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VOL. 132 | NO. 202 | Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Methodist Changes Its Organizational Structure

By Andy Meek

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Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare has re-arranged itself organizationally, putting its institutions into two groups and encouraging executives to think more across the whole organization rather than with a narrower hospital focus.

William Kenley

As part of this change, Methodist promoted William Kenley to lead one of those new groups.

Kenley is now executive vice president of Methodist’s so-called community group, which include its Methodist Germantown, North, South and Olive Branch hospitals.

The other side of the organization is Methodist’s academic group, which includes Methodist Le Bonheur, Methodist University Hospital and West Cancer Center and which reports to its own executive vice president.

Kenley sees the change as exciting, but also necessary. Methodist rolled it out in the first quarter but still considers it early in its “evolutionary state” in terms of fulfilling it.

“I’m excited that the team I work with is now really looking beyond what traditionally has been the area they’re responsible for,” said Kenley, who came to Methodist in 2004 as CEO for Methodist North Hospital and a few years later was named CEO for Methodist Le Bonheur Germantown. “As an example, we would have some days in the past where we may have patients come through the emergency department at one of our hospitals who we don’t have bed space for at that hospital, and they will be held either in the emergency department or sometimes in a hallway till a bed opens.”

At the same time, one of Methodist’s other hospitals was not at capacity and had a room for that patient.

“So our folks at Methodist South, North and Germantown are working more collaboratively together when those instances do arise, to better be able to meet our patient demands with our overall capacity, rather than just siloing it into each location,” he said.

Methodist is in the process of filling the EVP position that will be his counterpart for the academic group.

In addition to the hospitals that are part of Kenley’s group, the community group also has responsibility for and leadership integration with Methodist’s physician practices, outpatient services and home-based services.

Kenley describes his role as helping Methodist think more, in his words, “longitudinally,” which means what that suggests – thinking from an entire hospital standpoint.

“And helping us find ways that we can add up all of our resources to where they come out to really bring more value to our customers than just the sum of the parts individually,” he said.

The organizational change is a focus of Methodist CEO Michael Ugwueke – who took over that job at the beginning of this year – to better align Methodist’s organizational structure with the challenges and opportunities in the market.

Ugwueke said Kenley’s “expansive health care knowledge, combined with his strong leadership skills, makes him the ideal leader for this position as we work toward our vision of being nationally recognized for providing the highest standard of care and improving every life we touch.”

Kenley held leadership roles with the health care company HCA for seven years before joining Methodist. In describing how Methodist has tweaked its structure, he says the change hasn’t affected the organization’s “very precise focus” on its purpose.

“That’s not changed,” he said. “We’re really even sharper in what our purpose is, just being more focused in how we deliver things going forward.”

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