St. Luke's Names Jim Bross as New Chief Executive Officer

COLUMBUS, NC - St. Luke's Hospital has named James B. (Jim) Bross as its new Chief Executive Officer, with Bross assuming his new position July 18. Bross follows Ken Shull who announced in March that he would retire after 43 years in healthcare. Shull led St. Luke's Hospital for nearly seven years.

"We are pleased to welcome someone with the experience and knowledge in healthcare delivery that Jim Bross has to our hospital," said Clark Benson, chair of the St. Luke's Hospital Board of Trustees. "His selection was the culmination of a nationwide search that identified a number of excellent candidates. Jim's achievements and career experiences as well as his personal demeanor will serve St. Luke's well and help move us forward despite the challenges small and large hospitals face in today's environment.

"While we sadly wish Ken well in his impending retirement, we are excited for the future of St. Luke's Hospital under Jim's leadership," Benson added.

With past experience at a hospital similar in size to St. Luke's, Bross said he is looking forward to new challenges and integrating into a new community, meeting the "caregivers" (medical staff, hospital staff and volunteers) and the citizens who depend on St. Luke's Hospital for their medical care.

A native of Central, SC, Bross brings to St. Luke's 32 years of hospital and health plan executive management and healthcare consulting experience. His immediate plan, he said, is to better understand his new community in order to best meet the health and wellness needs of those St. Luke's Hospital serves. He will also focus on sustaining an environment where all caregivers find enjoyment and fulfillment in serving patients and their families.

"Getting to know and understand the community, including the surrounding area served by our hospital, will be my first priority," Bross said. "There are always both formal and informal ways of engaging with the community, and I expect to be actively pursuing both. Along with good formal resources like the Community Health Needs Assessment, engaging with and listening to those we serve, to other health service organizations and to leaders in our community can be a valuable source for understanding the health improvement needs and desires of the community. The importance of this foundational understanding cannot be overstated. Other activities, plans, aspirations and goals of the hospital must be based on understanding the needs of the area that we serve."

Bross said the long-range goal is to have St. Luke's recognized as meeting and exceeding the expectations of those we serve. The last two community hospitals Bross served have been recognized as national Top 100 hospitals, and he anticipates the same success for St. Luke's.

"When we focus on the things that matter most and do things the right way, those balanced results and recognition become attainable for almost any organization," he added.

As the new CEO of St. Luke's, Bross brings strong management experience from his most recent position as chief executive officer of Mission Health System's affiliate, Angel Medical Center (AMC) in Franklin, NC, where he served for three years. Like St. Luke's, Angel Medical is a federally designated critical access hospital that has unique operational and revenue challenges.

Bross was involved with the hospital's strategic growth, performance improvement and cost management while fostering a culture of quality and a focus on the patient experience. He successfully worked to significantly impact the hospital's growth in clinical programs, market share and operating margin.

Prior to AMC, Bross was responsible for business development, client service and delivery and staff coordination as the Senior Director of Client Service for Applied Revenue Analytics in Texas. He served Rutherford Hospital from August 1991 to 2010 in financial management as the Chief Financial Officer and later as the Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Vice President of Operations.

Bross is a 1991 graduate of The Citadel with a Master of Business Administration and a 1984 graduate of Southern Wesleyan University (Central Wesleyan College) in Central, SC.

He and his wife Angie, an elementary school teacher, are moving to Polk County within the month. With parents living nearby in Upstate SC, they are also happy to be closer to their daughter Anna who will begin a teaching career this fall in nearby Pickens, SC.

"We are happy to be closer to our family and especially pleased to be a part of the St. Luke's family as well," Bross said. "We are looking forward to meeting new friends and neighbors and settling into this beautiful area."

When not in the hospital, Bross said he enjoys spending time with family, including the family pet Shih Tzu puppy, Cooper, and focusing on his own personal health and wellness challenges.

"Personal health maintenance activities like running, usually at a 3-5 mile distance level, light strength training at the gym and some occasional hiking and river sports usually do the trick for me," Bross said. "I especially enjoy training for and going snow skiing most any time between November and April. It's always more likely you'll catch me out on the road running on an early morning or late afternoon than on the golf course. Other than personal fitness, my passion is high school and college team sports - especially football. I like to listen to music, and enjoy a variety of styles and genres. I also enjoy amateur photography."

In addition to serving in healthcare, Bross shared he has a life-long goal of developing himself and other leaders to excel in any field of serving their team members and their organization more effectively. In August he will complete a process of becoming certified as a coach, teacher and speaker by the John Maxwell Company, a national leadership development consulting company.

Bross recognizes "Along with the rest of the St. Luke's family and community, I join in great respect and admiration for the body of work done by your retiring CEO. I have big shoes to fill following Ken, pardon the pun, but I'm thrilled for this opportunity and look forward to working closely with our Board and all caregivers, including our Medical Staff, our hospital staff and our volunteers.

"We will honor the great work of past leaders and the rich history of St. Luke's while seeking to determine which clinical programs and services can be expanded or developed to meet the health needs of our community," Bross said. "I will work with all caregivers, the leadership team, the board of trustees and the community to ensure that we thoughtfully and intentionally develop strategies and goals to meet those needs."

Bross' first day at St. Luke's Hospital is set for July 25. The week before, Bross will be immersed in orientation with Carolinas HealthCare System (CHS) in Charlotte which provides management and contracting assistance to St. Luke's Hospital. As a regional affiliate of CHS, St. Luke's Hospital benefits from volume purchasing, provider contracting, and a strong clinical network to share best practices.

"We welcome Jim to Carolinas HealthCare System, and we're excited about working together to make healthcare better for the people of this region," said Paul Franz, Executive Vice President of Carolinas HealthCare System. "The benefits of our affiliation are driven by our mutual commitment to put the patient first, improve the health of our communities and further enhance the overall value for our customers."

The public is invited to join the St. Luke's team by welcoming the Bross family to Polk County. The community is invited to a drop-in reception Tuesday, Aug. 2, 4:30-6 p.m., in the Family Waiting Area of the orthopedic wing at St. Luke's Hospital. For more information, please call 828-894-0971 or 828-894-0972.




St. Luke's Hospital is private, not for profit, community hospital that provides immediate access to high quality emergency, acute medical and surgical care. We provide diagnostic and medical services using the latest technology and the greatest compassion for our patients and families. With an all-volunteer Board of Trustees who live in Polk County, St. Luke's Hospital is dedicated to providing exceptional care, close to home.