Healthcare accessibility among top priorities for OH Medical Group's new COO

·3 min read

Oct. 28—Owensboro Health recently named its new Owensboro Health Medical Group chief operating officer, Malcolm "Mack" Howell.

Howell has replaced former OHMG COO, Jason Field who's tenure ended in June.

Howell, who has spent his entire career working in healthcare leadership, said he is excited to begin his role at OHMG and implement leadership strategies to help make healthcare more accessible and streamlined.

"I saw the position description and was really quite impressed with what I read. I had no idea there was an independent health system in Owensboro, Kentucky as large as it is," he said. "When I read more about it, the facilities are fantastic, but the people are even better, so I really enjoyed getting to meet Mark Marsh and the leadership team; they seem like a collaborative group, really wanting to build on the foundation and make things even better than they have been."

His goals currently are to help OHMG consider how to improve access for ambulatory operations, looking at growth strategies and how to recruit more physicians to markets that are lacking them in an effort to "keep healthcare closer to home."

He said the most important thing right now is making sure healthcare is accessible.

"The biggest thing is we really need to understand where we have gaps in service and we don't have current access," he said. "If you think about access to care, we have to make sure we have a good primary care strategy. And we have to be able to get people into Owensboro Health Medical Group rapidly, same day or within a week, and get them connected into our care system so we can take care of them in totality."

Getting patients connected within the health care system, he said, is vital to getting them referral to specialists and maintaining their care throughout their lives.

Howell said he would also like to create consistency within the healthcare system as far as check-in procedures and the overall quality and patient experience.

"That's going to be really important," he said.

Throughout the next several months or so, Howell said his main focus will be building relationships with providers and staff and listening to gain a better perspective on where there might be opportunities to improve.

"The biggest thing I want to do is I want to be visible and I want to be connected," he said. "My time, especially at least, in the first three months, will be really just getting to know everybody, listening, understanding where there pain points might be, where the opportunities might be, what are some things that I can do to either move barriers or kind of be able to move things along."

He said as long as the focus remains on the good of the patients, improving quality and access, "we should do really, really well."

"The other things will kind of fall into place," he said.

Prior to coming to OH, Howell was the chief business officer for three service lines at Vanderbilt University Medical Center — Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Emergency Medicine and Otolaryngology.

Howell has worked at Vanderbilt since 2010. Prior to Vanderbilt, Howell served for 10 years as practice director at the University of South Alabama health system in Mobile.

His expertise includes service line development, provider relations, strategy and organizational culture. Howell also teaches healthcare leadership as a professor at Lipscomb University in Nashville.

At OH, Howell will be responsible for the growth and development of the system's medical group, which now includes over 30 physician specialties and locations in nine counties, including the Healthpark and three Healthplex locations. He will provide strategic direction for OHMG practices, oversee patient experience and recruitment efforts, and work to develop the division's culture, among other duties.

Christie Netherton, cnetherton@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7360

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