Breckenridge Texan

New hospital CEO Brian Roland wants to get to know the community and its healthcare needs

New hospital CEO Brian Roland wants to get to know the community and its healthcare needs
March 18
11:40 2021

By Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

One of the first things on Brian Roland’s list of objectives as the new Chief Executive Officer of Stephens Memorial Hospital is to meet local residents and find out what they want and need from the community hospital and then figure out a way to provide the necessary services.

“I’m one of those where I like to get out and talk to people, whether it’s talking to the Rotary Club, the Lions Club or other community groups,” he said. “Anytime I can talk about health care, I love talking about health care and getting input from folks. I want to have that option. Because that’s the best way I can learn what the people want. You can do a community needs assessment, and you can have a company come in (and survey the situation), but I actually want to get out there myself and talk to people.”

Brian Roland

Roland has been in Breckenridge since February, and his wife, Traci, will be joining him here. They’re celebrating their 32nd anniversary today, March 18. Their daughter, Ashley, is working on her master’s degree in social work at the University of Texas-Arlington.

He comes to SMH from Muenster Memorial Hospital, where he was the CEO, and he’s eager to help SMH move forward.

“What I’m really focused on is what is our post-COVID strategy,” Roland said. “And what I want to be able to do is find out what people want from this hospital and how can we make that happen? I don’t want anybody to leave Breckenridge for healthcare, if it’s something we can do here. What do we do to make that happen?

“Secondly, my goal is to have strong employee satisfaction, physician satisfaction and patient satisfaction,” he continued. “And thirdly, it’s looking at a way to eventually get us to where we’re not dependent upon tax money for the day-to-day operations of the facility.”

Roland acknowledges that lessening the hospital’s dependence on tax money is an ambitious goal, but it’s one he’s tackled before.

“If I can find the right services for this community, that are reimbursable by the insurance companies, and we manage our expenses, it’s a strategic plan that we should be able to get to,” he said. “I do want to clarify — I don’t want to do away with taxes. But I want to utilize them for building a bigger and better health system eventually. That’s my thought process and philosophy.”

In the short time that he’s had at SMH, Roland said, he can see that the hospital has a good staff infrastructure. “And, quality is second to none here. Those are very important,” he said. “I think we have people here who want us to get to that next level. We’re just trying to figure out how we work together and make that happen.”

Roland was born in Wisconsin and spent his early childhood there before his parents moved to Texas to go to Bible college when he was 12. Then, they moved to Pennsylvania to do some missionary work and back to Wisconsin for a year before settling in the Dallas-Fort Worth area when he was 14.

During his 29 years in healthcare, he has worked in a variety of hospitals, both large and small. His career has taken him to Tennessee, Kansas and Oklahoma, as well as to several locations in Texas, including Hamlin, Hamilton, Muenster and the DFW area.

Roland is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, the Healthcare Compliance Association, the Healthcare Financial Management Association and the National Rural Healthcare Association. Additionally, he has served on numerous healthcare organizations, including the Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals, the Texas Hospital Association Rural Hospital Constituency Council, the Texas Hospital Association Endorsed Partner Advisory Committee and HOTComp.

He said he was interested in SMH because he likes the Breckenridge area and knows some hospital CEOs at the surrounding hospitals. “I think it kind of helps me with what I want to try to get done,” he said. “Collaboration and interacting and working with other folks helps move the needle forward.”

Through some of the organizations he’s a member of, Roland said, he’s involved with the Texas Legislature in regards to rural health care, trying to make sure rural hospitals are treated fairly.

One issue he hopes to address locally is getting help for community members who need financial assistance for their medical treatment. He pointed out that there’s a big gap between the number of people who need assistance and those who are signed up for Medicaid or other programs.

“We have to make sure that we’re utilizing all the tools that are out there for us, whether it’s trying to get people financial assistance here at the hospital, because part of that is reimbursable through government if they qualify for Medicaid or other assistance, or getting folks to understand that getting help is not a bad thing – it’s actually beneficial for them,” Roland said.

Recent advancements in telehealth – the use of technology, such as computers or mobile devices, to connect patients with their doctors electronically, usually via video – could help Stephens County and other rural areas with the mental health challenges many communities face, Roland said. “Now, it won’t fix all the problems,” he said. “But it at least gives us an avenue to start working with and trying to figure out how and where we can do that.”

Roland again stressed that the answer to most hospital-related issues is understanding the needs of the community.

“I think it’s important to understand my philosophy on healthcare. I believe we’re here to serve, and to serve a purpose,” he said. “And if there are issues or problems, I want to know about them. That’s one of the reasons I get out in the community and want to be seen. I want people to tell me if there’s a problem, because I can’t fix it unless I know about it. You know, Mark Twain always said, ‘Find something you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.’ Now, I work very hard…don’t get me wrong… but I love rural healthcare. I love the challenge. No, two days are the same.”

New Stephens Memorial Hospital CEO Brian Roland visits with guests at a recent reception to welcome him to the community. He’s been here about a month and is eager to get input from local residents. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Cutline, top photo: New Stephens Memorial Hospital CEO Brian Roland has been in Breckenridge about a month. One of his goals is to talk to members of the community to find out what they want and need from their local hospital. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)


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