Melody Trimble: Managing Care on a Large Scale

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Feb. 25, 2013 12:00 am  

Melody Trimble CEO, Summit Medical Center and Sparks Health System

In a span of a little more than two decades, D. Melody Trimble worked her way up from nurse to president of Health Management Associates Inc.’s Southern & Western Group, which covers 26 hospitals in seven states.

Since the promotion became effective on Jan. 1, Trimble has split her time between her new job and her old one(s) as CEO of Health Management’s Sparks Health System in Fort Smith and Summit Medical Center in Van Buren. She said she’ll continue to perform the CEO jobs until a replacement can be found.

As regional president, Trimble, 54, will help improve the hospitals in her division, including Sparks and Summit.

“My goal is to make them extremely successful,” she said. “And success is defined by ensuring we have quality, safe and effective health care.”

When the promotion was announced in November, she received praise from Gary D. Newsome, the president and CEO of Health Management of Naples, Fla.

“With her nursing background, she understands the vital role nurses play in working with physicians to provide high-quality care with a human touch to our patients, and now she can bring that perspective to a larger group of our hospitals,” he said in Nov. 28 news release.

Health Management operates 70 hospitals and has about 11,000 licensed beds, mainly in the South. Its revenue in 2012 was $5.9 billion, up 15.5 percent from the previous year. Its net income dipped 8.1 percent to $164.3 million in 2012.

Hooked on Health Care

Born in Fort Belvoir, Va., Trimble said that growing up she always wanted to help either animals or people. At the age of 16 she took a job as a nurse’s aide at Hardin Memorial Hospital in Elizabethtown, Ky., and was hooked on health care. “I absolutely knew that’s what I wanted to do,” she said.

She wasn’t sure, though, if she wanted to be a nurse or a doctor. But she didn’t think her parents could afford to send her and four other siblings to college. Her father was in the Army and her mom was a secretary for a school district in Kentucky.

Her goal was to attend college to be a nurse and then later return to medical school to be a pediatrician.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Eastern Kentucky University at Richmond in 1980 and a master’s in nursing from the University of Kentucky at Lexington in 1987.



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