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Florida Hospital Flagler CEO Ken Mattison Leaving For Volusia; Ron Jimenez, a Physician, Takes Over

| April 7, 2016

ken mattison ron jimenez

Florida Hospital Flagler CEO Ken Mattison, left, looks to Dr. Ron Jimenez (center) as his successor. ‘If I had to choose someone to replace me, he is that person, because he cares about the same things that I do,’ Mattison said this morning, announcing the transition at a chamber function. Sitting to the right is Rep. Paul Renner, whose presentation to the chamber was somewhat upstaged by the announcement. (© FlaglerLive)

Just three years into his tenure locally, Florida Hospital Flagler CEO Ken Mattison said this morning that he was leaving for a new post in Volusia County at the end of the month. His replacement is Ron Jimenez, a physician and the chief medical officer at Florida Hospital Memorial in Daytona Beach since 2009. Jimenez, who will oversee the largest private employer in Flagler County, with over 1,000 employees. It will be his first posting as a hospital chief executive.

Mattison made his announcement before a breakfast organized by the Flagler County Chamber of Commerce that was to feature the county’s legislative delegation–Sen. Travis Hutson and Rep. Paul Renner. The legislators were somewhat upstaged by Mattison’s announcement, which had been rumored around town (members of the Free Clinic had heard about it last week, and Chamber President had heard “rumblings” about it) and known by the hospital board, which had interviewed Jimenez.

Adventist Health Systems on April 1 closed the $40 million deal to acquire Bert Fish Medical Center in New Smyrna Beach, where it pledged to invest another $35 million. It was “looking for a CEO that was seasoned–that really means that it was an old guy that had been around a long time,” Mattison said, “but that could help bring the Florida Hospital New Smyrna into the family, and they have asked me to go down. So as of May 1 I will be taking on responsibilities for helping to bring that facility up into the system. I will be remaining here to help with the transition.” The medical center will be called Florida Hospital New Smyrna, adding to Adventist’s 46 hospitals and some 8,200 licensed beds in ten states.

adventist health

Rob Fulbright, Florida Hospital East Florida Region CEO, and Steve Harrell, CEO of Bert Fish Medical Center, unveiling the new name for Bert Fish Medical Center: Florida Hospital New Smyrna, last week. Harrell will become the chief operating officer for the facility. (Click on the image for larger view. )

The merger with Bert Fish was not a surprise: the two organizations had been working on it since November 2014, when the Southeast Volusia Hospital District Board of Commissioners selected Adventist Health System to acquire the 112-bed facility in New Smyrna Beach. Mattison’s departure was, however, less expected, and Jimenez himself learned of his new posting only in the last few days.

“It’s frankly a bittersweet thing for me because I love Flagler County, I love this community, I love the people that I have had the privilege of working with over the last three years,” Mattison said in a brief interview after this morning’s chamber event. But he’s not concerned about a break in the momentum from his tenure, though he’d have liked to be here to see the ongoing construction of a 32-bed expansion to completion. “I truly believe that Dr. Jimenez is an extraordinary leader already in his own right and has demonstrated a passion for the mission of the organization and the access to care initiatives that we’ve been promoting. Fortunately, if I had to choose someone to replace me, he is that person, because he cares about the same things that I do. And while I’d never speak for him, I do believe that Flagler County is in good hands.”

Mattison spoke with hospital board members individually in the past couple of weeks to inform them of his reassignment, Barbara Revels, one of the board members, said. “Even though he’d planned to stay at Flagler through his retirement, for the organization he said OK, I’ll do it,” Revels, who is also a county commissioner, said. Hospital board members, she said, weren’t so much upset about it as “really disappointed to lose him” because Mattison had been very supportive and “engaged to further community health in Flagler County.”

Mattison had helped Revels establish a committee that brought together all local health care providers, what eventually turned into Flagler Cares, intended to raise the bar of community health and possibly explore what social factors determine individuals’ health conditions. “Ken was the impetus for that in telling me how it worked in previous communities he was in, so I think that buy-in, even for somebody new moving into the community, he immediately bought into the community he was in,” Revels said. Jimenez, she said, told the board in his interview that he would continue that approach. “He has been working on community health at Memorial in Ormond, so he says that will be one of his passion, and many of us on the board have made that fairly clear that that’s what we hope he will continue to do.”

Jimenez said he was not nervous about his first hospital CEO posting. “The team is really what you utilize to get the work done, and I’ve got a great team, so I’m not worried about that,” he said. Nevertheless, the father of two adult children and grandfather to two, just began to familiarize himself with the county. “Visited a little bit the facility and the surrounding area, but I’m not real familiar with the entire county.”

Jimenez is a gynecologist by specialty. “There are three imperatives that face us in health care that also face us here in Flagler County,” he said. “Improving the quality of care so the delivery is at the highest level possible. That’s number one. Number two is making sure that we have access to care for all those in the county no matter where they live or what their care source is. That’s an important piece. The third part is that we work on the efficiency of delivering the care so the cost to care can be decreased.”

The latter priority has been a challenge locally. Jimenez said he’d look to institute certain methodologies such as the “lean” system of delivery. “Lean is the process that Toyota uses in their manufacturing,” he said, “to make the delivery of their product the most efficient it can possibly be. What the facilities and health systems that have done it in health care have found that the outcome is better and the cost is less.”

Jimenez before joining Memorial had been Vice President of Medical Affairs and Chief Medical Officer at Park Ridge Hospital in Fletcher, N.C., and previously been a staff physician there. After graduating summa cum laude from the University of Florida, he got his medical degree with honors from Loma Linda University School of Medicine in California and his residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Florida. He was chief resident and was named Resident Teacher of the Year there.

