Continued improvement

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 28, 2008

Larry Jeter is a different kind of hospital CEO. He isn’t a doctor. His college degrees are in accounting and business administration, but he uses that business knowledge to bring a different perspective to the medical field.

“A hospital CEO needs to have a good foundation in accounting,” he said. “You have to understand that a hospital is a corporation. You always want to have the best healthcare you can, but you must make money to stay open.”

Now, he is using that knowledge as Chilton Medical Center’s new CEO.

Jeter is a native of Elizabethton, Tenn. He is married and has two grown sons, one teaches music at East Tennessee State and the other is a CFO of a hospital. Jeter also has 2-year-old grandson.

After completing his time as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force, he graduated from the University of North Alabama in 1976. It was then that he decided to get into the medical field.

The CFO position at a hospital near his home came open. He had never been involved with medicine before then. He applied for that position and got the job. Except for a short period, he has been working in hospitals ever since

“I love working in a hospital,” he said. “I got out of it for a little while, but I realized then that working for a hospital was what I wanted to do.”

Jeter later earned his master’s degree in business administration from Bristol University in Tennessee.

While he has only been on the job for a week, Jeter is impressed with CMC staff.

“Everyone has been great,” he said. “I’m impressed with the staff and the quality of healthcare being offered here.”

Jeter wants to help grow the hospital. One major area that needs to be improved is the hospital’s daily census, which is how many people are staying in hospital rooms each night.

“This hospital has the lowest census of any hospital I have been at,” he said. “The ones that I have been at were almost full all the time. For us to be a viable hospital, we must have more beds being used each night.”

CMC recently became a hospital that has allowed doctors who use the hospital to buy ownership, and Jeter has worked at two other hospitals like CMC.

“I actually prefer it this way,” he said. “I think it’s important for physicians to have input on how the hospital is run. It makes it beneficial for them to improve the level of care of the whole hospital.”

Jeter said everyone has made him feel at home here in Clanton. He hopes to settle into the area quickly.

“The people in the community are so friendly,” he said. “I’m happy to be here, and I look forward to working with everyone.”