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October 31, 2013 Issue

Arbour joins Jefferson Hospital
Turnout for Speir’s
Polls open Tuesday for local elections

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Arbour joins Jefferson Hospital

By Parish Howard

When Pioneer Health took over management of Jefferson Hospital their top priority was to turn around its financial situation. That always included recruiting quality management who would be in the building day in and day out.

Several months ago Pioneer introduced the Hospital Authority to Doug Arbour, who has since been hired to take over as the hospital’s new CEO/Administrator.


“I’ve been called the blue collar CEO,” Arbor said. “It’s because I came up through the ranks. I was a respiratory therapist at 19 years old. I’ve done it all from maintenance, I’ve been in charge of housekeeping and dietary, you name it.”

Arbour brings with him more than 29 years experience in healthcare, eight of those as an administrator.

“With his clinical background Doug stated this gives him a unique perspective that always puts the patient first when it comes to safety, quality and satisfaction,” said Steven Fontaine, Pioneer’s VP of Hospital Operations.

Arbour was born in New Orleans and raised in Baton Rouge. He started seriously thinking about a career in the medical field after watching his grandfather deteriorate with heart disease and diabetes.

“I knew I wanted to do something in healthcare,” he said. “We didn’t have the money to go to college so there was a respiratory therapy program in the Baton Rouge market and I always excelled in biology. So I took the entrance exam and while it was a two-year program I was able to bypass the first year and go right into my clinicals.”

Arbour received an Associate of Science in Respiratory Therapy from Southeastern Louisiana University in 1987 and then, later that year, completed his Advanced Standing Program for Respiratory Therapists at the University of South Alabama.

“I always did well with the patient satisfaction piece,” he said. “I was a good therapist”

But what really got his superiors’ attention was how he treated patients and it helped him move up through the ranks.

In his 21 years at River West Medical Center in Plaquemine, La., Arbour moved up from staff therapist to clinical coordinator to director of cardio-pulmonary, neurology, sleep lab and security services to assistant chief executive officer.

“It was different,” he said of the switch from clinical care to administration. “You’re at the bedside day in and day out for years and now you’re dealing with budgets and numbers. My thought process is that’s important, you have to have an eye on the numbers, but you can never lose sight of the care of the patient. That has to be the highest priority.”

In 2006 he took a position as CEO at Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center that was a brand new hospital in Emporia, Va.

“They were struggling,” Arbour said. “The hospital was about a year old. It was a brand new hospital and they were jacking up charges, cutting services and laying off long-term employees. Everybody was unhappy. So, what I did was walk in and calm it down, stopped the cuts and started building relationships with the doctors and employees. That was everything.

“We always measure satisfaction three ways, physicians, employees and of course, patients, being number one. If you can make a mark on any of those, and we did it on all three levels, it changes the hospital. We did exceptionally well there.”

While there, Arbour said they turned that small hospital’s financials around.

“We took it from being in the red, much like this hospital, now they were a for-profit, but we turned it around so that we had $9 million in profit in four years,” Arbour said. “The first year we weren’t in the red anymore, and that’s all this hospital (Jefferson Hospital) really wants is to break even. The more profit we make the more we can invest inpatient care.”

From 2010 to 2012 Arbour served as CEO of Springs Memorial Hospital in Lancaster, S.C.

His first two hospitals were relatively small, 80-bed facilities. Springs Memorial had 231 beds.

“But I lost the quaintness of the hospital and the family,” Arbour said. “It was big enough that you didn’t know all the employees and you didn’t have the team work like that you have at the smaller hospitals. The hometown touch, you didn’t have it too much. We still had plenty of people to get the work done and received plenty of awards.

“It wasn’t the same as running a small hospital. I feel that smaller hospitals are harder because you are the head cook and the bottle washer. In a larger hospital there are many people to delegate to. Many layers. We don’t have that here.”

Arbour said he left that position and took off about a year to recover from a surgery and that’s when he saw Pioneer’s ad for the CEO position in Jefferson County.

When he first came here ,he brought his family.

“While they did, say, ‘Oh my God it’s little,’ they fell in love with the people and the hometown feel. Everyone was so sincere,” Arbour said. “I’ve been in a lot of hospitals and right away I noticed how good a shape the facility is in, structurally to aesthetically. I was so blown away by how well kept and clean the facility is. To me, that means they invested in good materials to begin with, but also that people take pride in their hospital and try to take care of it. It looks very presentable with it being as old as it is.”

While Pioneer Health Services is new to him as well, Arbour said that the issues facing struggling small-town hospitals are not.

He knew Jefferson Hospital was struggling when he applied.

“Believe it or not, but a challenge can be a healthy thing,” Arbour said. “When I looked at it and saw it’s potential I knew it could turn the corner. While it’s in the red today, with a little support from the community and the right responsible managment, there is no doubt that this hospital can prosper and keep its doors open and with the guidance of the authority keep its doors open for years.”

