Introducing Baptist Health Hardin: A Conversation with Dennis Johnson

Hardin Memorial Hospital, soon to become Baptist Health Hardin, will become the third-largest hospital owned by Baptist Health, rounding out the system with an impressive nine full-service hospitals in Kentucky and Southern Indiana. In this episode, we take a look back at the history of HMH and the future growth of both the hospital and the region.

In this episode of the HealthTalks NOW podcast, hosts Kerri and Kendra speak with Dennis Johnson, the President and CEO of Hardin Memorial Health.  In this unique episode, the group considers major changes to come on September 1 that will expand the Baptist Health system into Central Kentucky as Hardin Memorial Health becomes Baptist Health Hardin.  With this shift, the Baptist Health system will boast the presence of nine full-service hospitals throughout Kentucky and southern Indiana.  Dennis joins Kerri and Kendra to celebrate this change, focusing on its projected impact and the excitement surrounding it.

Before turning fully to the upcoming transition, Kerri and Kendra invite Dennis to share about his background.  While Dennis currently works in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, he is not originally from the state.  He was born and raised in Pensacola, Florida before moving to Alabama (where his family is from) for both his undergraduate and graduate school programs.  He has been married to his wife Tracy for 27 years, has three children, and has been with Baptist Health for almost 31 years.  He has worked at four different hospitals during his time with Baptist Health, and 23 of his years with the system have seen him in CEO roles.  Understandably given his background, Dennis has strong sports’ loyalties, which blend his Alabama and Kentucky commitments.

After a brief aside about sports, though, Kerri and Kendra turn the conversation toward the main topic for the episode.  Leading by quoting a statement Dennis previously made about Hardin Memorial Health being a family, Kendra asks what it means to him to be folded into the Baptist Health family, and what changes he anticipates from the transition.  Dennis centers his response on the mutual benefit that will come from the change.  Since the culture and mission of Hardin Memorial and Baptist are shared, with each rooted in faith and aiming to serve patients and staff well, Dennis anticipates that the acquisition will only strengthen the work of each.

Further, he and his hosts consider the long-standing relationship between Baptist Health and Hardin Memorial Health, which also makes the acquisition a good fit.  The two have had an established relationship for 23 years, and Hardin Memorial is loosely managed by Baptist.  There is already some sharing between Hardin Memorial and Baptist; however, Hardin Memorial still came to the conclusion that it could not remain independent, but rather needed to become part of a larger system.  Given the relationship between Hardin Memorial and Baptist Health, it made sense for Hardin Memorial to link arms with Baptist Health.  As the acquisition unfolds, Dennis anticipates that Hardin will gain needed capital as it continues to grow, and Baptist will gain a large hospital that will grow its scale and leverage.

Moving forward, Kerri wonders what Dennis finds to be the challenges and opportunities of acquisition.  Given how fast-growing and complex the Hardin Memorial Health system is, and how expansive it is across ten counties, Dennis imagines that it will be challenging to assimilate fully, integrating all policies, procedures, and practices, and transitioning to the Baptist Health computer system.  At the same time, this computer system, Epic, also offers many benefits to Hardin Memorial, and the acquisition promises to be good for Hardin’s planned expansions.

Turning to the subject of COVID-19, Kendra asks whether or not the pandemic impacted the acquisition, and if so, how.  COVID-19 is the biggest challenge of all three conversation partners’ careers, but nonetheless, the acquisition will actually be completed three months ahead of schedule!  Dennis is proud of how his team has navigated the pandemic in general and the acquisition in particular.  Another testament to the team’s strong handling of the pandemic is their quick transition to offering many telehealth services.  Joining the Baptist Health network will only add more resources to Hardin as it works to provide excellent care – both virtually and in person – to patients.

