NORTH ADAMS -- With just a little more than three weeks under his belt, Northern Berkshire Healthcare's new CEO and President Timothy "Tim" Jones is already in the midst of a 90-day internal operations assessment.
"With my background, I fully understand the importance of hospital safety," he said Wednesday during a welcoming reception at North Adams Regional Hospital. "My number one priority is safety first. There's only one thing I want to put on a billboard around here and it's ‘Safest hospital in Massachusetts.' But in order to do that, first I have to better understand our internal operations."
Jones, who was one of two finalists for the position, joins the health care system from MetroWest Medical Center's Leonard Morse Hospital, where he served as chief operations officer since 2007.
"One of the advantages I have is that I have a clinical background," he said. "I was a licensed radiation therapist working with cancer patients. I began as a transporter and worked my way up through college. My other advantage is that I have a strong operations background."
To better acclimate himself with the daily operations of the hospital, Jones said he's been meeting with staff, physicians and administrative leadership.
"I'm asking everyone the same questions," he said. "I'm also making observations. When I'm through, I'll be presenting everyone with the feedback I was given, my observations and my recommendations. Together,
In addition, he said he's committed to being transparent, both internally and with the community, about where "the hospital is [financially] and where it plans to go."
After completing his 90-day assessment plan, Jones said one of the things he'll be focusing on is making the hospital a community anchor not only in the realm of health care, but also from an economic standpoint.
"I've already met with the mayor and discussed some of the ways I believe we can create micro-economies based around the health care industry," he said. "I know of a company in Israel that is looking to develop technology. I think there are many opportunities for us to attract businesses here."
Becoming part of the greater community, both professionally and personally, is another goal, he said.
"One of the things that attracted us here was the lifestyle," Jones said. "My wife, Gina, and I own property in the Northwest Kingdom of Vermont. We like the rural feel of the community. It's just beautiful."
He was also attracted to the opportunities he saw within Northern Berkshire Healthcare.
"Primarily, I was at a point in my career where I was looking to move to the next level," he said. "I like environments where I can help change the direction. Clearly, with the hospital and the system emerging from difficult financial times, there is a great opportunity to help change the direction and the culture that has existed here. There's also a great opportunity to engage the community and help create a healthier community."
Jones and his wife, Gina, who are from Andover, have four children, ranging in age from 15 to 25.
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