Trimble, Charley 1998-11-18

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Covenant Health System CEO Charley Trimble reflects on his career in hospital administration and the causes and issues that were part of the merger of Methodist and St. Mary’s hospitals that led to Covenant Health System.

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: Charley Trimble

Additional Parties Recorded: None

Date: November 18, 1998

Location: Lubbock, Texas

Interviewer: Fred Allison

Length: 1 hour 40 minutes


Tape 1, Side 1: Background, Born: Hobbs, New Mexico (1947), Father, Policeman and sheriff in Lea County, N. M., Moved to Lovington, New Mexico, Lived over jail in courthouse, Father (again), Graduate of Seminole, Texas High School, Attended Texas Tech University, Part time work at Methodist Hospital (1967), Courtesy attendant, Duties, Major in Engineering, Work at Methodist Hospital (again), Worked at St. Mary’s Hospital, Business manager (1971), Director of Accounting, Graduated from Texas Tech (1972), Brownwood, Texas Community Hospital, Business Manager, Attended Trinity University (1973), Met Jim Houser, Had worked as orderly at St. Mary’s Hospital, President of class, Major: Health Care Administration, Master’s degree, Returned to Brownwood, Texas, Odessa, Texas, Assistant Hospital Administrator, Chief Financial Officer, Health Science Center (Lubbock General Hospital, 1980), Executive Director and Chief, Financial Officer, Jake Henry, Chief Executive Officer, Became St. Mary’s Hospital’s CEO (1984), Became CEO of HSC, Jim Courtney, present CEO (1998), Tulane University Medical Center (1987), Vice president, CEO of Tulane University Hospital, Jake Henry asked him to become CEO, St. Mary’s, Henry became Executive Vice President for St. Joseph Health System, Presently (1998) CEO and President of Covenant, Health System, Regional Vice President for St. Joseph, CEO of all three Lubbock hospitals, Overview of career, ‘rags to riches’, Methodist Hospital (1967), CEO, George Brewer, Impressions, Role in improving Methodist Hospital, Tough on physicians, Callousness, Authoritative, Left in 1986-87, Influence, Job offer as internal auditor, Job offer from Dr. John Buesseler at Texas Tech, Medical School, ‘Curt’ comment to Brewer over pay, Buesseler (again), Medicare in early stages, Reactions, Data processing equipment, Xerox copy machine, Tornado (1970), Sound, Wind, Damage, Activity at hospital, Injured physician, People treated without charge, Indigent care, Early use of penicillin, Segregation, St. Mary’s policy (1971-72), Indigent care (again), Hospitals dispute, Air lifting patients to University of Texas Medical Center, Galveston, Texas, Circus ‘Fat Man’, Most people cared for, Improvements in indigent care, Uninsured children, Medicare/Medicaid, St. Mary’s Hospital (c. 1971), New building, Indigent care, Catholic teaching, Texas Tech Medical School, Early days, Buildings, Agreement with West Texas and St. Mary’s hospitals.

Tape 1, Side 2: Texas Tech Medical School (continued), Methodist Hospital, George brewer’s position on medical students, Sister Maureen’s (St. Mary’s) support, Critical to survival of school, Early buildings (again), Founding dean, Dr. John Buesseler, Insightful, St. Mary’s Hospital, Director of Business Services (1971), Patients, Jake Henry, CEO (1984), His and Jim Houser’s growth plan, 1978 agreement with Health Science Center and Methodist Hospital, Close obstetrics unit, Methodist reopens, St. Mary’s reopens, Houser and Henry friendly treatment of physicians, Enhanced reputation, Building growth, Physician treatment (again), Friendliness, Informal and formal, Hospital competition (1985-1995), Duplicative services and programs, Helicopters, St. Mary’s first, Cardiology patients, Helicopters (again), Expense, Intensity, Methodist Hospital, Building growth (1988), Children’s Hospital, Parking garages, Knipling Center, Increasing debt, Growth strategy, Leadership style, Market dominance, William Poteet, Characteristics, Friendliness to doctors, Mutual dislike of Jake Henry, St. Mary built Neo-natal intensive care unit, Methodist followed, University Medical Center’s (UMC) unit, Regional Planning Committees (mid-1970s), Certificates of Need, Failure, Reagan era health care policies, Stimulated competition, Medicare and managed care, Squeeze on hospitals, Conditions, Shrinking health care industry, Deliberate plan of federal government, Mergers, Managed care (again), Family impact, Changes from earlier time, Costs compared to 1967, Better medicine, Technology, Cardiac care, Dr. Don Bricker, Student of Dr. Michael DeBakey, Impact on Lubbock, Quality of Lubbock medicine, Compared to Tulane and New Orleans, Louisiana, Hospitals, Physicians, Dr. Don Bricker (again), Dr. Paul Walter, Harvard Medical School, Texas Tech Medical School, Lubbock citizens unaware, Background on Lubbock medicine, Methodist Hospital (c. 1954), Influence, George Brewer, Impact of Medicare.

Tape 2, Side 1: Quality of Lubbock medicine (continued), Medicare’s impact (continued), Managed care initiatives, Hospital competition (again), St. Mary’s growth strategy, Personal and intense, Methodist Hospital’s mistakes, Debt from building program, Confidence from reputation, Poteet’s charisma, St. Mary’s focus on small town doctors, Dr. James Burrell’s group, Methodist Hospital not growing, Community focus, Merger (St. Mary’s and Methodist Hospitals), Initiating, Alan White, Matt Malouf, Talks with Charley Trimble, Arrington Cancer Center opening ceremony, Rich Statuto of St. Joseph, Health System and Alan White, California meeting, Poteet’s opposition, Talks with Columbia Health System, Negotiations, Talks fell apart, St. Joseph’s insistence on financial control, Not a takeover, Best for community, Win-win situation, Phenomenal process, Former competitors, Government approval, Restarting talks, Mark Griffin, Poteet’s resignation, Loss of money, Loss of market share, Internal Revenue, Service talks, Merger issues, Federal Trade Commission, Lawyers, Studies, Emotionalism, Sensitive issues, Employee and physician loyalty, St. Joseph executives and Board of Methodist, Hospital persistence, Theological issues, Sterilization, Tubal ligations, Compromise, Abortions, Similar policies, Unanimity of support for merger, Community, Employee concerns, Post-merger stage, Leadership, Projected image of Covenant Health System.

Tape 2, Side 2: Merger (continued), Post-merger stage (continued), Emotions, Methodist Hospital’s other options, Harris Methodist, Fort Worth, Texas, Lawyers’ personal stake, Mission of Covenant Health System, Health and quality of life, Community, Key people, Jim Houser, Alan White, acting CEO of Methodist Hospital, Personal liability, Friends, Concerns of Methodist Board, Emotions, Tough decisions, Personal feelings, Danny Johnston, Dr. Robert Salem, Dr. James Burrell, Paul Viviano (St. Joseph Health System), Dynamics of negotiations, Local representation, Relationship between Alan White and Trimble, Christian influence, Methodist Hospital loss of spiritual focus, Rev. Cliff Wright, Similarity of Methodist and Catholic views, Prayer meetings, Covenant Health System culture, Values, Goals, Uniqueness of merger, Lubbock not immune to problems, Threat of competition, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Legacy.

Range Dates: 1947-1998

Bulk Dates: 1995-1998

Access Information

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Recording Format Notes:


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