Floyd Medical Center Straightforward

It Is All About Caring for the Patients

Posted by Kurt Stuenkel, President and CEO
March 15, 2017

While the Republican-led United States Congress debates all of the issues surrounding the repeal and replacement of Obamacare, the day-to-day business of taking care of patients who need the health care system continues on. Each and every day millions of people show up in need, seeking care from physicians, urgent care centers, emergency rooms, hospitals, surgery centers, home health agencies and other providers.

The great news is that, in the midst of all of the policy debates and uncertainty, medical care professionals do what they do best. They continue to provide the medical expertise and compassionate care that are the hallmark of American health care providers. And, they do it for the reason that they all chose health care as a career: A calling, a sense of duty to take care of people who need help. We all are fortunate that there are so many among us here locally at Floyd and throughout the national health care system who have that commitment. When we get anxious about what might happen next, we should celebrate and remind ourselves to stay focused on the thing that first attracted us to health care. This drive to take care of others will sustain us and see us through.

When I think of examples of this I think of one of our school nurses who has become so much more to one of her young charges. After becoming aware of the many needs of a young patient in renal failure, she has taken on the role of case manager, educator and care coordinator in addition to her role as a nurse at one of our local elementary schools.

The extraordinary effort of our Intensive Care staff members to ensure that a patient’s final wishes, which were to be baptized by immersion, could be carried out is another instance where outstanding caring shines through. The video of this event, shot by a friend of the patient’s family, has been watched more than 1.6 million times and continues to resonate with others who recognize the complexity and the beauty of meeting this patient’s very personal need.

I also think about the Physical Therapy Assistant who used her father’s workshop at home to hand-craft a small, improvised skateboard to help one of her patients gain mobility in his hands and arm.

In all that we do we certainly have to manage our resources wisely. We have to figure out how to finance and pay for care not only on a national scale, but patient by patient. In delivering health care there are a lot of complicated things to manage, but if we keep our focus on caring for the patients, I believe we always will find a way through.

When I think of all of the debate and uncertainty that is occurring around health care, I remind myself of what is important by repeating something we say often here at Floyd: People are at the center of everything we do. If we continue to strive to do the right thing, for the right reasons, we will find a way through. It is all about caring for patients.


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Kurt Stuenkel

About Kurt

Kurt Stuenkel has served as President and CEO of Floyd since 1996. He leads a health care system that includes a 304-bed hospital with a level II trauma center and a level III NICU, a family medicine residency program; a 25-bed critical access hospital; a regional primary care network; urgent care centers; and a hospice program. As CEO, Kurt is faced with the many challenges that come with leading a multi-faceted organization that includes a safety net hospital.

He has written articles for, and is faculty with the American College of Healthcare Executives on the topic of Lean Six Sigma and the 120 day workout methodology, and he frequently hosts visitors who wish to learn about the implementation of these techniques.

Kurt has served as Chairman of the Georgia Hospital Association, the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals, and VHA Georgia; as a member of the American Hospital Association’s Metropolitan Section and Regional Provider Board; and as a member of the Georgia Trauma Care Network Commission and the Georgia Health Strategies Council.

Under Kurt’s leadership, Floyd has won numerous state and national awards for supply chain, quality, public relations and programmatic excellence, with a focus on culture, performance, new programs and facilities.