Kerri’s next question to Dennis concerns the scope of care at Hardin Memorial Health.  Kerri wonders what care looks like right now, and where there is growth potential. Hardin Memorial is invested in so many major areas of service that Dennis finds it most helpful to clarify what it does not do rather than what it does.  Hardin Memorial does not do open heart surgery at this point, but has notable programs in such areas as cardiology, orthopedics, neurology, and vascular and general medicine.  Hardin has the busiest ER in the commonwealth of Kentucky, and ranks highly on various scales of patient traffic.  Given its longs-tanding relationships with nearby Baptist Health hospitals in Louisville and Lagrange (for instance, open heart surgery patients have already been referred to Louisville), Dennis anticipates still more sharing.  Even as he is incredibly proud of Hardin’s accomplishments, most particularly its patient, employee, and physician satisfaction rates, He is excited to see Hardin develop within its new network.

The following segment of the conversation delves more deeply into the way in which Baptist Health will aid Hardin by contributing capital.  Baptist Health has pledged to infuse 235 million dollars into Hardin Memorial facilities over the next ten years, and Dennis speaks to the intended improvements and the impact he anticipates arising from this financial gain.  Dennis is excited to see more state-of-the-art facilities developed, and to continue recruiting world-class physicians to serve the people of Kentucky. 

As a side note, Dennis and his hosts also turn their attention back to the benefit of the Epic computer system, which is an electronic medical records system that makes information accessible and allows for easy streamlining and continuity of care among providers within the Baptist Health network.

Moving towards a conclusion of the conversation, Dennis shares with listeners about Elizabethtown, which is a populous area and a crossroads town within Kentucky.  Dennis anticipates that it will grow along with the overall county, which has seen growth patterns that show no signs of ending. 

To finish the episode, Kerri wants to formally induct Dennis into the Baptist Health podcast family.  She does so by subjecting him to a rapid fire round of Q&A!  Listeners will learn about Dennis’s pancake-making skill, valuation of a car over a cellphone, desire to time travel to the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry, love of others, and favorite Bible verse/piece of advice.  Dennis offers a verse that doubles as advice, and that encapsulates well the heart behind both his work at Hardin and the work that he expects to continue as he links arms with Baptist Health colleagues in the days ahead: “Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).

Key Takeaways:

[0:48] – Kerri and Kendra are joined on the phone by Dennis Johnson, President and CEO of Hardin Memorial Health.

[1:35] – The group turns to Dennis’s background, including his tenure at Hardin.

[3:35] – Kendra quotes Dennis and asks about what it means to be folded into the Baptist Health family.

[4:27] – What makes this acquisition a good fit?

[5:25] – Turning back in time, the group considers how the merger came to be.

[7:03] – The challenges and opportunities present in the acquisition process come to the fore.

[9:02] – Hardin stands to benefit from the acquisition in a number of ways, including in its transition to the Epic computer system and in the help for planned expansions.

[11:55] – How has COVID-19 impacted the merger?

[15:20] – The group turns to the specific subject of telehealth, which has seen a rise due to the pandemic.

[17:11] – While he already addressed this a bit, Dennis provides more information about Hardin Memorial’s scope of care.

[18:48] – Hardin Memorial has long-standing relationships with sister hospitals already within the Baptist network.

[19:21] – What are special highlights or high-level accomplishments from Dennis’s time at Hardin that he’s especially proud to share?

[19:54] – Baptist Health has pledged a great deal of money to be infused into the Hardin Memorial facilities in the years ahead; what impact does Dennis imagine this will have?

[21:59] – The group turns to a side note about the Epic computer system.

[22:44] – Kerri asks Dennis about Elizabethtown.

[24:57] – The group addresses the future of Elizabethtown.

[26:12] – The conversation moves toward a conclusion, but does not end until Dennis has been subjected to a round of rapid-fire Q&A!

Links:

Learn about Dennis Johnson.

Learn more about Baptist Health.

Find a Baptist Health provider.

Find helpful articles from Baptist Health.

View Transcript

Speaker 1:

Welcome to HealthTalks NOW, bringing you the facts you need to keep you and your family well. We’re happy you’re tuning in today. Baptist Health is committed to providing compassionate, high quality care that is centered on you. Listen to all of our podcasts to hear from Baptist Health’s physicians about the latest medical advancements and treatments, and get trusted information on timely health topics from our healthcare professionals. Whether you want to learn more about a specific condition or procedure or find tips for living a healthy lifestyle, Baptist Health is here to help you become a healthier you.

