February 13, 2013
Tangipahoa Parish Council
P. O. Box 215
Amite, LA 70422
On behalf of North Oaks Health System Board of Commissioners, please accept
this letter as our formal request to reappoint James L. Nelson, MD to
our Board. Dr. Nelson was initially appointed to fulfill the unexpired
term of Dr. Larry Fambrough which will end April, 2013.
Dr. Nelson has been an integral member of our Board. His medical knowledge
and expertise have been invaluable in guiding our System. Dr. Nelson brings
a uniqueness to our group with his vast medical background and experiences.
He began his career as a General Surgeon in the late 1970’s and
retired from private practice in 2003 when he joined North Oaks as its
first Chief Medical Officer, a position which he held for four years.
Dr. Nelson has a great deal of knowledge about hospital operations and
the complexities of healthcare regulations and processes.
For instance, Dr. Nelson led the System’s initial Electronic Health
Record (EHR) initiative and selection process and has been an integral
part of this federally mandated initiative now being implemented at a
cost of $40 million. To lose this expertise and involvement at its most
crucial stage (implementation) would have an immeasurable impact. Any
industry expert or publication you consult states that the “buy-in”
of the Medical Staff is the most important element for achieving a successful
implementation and to minimize an already disruptive force to delivery
of care. Because of Dr. Nelson’s stature with the Medical Staff,
and his commitment to the implementation and its benefits to the patient,
Dr. Nelson is a key physician “Champion” for us in our efforts
to engage an already busy Medical Staff. Because of who Dr. Nelson is
as a professional and a person, he would not abandon the project if taken
off of the Board, but his status as a Board Member undoubtedly contributes
to his effectiveness in this project and should not be lost.
In addition to the Electronic Health Record mountain we are now climbing,
we have health care reform squarely before us, and it hits us harder because
of our 75% Medicare/Medicaid patient base; the same patient base that
“reform” is directly cutting. Tough questions never before
encountered will have to be confronted. Having a trusted, proven community
leader who is also a physician is a significant advantage for our community,
patients, and physicians when facing these questions and fashioning solutions.
During his almost 35 year career with North Oaks, he served twice as Chief
of the Medical Staff and Chairman of numerous committees which include
Utilization Review, Surgery Steering, Surgery Department, Infection Control,
ICU Department, Bylaws and Credentials. In addition, he served our country
as a member of the United States Air Force Reserve Medical Corps where
he retired with the rank of Colonel. He initially served in the 60’s,
then again in the 90’s when he was deployed in Operation Desert Storm.
James believes strongly in giving back to his community. In addition to
his remarkable medical career and contributions, he has served as a board
member or chairman of the Hammond Chamber of Commerce, Tangipahoa Area
United Way, Downtown Development District, Richard Murphy Hospice Foundation,
and an elder in the First Presbyterian Church.
The healthcare industry is very complex, and we need someone who is well
versed in its intricacies and offers meaningful and purposeful dialogue
in our boardroom. We unanimously believe that person is Dr. James Nelson.
His private life, medical career and health care administration experiences
are valuable resources when we are traversing these uncharted waters such
as the Electronic Health Record, the current version of health care reform,
and other pressing challenges facing health systems today.
It is for the reasons enumerated above and the countless other accolades
and contributions he has made unselfishly, that we respectfully request
you reappoint him and allow our Health System Board to maintain the 40
year tradition of always having a physician on its Board.
Guy Recotta, Jr.
North Oaks Health System Board of Commissioners