New Highland Medical Center Director Has Extensive Experience In Rural Health Care
Monterey, VA – Highland Medical Center’s new Executive Director, Tom Kurtz, has been on the job about three months now. Recently he talked about how he first became interested in health care administration.
“I first became interested in health care management after I became drafted during Vietnam and was placed in a medical center,” he says, “and actually was a laboratory technician trained by the Air Force. That got me very interested in health care.”
After completing his service in the Air Force, Mr. Kurtz went to graduate school at George Washington University in Washington D.C. and completed a Master’s Degree in Health Care Administration. He then did his administrative residency in a large hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Following a management position at a large hospital in Houston, Texas, he moved back to his home state of Ohio to take an administrative position at a small rural community hospital.
“I went back to Ohio when an opportunity arose and thought that I would probably stay in that small community for about five years,” says Kurtz, ” and ended up retiring from that system as the President and CEO.”
So Mr. Kurtz has extensive experience with rural health care facilities. Managing small community health centers presents special challenges.
“And we grew that small community hospital into a medium sized rural health regional referral center,” he says. “It was a very challenging period of time, but it was a very exhilarating period of time. Some of the smaller communities that we served were similar to size as this [Highland County and surrounding areas]; we had difficulty developing centers like this, not so much the bricks and morter, but finding the physicians and staff.”
Through persistence, Mr. Kurtz and his staff were able to develop stable staffing for those rural health centers in Ohio.
“We went through several physicians in several smaller communities,” he says. “It was a difficult time for patients because they got attached to their doctors.”
After retiring from the community hospital in Ohio, Mr. Kurtz went to Savannah, Georgia as Chief Operating Officer at a behavioral health center. Then in 2010, he came across the job opening at the Highland Medical Center. Mr. Kurtz and his wife are looking forward to an enjoyable stay in Highland County.