brought to bear on keeping people healthy in many ways requires a different emphasis of their more traditional skill sets of treating the sick.

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Q: Are there any particular plans or challenges you look forward to tackling as Chair?

A: Healthcare is undergoing tectonic shifts with alarming frequency. I expect that my primary challenges will be working with the leadership within the hospital organization to navigate these changes in order to bring the very best quality of care to our community within whatever framework develops nationally and at the state level during the next three years.

Q: Broad topic softball question: The hospital is a key part of Carroll County of course, but what are your other favorite aspects of Carroll County?

A: I have had the privilege of traveling extensively both for work and for pleasure. Each time I return from a trip it reaffirms to me that Carroll County is by far the best place in the world to live and raise a family. It has a wonderful feeling of relaxation and open space while at the same time being close to many of the resources that only urban centers can provide. Of course, it is also near the nation's capital and all the unique qualities of that city. I have also come to see that Carroll County is blessed with many many caring doctors and workers from all different types of jobs and trades who give so much back to our communities that most of us never even have a chance to realize. Having the privilege of serving in this role continues to reveal to me many of these wonderful people and what a difference they are making everyday in our extraordinary community.

Due to an error by the reporter, a previous version of this story misspelled the subject of the Q and A's name.