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Laddie Williams is ‘National Trustee of the Year’

Calhoun-Liberty Hospital is bursting with pride over the latest recognition for its Board Chairman, Mr. Laddie Williams. After being named Trustee of the Year for all hospitals in Florida last October by the Florida Hospital Association, now Mr. Williams has been named Trustee of the Year for 2010 for the entire nation by the highly respected magazine, Modern Healthcare. The judging criteria included accomplishments in community relations, ethics, strategy, leadership and finance. Mr. Williams has been on the Board of the hospital for over 23 years and has served as Chairman for the past 20 years. But it is his remarkable leadership for the last four years that has garnered the recent well deserved recognition. The hospital almost closed four years ago, after being operated by a for-profit company for several years. Mr. Williams simply refused to allow the hospital to die and instead, led it on a truly remarkable journey to an amazing turnaround. Convincing a staff that had not been paid in several pay periods to stay on board, they did and have been very pleased and satisfied with their decisions to do so. They now take great pride in their hospital and have even more respect and admiration for their Chairman, “Mr. Laddie” as he is affectionately known by all staff members. It is now a thriving hospital, with a sound financial footing, enjoying a renewed respect and even more importantly, significantly increased utilization by the citizens of the two counties it serves. The future is bright and again, largely due to the Herculean efforts of this proud, community servant. He helped secure financial assistance from several sources, including state and federal grants and low interest loans. For example, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provided over $600,000 in direct grants and low interest loans as a result of his efforts. Virtually all the aged, outdated equipment was upgraded, assuring the patients have state-of-the art services. Perhaps the most significant change was in the courteous and compassionate care now being provided by the staff that elected to stay with him and help reverse the fortunes of their hospital. Tons of compliments are received for that care, a marked change prior to Mr. Laddie and the Board regaining control of their hospital. He worked with elected official at the local, state, and federal levels to assure the hospital remained open. He was tireless in his efforts and they responded in an aggressive and highly productive manner with extremely positive results. The governor’s office, local city and county governments, Congressman Allen Boyd, Senator Bill Nelson, State Senator Al Lawson and State Representative Marti Coley all aided Mr. Williams in his drive to assure the local community retained its hospital. They realized the importance of the hospital to the community and to their constituents. But he was the key catalyst. Many local citizens, businesses, social clubs, families, churches, local chambers, and a host of others came forward and either made donations or “adopted” inpatient rooms and other areas of the hospital. The resultant renovations made tremendous improvements in the appearance and efficiency of the hospital. A plaque on the doors proudly notes the kindness and contributions of each, many in honor of loved ones. His abilities at getting these various stakeholders to help the hospital has been the key to its surviving, even while similar sized hospitals in similar predicaments have closed. Mr. Williams, quite humbly and as expected, gave full credit for the remarkable turnaround of the hospital and this prestigious personal recognition, to his fellow board members, the hospital staff, the medical staff, the community, the elected officials, and to the Good Lord. Modern Healthcare is a national magazine, published weekly and is widely considered the most influential periodical in the hospital management arena. Its annual Trustee of the Year award is given in two categories, one for hospitals with 250 beds or more and those with less than 250 beds. Calhoun-Liberty Hospital is a 25 bed, Critical Access Hospital.

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