Public reception set today for Bill James

Tom Joyce

April 10, 2014

The Mount Airy community will say good-bye to its longtime hospital administrator at a public reception this afternoon as efforts intensify to find a successor to Bill James.

Today’s event honoring James, whose resignation was announced last month, is scheduled from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. at Northern Hospital of Surry County. It will be held in the surgery reception area of NHSC.

The reception is an opportunity for the public to drop in and personally express thanks for the service rendered by James, who has been the hospital’s president and chief executive officer for 19 years. The farewell event was spearheaded by hospital leadership including the NHSC Board of Trustees.

One organizer said it was scheduled at a time when officials thought that most people in the community would be able to attend.

James, who has said that his last day at the Mount Airy hospital will be Friday, is leaving to become president of Wake Forest Baptist Health-Lexington Medical Center, a job he’ll begin on April 21.

Today’s reception will include a short program, likely between 3 and 3:30 p.m., to consist of trustee remarks regarding James’ service and the presentation of a gift to the outgoing official. Hospital employees are expected to be on hand along with the general public.

The trustees have credited James with leading Northern Hospital through challenging times in the health-care industry, with the hospital remaining a financially solid and viable medical provider as a result.

Those attending this afternoon’s reception can park and come in at the surgery center entrance, which is accessible from South Street.

Search Continues

As the community bids farewell to Bill James, efforts are picking up steam to find his replacement, on an interim and permanent basis. “Both,” hospital trustees Chairman William K. Woltz Jr. said Wednesday.

“There have been a couple of candidates identified, but we have not made a decision yet,” Woltz, a longtime member of the NHSC governing board, added concerning an interim replacement.

Woltz explained that in seeking the new leadership, local officials are working with Quorum Health Resources, a nationwide hospital management organization with which the Mount Airy facility is affiliated.

“It will be sooner rather than later,” he said of the appointment procedure, mentioning that haste is not necessarily a motivation even though having a CEO to manage the hospital’s daily operations is important.

“It is important to have a real good person come in,” Woltz said.

“We are going to get an interim person in immediately and we are working with the criteria (for that),” he said.

It “may well be” that the interim/permanent replacement(s) for James will come from outside this area, according to the trustees’ chairman.

Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-719-1924 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.