County hospital has new administrator

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 30, 2005

Jim McKnight said he felt right at home moving to Luverne to become Crenshaw Community Hospital's new administrator.

"I tell you, you bill yourself as the 'friendliest city in the south' and that's the truth," said McKnight. Former administrator Brad Eisemann, who served as administrator for eight months and is a strategic planner for CCH management, In-Med Group, Inc., will work from the company's Montgomery office.

"He likes rural communities and small towns," said Eisemann of McKnight. "He was the one to bring here. This is a great facility and a great town. It deserves someone who lives here and works here."

Email newsletter signup

McKnight, along with his wife, Debbie, have already purchased a home in Luverne.

"There was only one house for sale and we bought it," he joked as hospital staff and residents enjoyed a reception on Tuesday honoring McKnight's arrival. "Brad did a wonderful job while he was here and I'm looking forward to serving and becoming a part of this community."

McKnight recently served as a consultant developing a joint venture hospital in Port St. Joe, Fla. The hospital is scheduled to open in 2007. Prior to that he served six years as CEO of Doctors' Memorial Hospital in Perry, Fla. He has 25 years of healthcare management experience.

McKnight said his time spent as an administrator in Florida was most enjoyable and he missed the day-to-day interaction with people. That was one of the reasons he decided to apply for the job in Luverne. Another, was the hospital's upcoming $4 million renovation project. During McKnight's tenure in Perry, the corporation built a new hospital so he said he's been extensively involved in the design and construction process as it applies to healthcare facilities. Additionally, the county's acquisition of major Hyundai suppliers was a big plus for McKnight.

"This is a growing area," he said. "And it's an area that's going to have quality growth, with a number of good paying jobs that provide good health insurance."

McKnight said one of his goals is to keep those who need healthcare in Crenshaw County.

'There should be no reason for a person to go to Troy or Greenville in order to receive healthcare when everything they need is right here," he said.

He said he was happily surprised that two of the area's physicians - Dr. Charles Tompkins and Dr. Pat Walker - were actually born and raised in Crenshaw County.

"That's wonderful. That's so unusual in rural areas," he said. "And that's what we need."

McKnight said there's not much difference between Northern Florida - where he and his wife resided near Panama City - and South Alabama.

"We refer to ourselves as Lower Alabamians down there," he said.

McKnight said he and his wife are looking forward to becoming active members of the community. He was United Way chairman for Taylor County in 2003 and President of the Perry Kiwanis Club. He has 30 years of experience as a youth and high school football and baseball coach. He said he has already attended several of the recreation league baseball and softball games in Luverne and would like to become involved in youth sports again at some point in time.