Brad Talbert spoke with passion Wednesday afternoon about his new position as chief executive officer of Piedmont Medical Center – but made it clear he’s prepared to listen in order to build relationships in the community.
Talbert told a packed room of business leaders at the City Club of Rock Hill that as the community’s “local hospital,” he was looking forward to both helping his patients and giving back to York County.
Talbert was tapped as the hospital’s new chief executive in June, succeeding Bill Masterton, who took a job at a teaching hospital in Louisiana.
“It’s our job to convince people to stay local for health care services and not give them a reason to leave,” said Talbert. “We have a great opportunity to grow our services here, and I want to be a part of that.”
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Talbert will be responsible for overseeing all areas of operations at the Rock Hill hospital. He worked for the past four years as CEO at Coastal Carolina Hospital in Hardeeville. Both Piedmont and Coastal Carolina hospitals are part of the Tenet Healthcare network.
In all, Talbert holds 19 years of experience in the health care industry in four different states, including the past 13 years as a senior-level executive. The new CEO, who said he plans to spend the next few months hearing from his employees, said York County is experiencing rare growth that isn’t often seen throughout the state.
Talbert’s message of regional economic growth – bolstered by a thriving Piedmont health care system – resonated with Rob Youngblood, president of the York County Regional Chamber of Commerce. Piedmont is one of the largest employers in the area, with close to 400 active physicians and 1,400 full- and part-time employees.
“The area is new to him,” said Youngblood, “but it’s good to have someone here who understands where things work, and bring his new ideas, too. I think it’s a great marriage; we’re looking forward to having him here for a long time.”
Before joining Tenet in 2008, Talbert was chief executive officer at Kindred Hospital in Charleston and Select Specialty Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. Talbert was named chief executive officer of Coastal Carolina Hospital in July 2012.
He previously was market vice president of business development and chief operating officer of Tenet’s Hilton Head Hospital.
Talbert grew up in Spartanburg and still has family there. He said he was looking forward to new opportunities to build on his hospital’s reach, including an emergency room expansion and a new imaging center in western York County.
There are some early obstacles: Piedmont announced earlier this month that its urgent care center off Dave Lyle Boulevard would shut its doors on Aug. 26. Meanwhile, the South Carolina Court of Appeals will hear the challenge to Piedmont’s bid to build a new hospital in Fort Mill some time in November.
Tenet Healthcare has waged more than a decade-long battle against Charlotte-based Carolinas HealthCare System to obtain a certificate of need to build a hospital in Fort Mill.
Talbert told Wednesday’s audience that even if the state appeals court rules in Piedmont’s favor, Carolinas HealthCare System could still challenge that decision at the state Supreme Court level.
“We’re respecting the legal process, as we have all along,” said Talbert. “Until then, I think we can do more to serve the residents of Fort Mill even more than we are today. We’re already evaluating opportunities up there.”
Talbert earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from Wofford College and a master’s degree in health administration from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.
He and his wife, Jennifer, have two sons, ages 8 and 6. He said they would be moving to join him in York County in the near future.
Youngblood said: “I think the message is clear – the importance of health care to the economic and business development around here. It shows how far the tentacles and the reach of the hospital go in the community.”