When American College of Healthcare Executives of Central Florida (ACHE) members were mulling the recipient of the ACHE President's Award, a prestigious award for an individual who has truly gone above and beyond to support the chapter's mission, a "fast mover" within Orlando Health came to mind.
On Jan. 9, at the Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts during the 2016 FACHE Gala and Awards Presentation of the ACHE of Central Florida, chapter president Jake Kirchner, DPM, MHSA, presented the ACHE President's Award to Rick E. Smith, FACHE, COO of Health Central Hospital in Ocoee.
"All active members of the chapter board were carefully considered for the President's Award," said Kirchner. "Following a call for nominations process, Rick was nominated by his peers and selected by (me). In addition to Rick's exemplary service on the board, he's proactively mentored many ACHE Central Florida members within his organization and personally sponsored multiple new chapter members over the past year. Rick has served on a number of chapter committees, leveraging his wealth of healthcare leadership experience and his professional networks for the benefit of our board, our programs, and ultimately our members."
Smith, a board-certified healthcare executive from Winter Garden, specializes in leadership development through clinical practice and executive healthcare experience, and also key differentiators to operationalize market drivers, leverage relationships, and "lead success through fierce resolve," he said.
Smith's career trek began in 1982 as a radiologic technologist at Baptist Hospital in Gadsden, Ala. By 1987, he was elevated to radiology supervisor at Crestview Medical Center in Crestview. Nearly a decade later, he completed a fellowship in radiology administration with the American Healthcare Radiology Administrators, followed by earning a science healthcare management degree from Kennedy Western University, and a master's degree in health administration from Warren National University. In between degrees, he worked as director of radiology at Laurens County Hospital, a 115-bed facility in Clinton, SC, performing 40,000 exams annually with a staff of 25. Smith then joined Bulloch Memorial Hospital as director of radiology, a 200-bed facility in Statesboro, Ga., performing 60,000 exams yearly.
As manager of radiology services for Bay Medical Center in Panama City, Smith managed an operating budget of $6.5 million, increased procedure volumes by 15 percent, for the nearly 100,000 exams annually, with a staff of more than 80. He then moved to manager of patient care operations for Bay Medical Center, working closely with the COO to provide operational and financial analysis of various services lines throughout the organization.
In 2003, Smith was named executive director of Bay Behavioral Health Center, a 90-bed psychiatric hospital in Panama City. After serving as vice president of two divisions - behavioral, outpatient psychiatric (OP) and support services; and professional and ancillary services - at Bay Medical/Sacred Heart Health System, Smith was named COO of Orlando Health Central in January 2014. Among other responsibilities, he's overseeing the 50,000-square-foot expansion of the emergency department, a $50 million construction project slated for completion in July; and the expansion of a 40-bed tower to bring the hospital's total to 202 private rooms, also slated for completion this summer.
Last year, Smith completed the Leadership West Orange program through the West Orange Chamber of Commerce. He's active in the American Heart Association, was a team leader for three consecutive years for the Bay County Heart Walk, and played a volunteer role in the Covenant Hospice Gala in Panama City. He previously served as an advisory board member for Big Brothers/Big Sisters.