Add change agent to that list.
White recently began her new duty as vice president and CEO of Ballad Health’s Kingsport Market Operations to lead Holston Valley Medical Center and Indian Path Community Hospital. In her most recent role, she served as CEO of Providence Northeast Hospital in Columbia, S.C., a part of Lifepoint Health.
White, who has a farm in Gate City, Va., was selected after a search process resulted in several candidates. They were interviewed by the community board of Holston Valley and Indian Path, as well as medical staff leadership.
White has served in several capacities in healthcare, working with a variety of hospitals and hospital systems, including HCA, Carillion, Smyth County Community Hospital and Franklin Woods Community Hospital.
White has replaced Monty McLaurin, who has served as chief executive officer of Indian Path for 15 years and as interim chief executive officer of Holston Valley. McLaurin will continue as president of the northwest division of Ballad Health, and White will report to him.
A native of Southwest Virginia, White was born at Smyth County Community Hospital, and she began working there as a staff accountant in 1992. She earned a string of promotions, eventually becoming the hospital’s chief executive officer in 2005. Under White’s direction, the hospital constructed its new, state-of-the-art facility in 2012, and it also achieved outstanding quality scores related to patient experience in the emergency department and inpatient units, as well as low readmission rates. At a time when rural hospitals were struggling, and closing, she stewarded the hospital through those challenging obstacles.
She grew up in Marion, Va., where her parents ran a small grocery store, and she worked 12-14 hour days in the store.
“It’s a hard business,” White said of running a small grocery store. “My parents instilled in me that hard work pays off and God put us here to care for people, that’s why health care is such a calling for me.”
After getting an economics, accounting and finance degree from Emory and Henry College and a master’s degree in business administration from Old Dominion University, White admitted the pressure was on to run the hospital she was born in.
“I had the relationships,” White said of coming home. “I knew the folks. It was an honor and a blessing and I took it very seriously.”
One of the main challenges was repurposing the hospital’s 1960s building, and she got that done with her alma mater as Emory and Henry College opened a health sciences school in the old 150,000-square-foot facility.
As for her plan for Holston Valley and Indian Path, White said there are “still some decisions” to be made after Ballad Health recently announced changes in the Kingsport Market.
“I’m more excited on week four than five or six weeks ago,” White stressed. “I’ve spent a lot of time on the ground meeting with the staff both shifts day and night. I’m a collaborator.
“The folks on the ground know a lot about what needs to be done about the opportunities for improvement when it comes to patient care. I’ve found it’s helpful to listen to the key stakeholders. I’m more encouraged than ever that we will have two extremely busy hospitals that are contributing to the community.”