Honea takes over as CEO of Glen Rose Medical Center
GLEN ROSE — For the last 28 years, everything Michael Honea has done in the medical field has led him and prepared to where he landed early this week: the CEO of Glen Rose Medical Center.
Last Monday, Honea officially took over for Ray Reynolds as CEO, and Reynolds gives his blessing to the person he helped tutor during his tenure.
“I’m very pleased that the board has selected Michael Honea as its next CEO,” said Reynolds, who took over as CEO for Gary Marks in 2011. “Michael will lead GRMC to continued success in caring for the citizens of Somervell County and the surrounding areas.”
Honea said he’s up for the challenges facing the rural, independent hospital by using the things he has learned in the nearly three decades in the industry.
“I have been here a number of years and have worked alongside Ray and learned everything I can from him,” Honea said. “I think being able to identify with the clinicians from a care-level side and understanding what they have and the financial side as well, and bringing those two things together will help me make the best decisions and outcomes for our patients and facility.”
Honea, who was reared in nearby Clinton, didn’t venture too far away from home for his post-high school education. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology (2004) and clinical lab science (2006) from Tarleton State University and eventually an MBA in healthcare management from UT-Tyler (2016).
He actually began his medical career at his hometown Goodall Witcher Hospital, where he worked as a CNA and EMT for six years (1993-99). As a student affiliate, he rotated in clinical chemistry; hematology; microbiology; blood banking and more at John Peter Smith Hospital (2005-06).
He finally landed at GRMC where he was a medical technologist (ASCP), and he rotated through all laboratory departments (2006-08). He was named the laboratory director and infection control coordinator (2008-13); CFO (2012-16); and COO and laboratory director (2016-21).
Understanding the challenges facing small rural hospitals is what Honea considers one of his greatest assets, and his goal is to continue to ebb and flow with the ever-changing industry.
Honea said when he first started at the hospital some 15 years ago, GRMC was admitting 75 patients a month, and now it’s dropped to less than half that.
“If we’re not already there, really and truly in the next couple of years, the ability for a rural hospital to stand alone on Medicare reimbursements alone is near impossible,” Honea said. “You have to have some other source of income stream to keep the doors open.”
The forward-thinking of Somervell County residents who voted in the hospital district in 2013 has allowed GRMC to keep its doors open while still being an independent hospital. Honea said, especially since the outset of COVID-19, many rural hospitals in Texas and around the country have closed their doors, but GRMC remained viable through the pandemic and became better because of it.
“In the middle of it, we didn’t think so, but on the other side of it, it’s been a good learning experience for us and our nurses and physicians as we have worked our way through that,” Honea said.
Despite COVID, Reynolds said from a financial and cash standpoint GRMC is in as good shape as it’s been in for a while.
“That's reassuring particularly when you're the guy that's going out,” said Reynolds, who worked in health care for 52 years. “It gives us some options to grow, and I'm pleased that Michael will be part of that growth. I'm very encouraged about the future of the hospital.”
“We’re not going to be a Harris Downtown,” Honea said. “We’re a small rural hospital and that’s our niche, but we want to be the best small little hospital we can be.”
His focus, he said, will be on adding services at GRMC so patients don’t have to drive to Fort Worth or other facilities to get the care they need, especially in outpatient services.
In addition to in-patient care, GRMC’s outpatient services are extensive with orthopedic rehab; neuro rehab; stroke rehab; brain injury; amputee rehab; dysphagia rehab; cryotherapy; and speech therapy.
And he’s looking at other services to add — like an Intensive Care Unit — but he said that is still down the road.
“For years, your bread and butter was your in-patient revenue and that’s shifted to the outpatient side, so we’ve had to learn to adapt to provide those services and maintain that revenue,” he said.
He also wants to expand and refine the services provided.
GRMC currently offers a specialty clinic; behavioral health; laboratory services; radiology; urology; pain management; orthopedics; oncology; general surgery; gastroenterology; cardiology; anesthesiology; cardiopulmonary; and emergency care.
“I think there is potential for significant growth (in the area) in the near future as the Chisholm Trail comes along and continues developing,” Honea said.
And his charge, he said, is and will continue to be to evolve and grow to meet the ever-changing health care needs of the residents of Somervell County, while maintaining the rural feel of the community hospital.