VIProfile: Bud Wethington, CEO T.J. Regional Health

Story by Emily Robertson

As a native of Owensboro, Bud Wethington was excited to move back to the region in 2014 to become the CEO of T.J. Regional Health. He brought with him 30 years of experience and a true desire to better others’ lives, which he has held since the beginning of his career.

“I see the healthcare field as a daily challenge to change people’s lives, in a good way,” Wethington says. “Compassion for patients and family members, as well as the interest in the technology, ultimately leads us to better care for all.”

Wethington currently leads the largest employer in Barren County with 1,200 employees within the T.J. Regional Health organization and nearly 950 of those employees working at T.J. Samson Community Hospital. The hospital has been a part of the Glasgow community since 1929.

“Glasgow, and the surrounding community residents, spend their entire lives, birth through end of life, receiving care at T.J. Samson,” Wethington says. “We strive to provide compassionate care for patients for their entire life. Our employees make up a large part of the community. We take pride in our community and being their quality healthcare provider.”

What new initiatives are currently underway at T.J. Regional Health?

Since 2014, T.J. Regional Health has grown tremendously, and we continue to grow each day. In 2015, we purchased T.J. Health Columbia and four additional clinics. Our surrounding clinics include Greensburg, Cave City, Edmonton, Tompkinsville and Russell Springs.

We are currently working to achieve our Commission on Cancer Accreditation with the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Affiliate Network, by Fall of 2017. This achievement will distinguish our oncology services by allowing us to provide the most advanced treatment options available, close to home.

We are proud to announce that we recently achieved Chest Pain Accreditation. We are one of only 19 hospitals in the state to hold this high honor.

 

Our OB department recently received a $20,000 grant from the March of Dimes. This was used to implement a Nurse Navigator position which will help to improve access and education for delivery of care for pregnant women and women of childbearing age.

The T.J. Community Mission Foundation is actively fundraising for the future hospice home in Glasgow. The Shanti Niketan Hospice Home will serve terminally ill patients under the care of the T.J. Samson Hospice Program. To date, the “Love Makes a House a Home” campaign has raised over $1.4 million in cash and pledges toward its goal of $2.5 million. We are very appreciative and pleased with these gifts and the overall level of support for this campaign. This community is truly generous, and it understands how important this project is to ensure we have a continuum of care for people in this region.

T.J. Community Mission Foundation will host their first public fundraising event Saturday, August 19 at 6:30 p.m. at the Ole French Restaurant in Glasgow. The “Denim and Diamonds” event will include dinner, dancing, a silent auction, and a 1 carat diamond raffle, as well as a rifle raffle. For more information contact Kim Lambert at 270-651-4348.

T.J. Health Columbia recently designated space within the hospital as the Clinical Decisions Unit (CDU). A CDU provides rooms for patients who are not ready for discharge from the emergency department but may benefit from an extended observation period.

How do patients benefit from the large network of T.J. Health Partners?

With our large network, we have many providers and locations to meet the needs of our patients. We strive to provide easy access for our patients so that they can receive quality care in a convenient, timely manner. Our network allows patients to be treated close to their homes.

How does T.J. Samson give back to the community of Glasgow?

T.J. Regional Health and its subsidiaries are important to the communities they serve, not only because of the healthcare services they provide, but also for their contribution to the economy. We are responsible for state and local tax revenue through taxes paid and tax revenue generated from our employees. In addition, money spent by our hospital and employees to purchase goods and services flow to local businesses and then ripple throughout the community to stimulate and continue the economic growth.

What makes the community of Glasgow such a unique place to live?

Glasgow is a community full of heart. Our patients build lasting relationships with our providers and staff. And likewise, our employees love our patients. It is not uncommon to see our staff hugging their patients. They support each other, and they trust each other. This is a community where the people truly care, and these relationships last a lifetime.

Tell us a little about your family.

I have been married to my beautiful bride, Jeanell, for 35 years. We have two sons, Neil and Ryan, who both live in Nashville and work in the healthcare field. Both of our sons are engaged and will be married later this fall.

What hobbies or interests do you have?

I enjoy fishing, hunting and golfing. I also enjoy spending time with my wife and our sons.