Kentucky native Ryan Geib joined Mercy Fort Smith on Jan. 6 as the hospital’s new chief operating officer, replacing Juli Stec, who has taken on a new role with Mercy Fort Smith as vice president of operations.
Geib most recently lived in Pensacola, Florida, where he served as the assistant administrator for HCA Healthcare’s West Florida Hospital. He also previously worked as HCA’s director of facility management in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and worked as senior director of facility operations for King’s Daughters’ Health in Madison, Indiana.
In coming to Fort Smith, Geib saw an opportunity to return to a not-for-profit hospital in a new role with Mercy.
“I was initially drawn to Mercy Fort Smith because of the chance to lead a high-performing faith-based organization and what it stood for, and the opportunity to put down roots inside the community and be a part of something," he said. "A week into this and I firmly believe this was the right decision. The people have been very welcoming here.”
Geib believes continuing the efforts toward community outreach and extending efforts in the area’s more rural communities will be key parts of his new role.
“We’re continuing to minister to the community,” he said. “We’re finding ways to strengthen the outreach that we’re already doing while developing new methods of doing so, and I think continuing to evaluate and implement easy access for our patients in rural communities. How do we deliver care to them in a more effective manner?
“The first mission of a hospital is to deliver high-quality care to patients inside the four walls, but with coming here and seeing it, over the first week, you see how tightly interwoven Mercy’s mission is in the community, too,” Geib continued. “It’s not just here (at the hospital); it’s happening out in the community as well.”
The new Mercy Rehabilitation Fort Smith at Chaffee Crossing, which is scheduled to open early next year, is a “big win” for patients in the Fort Smith area, Geib added.
Geib’s past experiences in the health-care field will benefit him in his new role with Mercy Fort Smith, he said. He has a proven track record with strategy involving things such as access points, new service lines and growth within the health-care industry. In his career, Geib has done close to half a billion dollars in construction growth.
“My previous positions have been in highly competitive climates, and so we really had to be innovative,” he said. “So, thinking outside the box. How am I going to leverage innovation and technology to deliver this care that we may not have? How are we going to partner with physicians to connect so that I can bring a higher level of care to our patients here to keep them in our system and be able to bring that access to them?”
Geib added that physician recruitment is a big piece of that, saying, “Our ultimate goal is we want to keep our patients in Sebastian or surrounding counties as opposed to having to having them leave the community to get the care they need.”
In the coming weeks, Geib plans to job-shadow at various departments throughout Mercy Fort Smith to get to know the co-workers, who already have made a great impression on him.
“That’s where the best ideas are coming from, at the bedside, and so I want to make sure we as a leadership team are getting out and being accessible and hearing first-hand the resources that they need to do the jobs,” he said.
“The mission … you feel it; it’s tangible when you come into the organization,” he continued. “Walking the halls, I firmly believe our people are the best. I talked to one particular colleague, and they said, ‘I love my job. I love my co-workers. And I love my patients.’ And so, it’s kind of hard not to want to be a part of that.”
The Fort Smith area already has left an early impression on Geib, who describes the area as beautiful with a small-town feel.
“Beautiful area, great people,” Geib said. “There’s the revitalization downtown, economic growth, what’s happening at Chaffee Crossing. Having the health college (Arkansas Colleges of Health Education) is huge. There are so many positive things happening for the area, and there’s reason to broadcast that, to make Fort Smith a destination. A good first impression of Fort Smith, without a doubt.”
Geib and his wife of 13 years, Lindsay, have three boys, Grayson, 8, Davis, 6, and Alexander, 2, who will be attending school in the Greenwood district.