With over 25 years of experience in the behavioral health industry, 15 of that in management roles at for-profit behavioral health hospitals, Arbour Hospital’s new CEO Eric Kennedy has a wide range of business experience.

He has successfully managed a variety of challenges at facilities all over the country—Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Louisiana, Nevada—as everything from COO of a start-up hospital, from the ground up to CEO of a hospital where he reorganized every clinical and administrative function. Here are some of his observations.

Q. Since you arrived at Arbour Hospital, you have spent a lot of time working on the units and in various departments getting to know the operation. What impressed you the most and were there any surprises?

A. I was impressed most with the experience of our unit nurse managers, MHAs and RNs. We have a high volume of patients coming in without having taken medication for weeks. They are suffering from serious impairments that made caring for them, while we start medicine, a delicate task requiring strategic thinking and improvisation. I have learned a lot. The biggest surprise was how much walking is required to be an MHA. I was exhausted and my feet hurt when I finished.

Q. At this time, what do you see as Arbour Hospital’s greatest strengths?

A. First I would say “us!” We are our own greatest strength. When we encourage each other, listen to each other, and are there for each other, we can achieve what is necessary for our patients and families. We have so many things going for us here it is hard to pare it down to a few. We have strong patient satisfaction results. Patient satisfaction is a foundation we build on every day. We have a strong, committed medical staff. Our managers are committed in all departments. We also teach and bring students into the real world of caring for patients with all its complexities and challenges.

Q. What you see in Arbour Hospital’s future?

A. I see us continuing to save lives with our inpatient services and growing our other levels of patient services to meet the huge community needs. For example, we plan to open PHP services at our Quincy campus by the end of the year. We always want to be there for patients and families.

Q. What do you enjoy most about being the CEO of a behavioral health hospital?

A. Every day, I know I will have an interaction with a co-worker or a patient or family member that brings a smile to my face. Every day I look for that moment, and every day it happens.

From AHS News, November/December 2016