HERRIN -- Harrisburg Medical Center's former CEO now is running Herrin Hospital and says his commitment to providing quality health care to the region remains his focus.
Rodney Smith spent about 20 years of his career at HMC, but recently began his new job as hospital administrator/vice president for Southern Illinois Healthcare.
A Herrin native, Smith now has the opportunity to oversee Herrin Hospital's health care operations in the place he calls home.
Smith said one thing he will be involved with is tweaking the efficiency of health services for a health care system already known for its quality of care.
"As you see SIH working more as a system, each facility has areas of specialty," Smith said. "For example, advanced cardiovascular, neurosurgical and cancer surgeries are performed predominantly at Memorial Hospital of Carbondale, while bariatric and many minimally invasive surgeries, such as gynecological and urological among others, are done at Herrin. St. Joseph Memorial Hospital in Murphysboro is home to our swing bed program and GI (gastrointestinal procedures) suite. We all complement each other for best use of our resources as a system."
Herrin Hospital specifically is known for its inpatient rehabilitation unit, he said, as well as a strong orthopedics program. In addition, he said, a variety of surgeons perform surgeries at Herrin Hospital.
Improving the overall availability of health care is one of his goals, he said.
"Of course, we're always looking for more service lines and more ways to serve communities so people don't have to travel far to receive high-quality health care," Smith said.
Smith had kind words for HMC, where he led an ongoing $10 million renovation project that expanded the emergency room and operating room capacity, along with other major improvements.
"HMC was a very good place to work," he said.
He also praised the similarity between the Harrisburg and Herrin communities.
"The culture is really good here. Herrin and Harrisburg are very similar. There are a lot of blue-collar workers with strong work ethics. They're both really tight-knit," he said.
Smith said he's looking forward to directing Herrin's largest employer for the good of the community and the region.
"This is the biggest employer in the town, with about 1,000 employees, and the biggest in some of the surrounding area. That community culture really is in the hospital here. There are a lot of good people here," he said.
And, SIH is looking forward to working with Smith, SIH President and CEO Rex Budde says.
"A southern Illinois native, Rodney understands the unique health care challenges and opportunities in our region. He is an ideal fit to carry on our mission to provide for the health and well-being of all of the people in the communities we serve," Budde said.
Smith said overall his goal and the goal of SIH is continued and improved quality care for patients.
"What we're trying to create in southern Illinois is a system where people can get care where they need it without having to drive long distances," Smith said. "And, we know who our referrals are. We know who we're sending our patients to, so they can get better care and get better faster."