AHA board member Bruce Bailey’s hospital career transpired in an unexpected way.bailey head shot

“I married a good-looking blonde whose father was a hospital CEO,” quipped Bailey, president and CEO of Georgetown Hospital System (GHS), a 298-bed, two-hospital system in coastal South Carolina.  

When Bailey and his wife started dating in college, they had Sunday dinners at her parents’ house, where Bailey had long conversations with his future father in law about his career running a hospital.

“It really sparked my interest to go down the same path,” he says.

Bailey joined GHS in 1999 as associate administrator of Georgetown Memorial Hospital and became president and CEO of the Georgetown Hospital System in 2001. Since he began leading the charge at GHS, the system has been recognized several times for excellence.

Bailey says GHS is focused on making the transition from the first curve of the volume-based business model to the second curve of the value-based model.

“We’re trying to develop the right mix of strategy that deals with curve one – which we very much still operate in and is how our bills get paid – and that ensures we are well positioned for the day when we’ll have to operate in curve two,” he says.

The first step in that transformation is to educate the physicians and medical staff, whose attention centers on providing the best care for patients, not transitioning to a different business model, Bailey says.

“We need to train them on the tools and the resources they’re going to need,” he says. “That’s a big deal for us and it’s also an important role for the AHA: ensuring the membership has the educational tools that will help us make the transition.”

Bailey serves as chairman of AHA’s Regional Policy Board 4, which includes Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee and Puerto Rico. He also is a member of the AHA’s Committee on Performance Improvement.

In this rapidly changing health care landscape and with such a varied and diverse hospital membership, Bailey predicts that leading the transition from the first to second curve is one of the AHA’s biggest challenges.

 “We’re all going to be at different points on that path and we’re all going down that path at different speeds,” says Bailey.

But Bailey is confident that the AHA can guide hospitals through the transition.

“One of the things I am most impressed with is the thought that goes into the AHA’s process of developing new ideas, strategies and educational materials,” he says. “The AHA has an excellent process of bringing forth new ideas and training tools we all need.”

As for his tenure on the AHA board, Bailey is most excited about learning from and exchanging ideas with his fellow board members.

“Sitting around the table – whether it’s a meeting table or a dinner table – and being able to talk with such a diverse, well-educated and humble group of individuals . . . It’s a lot of fun,” he says.

Bailey wants to provide the perspective of smaller organizations during his time on the AHA board. Listen here.