Change and vision are words that come up often when people talk about Bryant Hanson. From his transformational vision and his ability to persuade others that change is good, Baptist Health Floyd’ success over the past years has been due largely to the forward-thinking Hanson had for this small community hospital when he came here over 17 years ago.
When Hanson first saw the hospital, in his own words, he was “taken aback” by its outdated appearance. But then he met the staff. “When I visited the hospital I knew it had the resources, staff and physicians to offer more individuals quality healthcare.” And Hanson had the vision to help Baptist Health Floyd reach that goal.
Jerri Quillman, executive vice president of the hospital, credits him with developing Baptist Health Floyd into a regional healthcare provider. “Bryant has a real vision for change and the transformation we have witnessed comes from a strong leader who can see the future and work to make it a reality.”
Baptist Health Floyd’s presence in this community and the region has been paramount to the top-notch delivery of healthcare. According to Jerrol Miles, chairman of the Board of Trustees, “Bryant’s most visible accomplishment has been the hospital’s emergence as a leader in advanced cardiovascular care with the opening of our community’s first and only Heart and Vascular Center. Miles added, “Under his leadership, the hospital has been innovative and proactive by bringing critical services to our community and fostering partnerships with physicians including the Cancer Center of Indiana, Priority Radiology and the hospital’s newest relationship with Kleinert Kutz Surgery Center.”
Motivator and Leader
Hanson might have been at the helm of the hospital’s success but he is always quick to give credit to his management team, associates, physicians and volunteers who were along with him for the ride.
Katie Wells has been Hanson’s administrative assistant for 16 years. Her most treasured memory of working with Hanson for so many years is how much she loves her job. “I never dreaded coming to work, I love my job and you can’t say something like that and not have it directly reflect on the person you work for.” She added, “He has always made me feel like I could do anything, and encouraged me in learning and developing professionally.”
Wells is not alone. “He is a great person, and he will always think of the associates of this hospital and care about us,” said Wayne Peele, licensed plumber in the Maintenance Department. “When Bryant first started at the hospital, my wife and I were involved in a bad accident in Tennessee that left me in a coma,” Peele said. “Bryant didn’t know me at all but he still worked with the University of Tennessee Hospital where I was to coordinate my safe transportation back to New Albany so I could be near my family.” Peele added, “I see him as a friend and I will miss him.”
However, Bryant’s working relationships are not limited to the hospital’s associates. His position requires active involvement with the hospital’s physicians. For Monty Hocker, MD, that relationship has included being chief of staff during Hanson’s tenure, an independent physician and now as the physician of Baptist Health Floyd’s Family Medical Center in Palmyra.
“I have always enjoyed working with Bryant,” said Dr. Hocker. “I think he has done a great job at Baptist Health Floyd and has brought us a long way. He has been willing to think outside the box, for instance, with the heart program. That program took incredible vision to realize the opportunity out there and to take the idea and bring it to fruition.”
Family practice physician Stephen Nale, MD remarked on Hanson’s ability to transform the hospital from a 20th century acute care facility to a 21st century hospital equipped to meet the challenges of the changing market. “He has always kept the hospital’s welfare at the forefront of his decisions.”
Along with his vision for the hospital’s future, Nale also attributes Hanson to putting Baptist Health Floyd on the map at the local and national level. “He has an excellent reputation among his peers and has accepted some prominent positions with VHA and the Indiana Hospital Association. He has brought a lot of recognition to Baptist Health Floyd.”
Giving Back to the Community
Equally important as his commitment to the hospital is Hanson’s commitment to the community’s health, especially through support of the hospital’s Foundation.
“He has been a catalyst in bringing vision to the Foundation with ideas like the Healthier Community Initiative (HCI) and its Health Express,” said Chuck Kasse, former Foundation and Board of Trustees member. “Bryant does a great job of planting the seed, getting the community involved and then standing back and watching the idea become a reality.”
When Hanson first started, the hospital’s Foundation had a mere $62,000 in assets. Today, the Foundation has over $4.5 million that is used to support the hospital’s Healthier Community Initiative (HCI), a Hanson brainchild that has provided free screenings, health education and resources to thousands of community members. In addition, the Foundation provides scholarships to support students pursuing healthcare careers.
According to Linda Hendrich, executive director of the Foundation, Bryant’s interaction with the Foundation board members and its membership has been key to the organization’s success. “These are community leaders who are giving up their time and talents and he wants them to know that not only the Foundation appreciates them, but that the hospital truly values their efforts and commitment.”
It takes a lot of time to run a successful healthcare facility, but in the midst of all the activity, Bryant has remained a family man. Married to his college sweetheart Annette for 40 years, Bryant is father to Stephen and Tonya, father-in-law to Jessica, big brother to Gary, Jim and Richard and humble son to mother, Christine. “I have always been impressed with his closeness to his family even though they are separated by distance,” said Quillman.
According to his brother Richard who followed in Bryant’s footsteps and is the CEO of Bons Secours Hampton Roads Health Systems in Virginia, “When I think of the ideal, stereotypical, supportive big brother, Bryant is that person. He’s always there for me, and giving me advice. And if I’ve had a tough day at work, Bryant is always telling me to hang in there because he’s probably been through it himself at some time or another.”
Seventeen years ago, a man came to this town with a vision. And with that vision he inspired change. He wasn’t born here or raised here but he quickly grew to love this area. Kasse summed it up best when he said, “Bryant’s heart is in this community.”