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Vidant Medical Center President Steve Lawler named chairman of North Carolina Hospital Association

February 27, 2012 by Barbara Dunn

GREENVILLE — Steve Lawler, president of Vidant Medical Center, has been installed as the new chairman of the North Carolina Hospital Association (NCHA) Board of Trustees. 

Lawler was installed as chair during the NCHA winter membership conference in Cary, N.C. He urged his fellow health care leaders to focus on the true purpose of entering their profession. 

“I would like to suggest that we re-evaluate where we are, how we measure our success, and that we commit to a greater purpose – the purpose of improving the care and the quality of life for the people of North Carolina,” Lawler said. “That is why we all really got into this business anyway. Simply put, it is our calling. It is our purpose. The people and communities we are privileged to serve understand and appreciate the fact that we have a greater purpose – perhaps the greatest purpose of all - which is to serve others and care for others in need.” 

While noting the diversity of hospitals and systems across the state, Lawler pointed to the white “H” on a blue background that is the highway sign for hospitals. 

“This sign says ‘Come to me. Bring me your loved ones who need care, who need healing and compassion,” Lawler said. “Here you will be greeted and cared for by professionals. In most cases they don’t even know you, but they will treat you with kindness, they will be nice to you, they will care for you, and they will not harm you. These good people will shepherd you though a complex system and help you get you what need, when you need it.” 

Lawler said health care leaders should work together to make North Carolina a destination and leader in care. 

“We can do this by looking for new and innovative ways to partner and collaborate – not just focusing on our financial bottom line, but by focusing on the real bottom line - which is superior care, superior outcomes and superior value,” Lawler said. 

Lawler’s remarks opened the NCHA Winter Membership Meeting in February. The gathering of about 400 hospitals and health leaders featured presentation by nationally known speakers, including Dr. Reed Tuckson, executive vice president of UnitedHealth Group’ and Beverly Johnson, head of the Institute for Patient- and Family-Center Care. 

Lawler comes to the chairman’s post having served as chairman-elect of the trustees board last year and several years of association involvement at the board and policy development committee levels. 

“We are delighted to have Steve as chairman this year,” said Bill Pully, president of NCHA, the trade association for hospitals and health systems. “Steve has demonstrated his leadership among our members in numerous ways, none more valuable than his spearheading work on a recent certificate of need issue. His calling our membership to higher ground is emblematic of his leadership style.” 

Lawler is joined on the association’s board by eight new members including Joann Anderson, CEO of Southeastern Regional Medical Center in Lumberton; Larry Chewning, CEO of Nash Health Care Systems in Rocky Mount; Vanessa Ervin, a trustee at Onslow Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville; Dr. William Fulkerson, Jr. , executive vice president of Duke University Health System in Durham; Jeffrey Lindsay of Winston-Salem; and Chuck Mantooth, president and CEO of Charles A. Cannon, Jr. Memorial Hospital in Linville. 
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