By VERNON ROBISON
Moapa Valley Progress
After two months in the position, hospital administrator Ned Hill is settled in to his role as the new Chief Executive Officer at Mesa View Regional Hospital (MVRH) in Mesquite. But that doesn’t mean that he is letting any grass grow under his feet. After the retirement of former MVRH Chief, Patty Holden, in mid February, Hill hit the ground running. And he has been going strong ever since.
The PROGRESS recently caught up with Hill at the hospital for an interview to learn about his vision for MVRH and for health care services in the northeast Clark County region.
Hill as a youthful enthusiasm and vitality. He has the admirable quality of looking far younger than his age. At first glance he looks like he might just be fresh out of college. But he is actually in the prime of a distinguished career in hospital management.
He has worked in the field of health care leadership for the past 16 years. Over the years, that work has taken him to various positions at hospitals across the country including Alabama, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah and more.
Most recently he served as CEO of Northern Hospital of Surry County, a 133 bed hospital located in the little town of Mount Airy, North Carolina. There he was credited with running a top-notch facility in important measures like volume growth, physician recruitment, customer satisfaction, quality of care and more.
Last year, Hill was recognized by the nation-wide hospital trade publication Becker’s Hospital Review for being one of their 60 Rural Hospital CEOs to Know.
Coming from Northern Hospital of Surry County to MVRH with its 25 beds has brought a bit of a downsize for Hill. But regardless of size, Hill said that many of the issues and challenges are the same no matter what rural hospital you go to.
Chief among those challenges is maintaining a full range of services. That is an ongoing endeavor, Hill said.
“Our immediate goal has to be getting the core services in place,” Hill said. “Full time obstetrics/gynecology (OB/GYN), full time general surgery, full time orthopedic surgery and solid primary care coverage: those are the base layer of the pyramid. So before we can get on to the second layer of some of the sub-specialties, we have to get that base solid.”
Hill said that a third OB/GYN provider is coming to the hospital soon and, with that, there will be full time OB/GYN coverage. The areas of general surgery, orthopedic surgery and primary care coverage would still need more work. Those would be his primary focus over the next several months, Hill said.
Hill has a solid track record in the area of recruitment for rural hospitals. “I know that was one of the things that was particularly attractive about Ned to the board members here at Mesa View,” said MVRH Director of Business Development Rob Fuller. “He has a methodology and a knack for that.”
Hill said that his methodology is nothing more than hard work.
“In the economies of scale it is the kind of situation where if you recruit and work with five people a month, you probably won’t get anyone,” Hill said. “If you recruit and work with 50 people a month, you might hire one. Those who put in that kind of work get to reap the benefits of a top quality staff, it is as simple as that.”
But Hill emphasized that he is not just hiring our of desperation to fill positions. “We have a great hospital, in a great location,” Hill said. “We are not in a position that we have to beg people to come here.
We are running a high caliber institution with a great team. We hire top physicians who are going to come in and treat our guests the way that they should be treated. We don’t just take anyone.”
In his set of immediate goals, Hill also has his eye on expanding medical services in the Moapa Valley. Currently Mesa View Medical is providing a Quick Care clinic in Logandale. Physician’s Assistant, and Logandale resident, Andy Rose has been the only provider at that location.
But the Logandale Quick Care has been busy. Hill said that Rose has been seeing 10-15 percent above the national average of patients.
“Andy is extremely busy,” Hill said. “He is one of our busiest in our network. So we know that we have excess capacity there and we are going to start by adding a second provider in that location.”
Hill said that another provider has already been selected Thought the hospital is not yet ready to announce the provider’s name, Hill said he is a resident of the Moapa Valley who currently works full time in Las Vegas.
“He wants to transition eventually to work full time in Moapa Valley,” Hill said. “But we will start him in one day a week. When he fills that up, we will go to two days and build from there.”
Hill also has plans to set up specialist clinic dates in an outreach program. On of the hospital’s new OB/GYN providers has already expressed interest in spending time seeing patients in the Logandale facility. And eventually there might be others added, Hill said.
The limiting factor would be office space, he said. “But we are working on the space issue as well,” Hill said. “That is in the process as well.”
Hill said that he, his wife and four kids enjoy living in small rural areas. He describes his former hometown of Mount Airy, NC as “Mayberry, USA” and said that moving to Mesquite has felt just like coming home.
“When we were considering moving here, we came and started exploring the community,” Hill said. “We found that it had everything that we needed and it is just a beautiful little town.”
Hill’s four kids are attending school in Mesquite. His oldest is a sophomore at Virgin Valley High School. He also has on in middle school and two in elementary school.
“Our kids are at that stage now where, when we were calculating where to make a move we knew we would want to stay there until they all are through high school,” Hill said. “Our youngest is eight, so that is at least ten years. So unless they throw me out of here I’m here for the long haul.”