Brewer named hospital CEO

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Dr. David Walters and ER Nurse manager Amy Herrington talk with interim ARH CEO Rebecca Brewer Monday afternoon. | Michele Gerlach/Star-News



An aunt who always “rode in on a white horse” and took care of the family inspired Rebecca Brewer to pursue a medical career.

“I thought I wanted to be like that,” Brewer said of the nurse who inspired her. “I thought she hung the moon.”

Brewer was working as a nurse and had never been in management when she was asked to serve on a selection committee to hire a chief nursing officer.

“As I listened to them, I thought, ‘I could do better than that,’ ” she recalled.

With that first introduction to being in charge, Brewer discovered that she loved management. She had worked 13 years as a chief nursing officer when she was tapped to become a CEO. Seventeen years later, she is serving as the interim CEO of Andalusia Regional Hospital. She began work this week, replacing Mark Dooley, who resigned to accept a position with CMH Health Systems in Wilmington, Ohio.

“I love it,” she said. “I still use my clinical skills every day. But I probably use my mothering skills more.”

Having been in Andalusia only a day-and-a-half, Brewer said Monday she has been impressed.

“There seems to be a very good group here,” she said. “There are lots of long-term employees with the hospital.”

She said she is pleased to be working in a hospital with a clearly-defined community and hospital, and where she’ll be known as “Rebecca.”

Most recently, she was interim CEO of Lander Regional Hospital in Wyoming. She was asked to take the post on a permanent basis, but said it was too far away from her family.

She also has served as interim VP for surgical services at Oak Hill Hospital in Brooksville, Fla.; CEO of St. Cloud Regional Medical Center in St. Cloud, Fla.; CEO of Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center in Davenport, Fla.; and interim CEO of facilities in Santa Rosa, Fla., Davenport Fla., as well as facilities in Pennsylvania. She was CEO of Colleton Medical Center in Walterboro, S.C., vice president of patient care services for Aiken Regional Medial Center in Aiken, S.C., and director of nursing at Colleton Regional Hospital in Walterboro.

She holds an M.S. in nursing from the University of South Carolina and a B.S. in nursing from Clemson. As well, she is board certified as a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE).

The health care industry is facing serious challenges, she said.

“Everything follows the money,” she said. “Alabama is one of the toughest states for health care reimbursement.”

Reform is needed, she said, adding that the reform currently being promoted has some challenges.

“If we don’t have some changes, I fear that our brightest won’t become doctors.”

She said there is much that is good about America’s health care system, but believes the system needs to focus more on prevention and well-being, and build rewards into health care premiums for those who don’t smoke and who exercise regularly.

“We need to learn from what we know as we develop a new model,” she said. “Our experience can help us make improvements.”

Brewer and her husband make their home in South Orlando, and her daughter and grandchild live in her native South Carolina. Being in Andalusia puts her in a great location for family, she said.