In an email to hospital staff this morning, Mattison wrote: “Had you asked me two months ago what my future would hold, I would have unequivocally stated that I would stay here at Florida Hospital Flagler for the remainder of my career,” and described himself as ” torn – very torn” over the decision. “But God’s path for us isn’t always the easy choice. Sometimes God asks us to step out of our comfort zone to do something in His name and for His reasons.”

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8 Responses for “Florida Hospital Flagler CEO Ken Mattison Leaving For Volusia; Ron Jimenez, a Physician, Takes Over”

  1. tom says:

    Mr. Mattison did a great job. He set the tone of friendly, caring, professionalism at the hospital.
    The staff was happy and it showed in how patients were treated.

    Thank you Mr. Mattison.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Good luck Ken in your new endeavor. You left a good impression here in Flagler County……not like most others in leadership positions in the city of Palm Coast and county of Flagler..

  3. r&r says:

    Maybe the new guy can improve ER servive and the Doctors employed by them.

  4. Anonymous says:

    It looks like Flagler Hospital Flagler is but a training ground for people on their way to bigger and better things. That does not bode well for the future of Palm Coast/Flagler.

  5. Algernon says:

    To: r&r – there already have been improvements to the ER service and experience in the past few months, but there are many factors which go into a visit there. If you have ER concerns, please make them known to the hospital – call and ask for the head of the ER. Maybe something from your time there can be fixed to help the next visitor.

    To Anonymous – Florida Hospital Flager isn’t just a training ground as you suggest. President Ken Mattison had no plans to move anywhere when he came here, with a full career behind him, but the larger Adventist Health system must have decided his skills were needed to help blend the cultures of the former Bert Fish Hospital in New Smyrna with the Adventist system. It takes a special skill to make those mergers work, and he has that skill, it seems.

  6. Rich says:

    To anonymous (interesting name.) I personally have had three experiences with F. H. F., and all were very positive. In each case, l received excellent professional and personal care and attention. I agree with the response to your opinions? If you have an issue, let it be known to the people that can help correct that issue. Telling the general public will not resolve anything. Thank you Mr. Mattison and good luck.

  7. dave says:

    Dr Ron, welcome

    His history

    Dr. Jimenez has more than 23 years experience in direct patient care and health care management. As chief medical officer, he will work proactively and collaboratively to promote high quality medical care with the hospital’s medical staff, administrative leadership and support staff in all clinical initiatives. Also, he will provide leadership and direction in areas such as peer review, Cerner implementations and physician credentialing.
    Dr. Jimenez comes to Florida Hospital Ormond Memorial from Park Ridge Hospital in Fletcher, North Carolina, where he held the positions of vice president of medical affairs and chief medical officer. He also served as an Ob/GYN physician on the hospital’s medical staff.
    Dr. Jimenez fulfilled his residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Florida where he served as chief resident and was named Resident Teacher of the Year. He earned his medical degree with honors from Loma Linda University School of Medicine in California. Additionally, he graduated summa cum laude from the University of Florida.

  8. Geezer says:

    I resided in Cypress Knoll, and I was my elderly mother’s caregiver
    (with a lot of help from my wife). Despite Memorial Hospital Flagler’s
    proximity to my house, I preferred taking US-1 to Flagler Hospital for
    non-critical situations. It’s just a better hospital in my opinion.

    Mom did get very sick one day in late 2014 and wound up in MHF’s ER.
    There she began her steady march towards death. She was intubated,
    and moved to the ICU. Much to my surprise the ICU now leans heavily
    on a camera hookup in every room, with a connection to a medical
    professional (off-site, out of state too) who intermittently monitors the
    patient by focusing in on the various monitors in the room, IV drip, vital signs,
    and viewing the patient looking for signs of distress.

    This is a cost-cutting measure which allows the hospital to have fewer
    doctors in the ICU doing rounds. That didn’t sit well with me, and my
    hands were tied. I couldn’t move my mother to another facility in her
    condition.

    While I did meet a few kind, and dedicated nurses, there was this one
    aloof male nurse, who would sit in the ICU corridor with his legs extended
    as visitors walked by. This guy ended up being assigned to my mother.
    He was as unmotivated and cold as anyone I’ve ever had the displeasure
    of encountering in that hospital–and there were a few.

    One afternoon there, my mother went into respiratory distress, after having
    her breathing tube removed for a day. Before this development she was rallying
    and showing signs that she was going to prevail. She began to “code”
    and I was thrown out of the room for the crash cart guy, and then the
    respiratory personnel.

    I heard the sounds of bubbling, gasping and rattling, as my mother’s body
    reacted to the second intubation.

    I was outside the curtain in the room and overheard the banter between the
    techs and the ICU doctor. They were discussing inappropriate subject matter
    relating to a female nurse and laughing out loud. It sounded like a party.
    They didn’t realize that I was just beyond the curtain.

    I realize that they do this for a living and some detachment and levity is required.
    But the belly laughs really put me off. There I was thinking that my mother was
    dying in those moments. I wish I had recorded this with my phone.

    MHF does offer good outpatient care, and there are a number of excellent
    people there. But I met many an ex-MHF nurse in St. Augustine who would tell horrific
    stories of their experiences with sub-par patient care in Palm Coast.
    The stories consisted of: premature releases, lack of beds, and procedures
    done too late, where the patients died.

    If you or a loved one is facing a hospitalization, consider the trip to St. Augustine.

    Thank you for reading this post.

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