OCH names Jackson administrator and CEO

New OCH Regional Medical Center CEO and Administrator Jim Jackson shares a laugh with OCH Board of Trustees Chairman Linda Breazeale on Monday after being introduced to the community. (Photo by Ryan Phillips, SDN)
Staff Writer

The Board of Trustees for OCH Regional Medical Center introduced 54-year-old James "Jim" Jackson as its new administrator and CEO on Monday.

Jackson assumes the role of administrator and CEO effective immediately upon the retirement of Richard Hilton after his 35 years of service to OCH. Hilton announced in April he would step down after turning 70 years old.

OCH Board of Trustees Chairman Linda Breazeale said trustees considered six candidates for the position before deciding on Jackson as the best fit.

"We knew about Jim early in the process because he has been very active in the Mississippi Hospital Association, so he has been on our radar," Breazeale said. "When you look at his resume, we thought, ‘If there's someone better than this, who is it?'"

Jackson has 31 years of administrative, operational, financial, information systems and public accounting experience, with nearly 20 years at Greenwood Leflore Hospital, where he served as CFO from 1999 until 2009 and CEO from 2009 until 2018. The 248-bed, publicly-owned rural referral hospital is accredited by the Joint Commission and has roughly 900 employees and 23 clinics.

As the CEO for Greenwood Leflore Hospital, Jackson was responsible for the executive, administrative and operational functions of the hospital, including supervision of all medical staff, ancillary, finance, human resources and support departments. Under his leadership, the hospital completed a$13 million physical plant renovation and retired the debt early, completed the purchase of a cancer center for $2 million and oversaw the ongoing $20 million investment in a new computer system.

Jackson is also credited with the recruitment of numerous physicians in specialties such as orthopedics, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, pulmonary and critical care, gastroenterology, otolaryngology, emergency medicine and primary care.

"I've been in this industry now right at 20 years, but even before that I was with a finance background in public accounting and manufacturing," Jackson said. "The main thing is learning how to gather information and make a good decision."

Jackson, an avid Bulldog fan, earned his bachelor of professional accounting from Mississippi State University in 1986. He is a native of Greenwood, and he and his wife Laura, a native of Tupelo and MSU alum, have been married for 31 years and have three sons Jay, 23, Jeff, 18, and John Ross, 13.

"As a graduate of Mississippi State, Mr. Jackson comes to us already with a connection and love for this community," Breazeale said. "He will be an active participant in civic and social activities in Starkville and Oktibbeha County that make the Golden Triangle a thriving region in the state."

Jackson said just being an alumnus of Mississippi State gives him a connection to the community. "It's progressive and growing, which is great, and I want to continue to be a part of contributing to that growth," Jackson said.

Jackson served as the chairman of the 2016-2017 Mississippi Hospital Association Board of Governors and recently served as the chairman of MHA's finance committee. He is a member of numerous committees and organizations, including the American College of Healthcare Executives, Healthcare Financial Management Association, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Mississippi

Society of CPAs. In 2015, he received the Senior Healthcare Executive ACHE Regents Award and was also named 2015 Employer of the Year by the Delta Chapter of Mississippi Business Women.

“I have always known Mr. Jackson to be very dedicated in the delivery of patient care,” Hilton said. “He is trustworthy and well-respected among hispeers. He is very knowledgable of the health care industry and knows what will be required of him in leading OCH Regional Medical Center into the future with the evolving changes affecting all hospitals.”

Jackson said he looks forward to meeting the administration, medical staff and community and getting their feedback on how to make needed changes and work together as a team.

"Whatever we do, we have to ensure and maintain that quality care is the highest it can be, and that will always be our number one priority," Jackson said.

Jackson said he has been following closely the referendum last fall and the affiliation contract discussions, and he has been in similar situations while at Greenwood Leflore Hospital.

“Both hospitals have been through very similar circumstances,” Jackson said. “But I’m just excited and ready to get started.”

Breazeale said Jackson will be involved in the contract discussions with OCH's possible affiliation, but he will have no say in who the hospital affiliates with.

“I’m very familiar with the institutions they have been talking to from our association with the Mississippi Hospital Association, so I’m very familiar with them and I would look forward to having conversations on what could benefit Oktibbeha County.”