By John Schaffner

Tim Stack, the CEO of Piedmont Healthcare System spoke at the Buckhead Business Association weekly breakfast meeting May 8, pointing to improvements that have been made to operations to support the Piedmont promise of “treating you as family.”

He said the goal of the Piedmont Hospital Board of Directors is to be ranked in the top 10 percent of the hospitals in the nation.

Stack pointed out there are 61 hospitals in the greater Atlanta area with 130,000 healthcare employees.

Becoming CEO of Piedmont Healthcare in 2001, Stack has expanded the operation from $330 million in revenues to $1 billion in revenues. But, he said the most important accomplishments were those that helped better serve the patients and community.

Piedmont Healthcare is the parent organization for Piedmont Hospital, Piedmont Fayette Hospital, Piedmont Mountainside Hospital and Piedmont Newnan Hospital.

What are some of the ways Piedmont Hospital has expanded since he took over as CEO?

—The number of emergency room beds has grown from 21 to 48.

—The hospital has spent $25 million on outfitting 22 operating rooms.

—Where the hospital previously was sending 100 patients a year out of state for transplants, it has just recruited its fifth transplant specialist.

It has developed a state-of-the-art cancer center right at the hospital.

The Piedmont Heart Institute now has 80 doctors to serve patients needs.

The hospital staff will begin moving into Piedmont West, on Howell Mill Road at I-75, in October, which should relieve some of the traffic congestion at the main campus site at Peachtree and Collier roads.

In terms of accolades, Piedmont Hospital has earned the Distinguished Hospital Award for Patient Safety for the past two years from HealthGrades, the leading healthcare ratings organization. HealthGrades also recognized Piedmont’s growing cardiovascular program as the best in Atlanta for overall cardiac care and cardiac surgery.

Similar accolades have been reaped on Piedmont Fayette Hospital (ranked among the nation’s 100 top hospitals for the last four years), Piedmont Mountainside Hospital and Piedmont Newnan Hospital.

As a not-for-profit organization, Piedmont Healthcare’s earnings are reinvested directly back into maintaining and improving services and facilities, educational community outreach and research, Stack said.

Turning his attention to the problems in the healthcare industry, Stack pointed out, “We are not graduating any more doctors today than we did 20 years ago,” although the population and patient demands continue to grow every year.

He said 1.7 million residents in Georgia do not have health insurance.

He continues to hear various views of healthcare — where it is broken nationally and what needs to be done in Georgia. Because of the increasing healthcare costs and number of people who either do not have insurance or have extremely high deductibles, he believes a form of universal healthcare may need to be instituted.

“Insurance costs are going to break business owners — especially small business owners,” Stack predicted.