Callaway Community Hospital appoints new CEO, COO

Mandi Steele/FULTON SUN photo: (Left) Chuck Baker and Mark Caton will both officially assume new positions at Callaway Community Hosptial on Jan. 1. Baker is the new chief operating officer, and Caton is chief executive officer.

Mandi Steele/FULTON SUN photo: (Left) Chuck Baker and Mark Caton will both officially assume new positions at Callaway Community Hosptial on Jan. 1. Baker is the new chief operating officer, and Caton is chief executive officer.

One of Mark Caton’s goals as new chief executive officer at Callaway Community Hospital is to hear input from the community.

Caton, who has been interim CEO since mid-November and officially assumes the role Jan. 1, said he has many plans for the hospital and one of those is to hold community forums. He said he wants to “understand what the community wants to see, what the community wants for their hospital.”

Caton plans to hold the forums over the next couple of months in different locations around the county. He said there are different steps to initiate change, the first of those is to listen to concerns and ideas from the hospital’s “stakeholders.” Caton said the stakeholders constitute, not only hospital administration and employees, but also patients and community leaders. The second step, he said, is putting a strategic vision together that everyone can support.

“My job is to come in and do a lot of listening,” Caton said.

“I just know that with good teamwork among all key stakeholders that there’s always new ideas and new ways of looking at things.”

SunLink Health Systems, which owns CCH, brought Caton aboard to replace John Graves. Ron Turner, COO of SunLink, said it was his understanding that Graves resigned from CCH because he was retiring. Turner said Caton was chosen after the hospital board of trustees and administration recommended bringing in the most experienced candidate available. He said Caton has a “proven success record” with multiple hospitals where he served as CEO.

“For us to be able to bring a man with those years of successful management of hospitals and leadership of hospitals, we think it is exactly what was needed in Fulton, in Callaway.”

Callaway Community is also adding a new role of chief operating officer, which Chuck Baker will fill, along with his other position of chief nursing officer. Baker said it’s important all the hospital departments cooperate closely and his new role is to oversee that.

“My goal is to really connect and gel together those departments, so it optimizes patient care and efficiency in the hospital,” he said.

Baker also mentioned how communication with Callaway residents is vital. He said he and Caton plan to visit with people to inform them of all the services CCH offers, so they don’t think they have to travel outside the county for care.

Dr. Jack Wells, incoming chief of staff for 2011, worked with Baker at University of Missouri Hospital and now works with him at CCH. Wells stated that, “Chuck brings to the table a tremendous working knowledge of hospital management, as well as his nursing experience.”

Having lived in Fulton for more than 11 years, Baker said he was happy to come to work at CCH in 2007 after previously having to commute to University Hospital in Columbia. He’s worked in the nursing field for 22 years and received his nursing degree from Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, Iowa. He has worked as chief nursing officer at CCH for almost three years.

Caton moved to Fulton from Clarksdale, Miss., where he had been CEO of Northwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center. He’s been in health care for more than 30 years and received his master of science degree in health care administration from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. Caton said he prefers working in a smaller hospital, because it’s easier to get to know everyone and to make changes for the better.

“I saw an opportunity to come to a hospital, meaning Callaway Community ... where I could truly, truly make a difference,” he said.

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