One key to its success he sees is in convincing the community to come to the local hospital for services whenever they can.

“I’m about quality care and safe care,” Arbour said. “A big piece of that is customer service.

“I believe in keeping an open door. I’m very approachable. That’s kind of been my strengths, physician, employee and community relationships.”

Arbour’s wife, Tricia, and two youngest children, Madison, 12, and Matthew, 11, will be joining him in Louisville once they settle their affairs in South Carolina. They also have two older daughters, Mallory, 27, a registered nurse in Baton Rouge and Erica, 24, a manager at a Louisiana bank.

Turnout for Speir’s

Hundreds lined the main street of Bartow for the annual Speir’s Turnout Festival Saturday. Vendors sold arts, crafts and food items. Entertainment included performers and the annual parade.


Polls open Tuesday for local elections

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

In Jefferson County, there is only one county ballot, that to fill the unexpired term of Rep. Quincy Murphy (D-127). Murphy died in August. Only those cities in Murphy’s district will cast a vote. Those cities are Avera, Louisville, Stapleton and Wrens.

The candidates for District 127 are Dianne Murphy, Diane Evans and Brian Prince.


Jefferson and Glascock counties will not hold county elections.

Some cities will not hold elections in November because not enough individuals qualified.

In Avera, three council seats and the mayor’s seat expire this year. Only enough candidates qualified to fill those positions. Mary Mahoney’s death leaves her seat vacant. Avera City Clerk Amy Hadden said because Mahoney had been re-elected, her seat will be vacant until a special election is called for by Secretary of State Brian Kemp. Hadden said she will announce the dates for qualifying and the special election when she is notified what they will be.

Mayor Tommy Sheppard was the only candidate to qualify for mayor. Councilman Ronnie Hadden qualified. Councilman Richard Norton did not qualify; however, Larry McGraw did. Since neither Hadden nor McGraw had opposition, both will serve.

Although the city will not hold an election, voters in Avera should report to their usual precinct in order to vote in the District 127 election.

In Bartow, council incumbents Billy Neal, Sally Brooks, Ken Smith and Lee Shellman qualified for re-election. Dwayne Morris, a current councilmember, was the only person to qualify as mayor. Catherine Swint and L.C. Clark also qualified for council, making six candidates for five seats. The five with the highest votes will be elected.

During a council meeting in September, Hubert Jordan resigned as mayor, suggesting Dwayne Morris be appointed to serve as mayor since he would take office in January. Council approved this.

Bartow is not in District 127 and will not have a ballot for that.

In Louisville, the positions held by Mayor James L. Morgan and Councilmen Robert Dixon, Matt Hodges and Phil Polhill expire at the end of this year. City administrator Ricky Sapp said only the incumbents qualified; so, no city election will be held.

Voters should report to the election office on Green Street, Louisville, to cast votes for the District 127 seat.

In Stapleton, Frank Parrish, the current mayor, and Harold Smith qualified for the mayor’s seat. Jason Irby and Tara Parrish, both incumbents, qualified for the two council seats.

“All the names will still be on the ballot. They just have no opposition,” said Gail Berry of Irby and Tara Parrish. Berry is the city’s clerk and elections superintendent.

Besides voting for mayor in the city election, Stapleton voters will cast votes in the District 127 election.

“On Election Day, only Stapleton will have a dual election, city and county,” said Susan Gray, Jefferson County’s election superintendent.

There will be a separate area for the city election and the county election; but, both will be at city hall.

Gail Berry, elections superintendent with Stapleton, said the voters will be directed where they need to go.

Wadley will hold an election for mayor. Herman Baker, the incumbent, qualified. He has two opponents; Harold Moore and Dorothy Strowbridge, a current councilmember.

For council, the term of three seats expires this year. They are held by Strowbridge, Izell Mack and John Maye. Mack and Maye qualified. Another candidate, Colin M. Cornett, was disqualified. Qualifying was reopened and Kendrick McBride and Joseph (Randy) Miller qualified.

Additionally, Wadley voters will once again decide by referendum whether to allow alcohol sales on Sunday. Voters faced this on a referendum earlier this year; but, the referendum did not pass.

Wadley is not in District 127 and will not have a ballot for that.

In Wrens, Elections Superintendent Janee Hodge said the city had three council positions open. “The incumbents qualified but no one else,” she said. “So we don’t have to hold an election.” The city is in District 127 and the county’s elections office will hold an election for that post at the city’s regular polling place.

The positions available in Edgehill are for mayor, currently held by Durham Milburn, and one council seat, currently held by Dewey Belcher. Only Belcher qualified for mayor. Kristi Kitchens qualified for council.

Angela Barrow, the city clerk, said the city will not have to hold an election since neither candidate has an opponent.

In Gibson, only the two incumbents up for re-election, Carol Markins and Stanley Phillips qualified. No election will be needed.

In Mitchell, only the incumbents qualified. Mitchell is not having an election.

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