The following article is from NARMC, a custom publication of Vowell, Inc., which also produces Arkansas Money & Politics.
Vince Leist is a leader in healthcare. He currently serves as the president and CEO at North Arkansas Regional Medical Center (NARMC) and is accountable for the entire hospital.
“I’m responsible to our board for the overall operations, direction, planning and execution of the strategic plan. I’m directly involved with project development, position recruiting, market share development, community outreach and more. Ultimately, if something goes wrong, I have to answer for it.”
Leist loves working at a rural hospital that makes such a difference throughout the community.
“Working in this capacity in a community hospital in a rural environment provides the opportunity to really make a difference. We do things for the community that increase the quality, availability and safety of healthcare in general. It’s an opportunity to provide the highest level of care right here in everybody’s backyard.”
NARMC’s role in the North Arkansas community is to be a healthcare provider first, an employer second and a business third. Leist says the organization invests where it should and strictly works to serve the community.
The hospital is a nonprofit, as well. This means that any profit the hospital generates is poured right back into the organization. With those funds, the hospital purchases advanced medical equipment, hires additional professionals and grows the market, says Leist.
“The better we do, the better we can do for the community.”
If others are interested in following Leist’s footsteps, he says to start by getting a degree in the healthcare industry.
“When you work in an industry, you need to understand what goes on in every aspect. Additionally, running a large organization requires business training. I would encourage the nurses and technologists in the medical professions to continue educating themselves throughout their careers so that they can continue moving up the ladder. Never stop learning. Never stop reading. When you stop, the industry moves along without you.”
Leist says he decided to go into the healthcare industry because he wanted to participate in the delivery of care that helps others.
“If you want your career to have some value that is measurable in means of essentially helping people get well, healthcare is a great place. I’ve always thought that the more responsibility and influence you have in what’s happening in a hospital, the greater your opportunity to make a significant difference.”
Leist says the delivery of healthcare at NARMC is very personal. The team knows many people throughout the community and engages with them at every level.
Our culture at the hospital allows us to recognize our role in the community. NARMC understands that it needs to be the source of the best healthcare that it can provide, he says.
Leist says he’s become emotionally attached to the success of NARMC.
“The organization is almost a living, breathing entity. It has a personality and so do the people inside the walls of this organization. The building doesn’t take care of anybody. It’s the people and their training, skills, attitudes, courage and desire that take care of people. When you take that into consideration, the culture is the way those people act throughout the community.”
Rural hospitals survive or die on the basis of relationships with physicians, says Leist.
“If you get the doctors in the community, the doctors will bring the patients, the patients will bring revenue. That revenue is used to build the infrastructure. I want a vibrant, healthy and safe organization. I think that one of the most important things that we can do is continue that — building relationships through the community and through physicians.”
“For the most part, we are taking care of the people we bump into every day, so it’s personal. We provide more than 850 jobs in this community. Just imagine our county if this hospital wasn’t here. The economic impact would not just be significant, but I think extreme.”
Leist says Harrison has a wonderful community that he is proud to be a part of. He enjoys all that Harrison has to offer. “It’s a great place to live. There’s clean air, a safe environment and good people. And thanks to NARMC, there are opportunities for the future and access to quality healthcare.”
He is truly a leader throughout the Harrison community for all that he has done for the hospital and the honors NARMC has achieved under his leadership.