Kendra:

Kerri and I are joined on the phone with a special guest Dennis Johnson, President and CEO of Hardin Memorial Health for a unique episode. To our listeners, we’ve proudly had a relationship for years with this healthcare leader in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, but big changes are coming on September one, so we’re privileged to be joined with Dennis to hear about the impact and looming excitement, as we prepare to grow as a system and expand into central Kentucky.

Kerri:

Hardin Memorial Health, soon to be Baptist Health Hardin will expand the Baptist Health footprint across the region. Growing our presence to an impressive nine full service hospitals across Kentucky and Southern Indiana. Dennis, thank you for joining us.

Dennis Johnson:

Thank you, Carrie and Kendra, and I’m very happy to speak with you guys today.

Kerri:

Absolutely. Tell us a little bit about yourself, your background with Baptist Health, your tenure at Hardin Memorial Health, and if you’re comfortable, we would love to hear about Tracy and your children, as well.

Dennis Johnson:

Yeah, I was born and raised in Pensacola, Florida, but I really claim Alabama as my real home because my whole family was from Alabama, and that’s where I went to undergraduate and graduate school at the University of Alabama and UAB for graduate school, respectively. Yes, I’m happily married to Tracy, my wife of 27 years and have three wonderful children. Langdon who works in North Carolina. My son, Nathan is a junior at Georgia Tech and my daughter Annabeth who is a senior in high school. So I’ve had the privilege of being a part of Baptist Health for almost 31 years, at four different hospitals and the corporate office. I’ve been a CEO for 23 of those 31 years. Started my career at, what was then known as Baptist Hospital East, now known as Baptist Health Louisville.

Kendra:

Okay.

Dennis Johnson:

And spent two years there and then moved over to what is now known as Baptist Health Lexington, where I spent six years as a vice president. And then I moved to La Grange where I was the CEO from ’97 to 2011. And then I’ve been at Hardin since 2011.

Kerri:

My goodness.

Dennis Johnson:

I’ve grown up with Baptist.

Kerri:

Sure.

Kendra:

Okay.

Kerri:

So we have to ask, do you cheer for the Tide or Auburn?

Dennis Johnson:

I am an Alabama alumnus and season ticket holder for 37 years-

Kendra:

Nice.

Dennis Johnson:

… of football.

Kendra:

Okay.

Dennis Johnson:

I’m married into UK-

Kerri:

Okay, great.

Dennis Johnson:

… so my kids have grown up watching UK basketball and Alabama football.

Kendra:

There you go.

Dennis Johnson:

So it’s the best of both worlds.

Kerri:

That certainly is the best of both.

Kendra:

Well, you’re quoted as saying Hardin Memorial Health is more than just a place to work, it’s family. And that alone makes us know that you’re a perfect fit. We’ve adopted that culture here as well. What does it mean to you to make this official and to be folded into the Baptist Health family? How will things change?

Dennis Johnson:

Our mission at Hardin Memorial Health is to exceed the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of patients, families, physicians, and each other. And obviously, Baptist Mission has Christ in the mission statement.

Kendra:

Yeah.

Dennis Johnson:

And the two organizations really have outstanding cultures. The culture at Hardin is much like the Baptist culture that I have grown up with over 31 years and very complimentary. Baptist and Hardin coming together will help both Baptist and Hardin.

Kendra:

Agreed.

Kerri:

Sure. What makes this acquisition a good fit?

Dennis Johnson:

Lots of different reasons why it’s a good fit. Among those, we have a 23 year relationship. For 23 years, Hardin has been managed by Baptist. And while that’s been kind of a loose management, they have enjoyed strong working relationships over that time. I think both Baptist and Hardin have a patient centered focus. Obviously, we’ve already talked about mission and culture. It’s a good fit for Hardin, because we need the capital to be able to continue to grow. It’s good for Baptist because Hardin will become Baptist’s third largest hospital out of the nine. And it will add to that as economies of scale and leverage, that will be helpful for both Baptist and Hardin.

Kendra:

Well, let’s go back. How did this merger come about? Can you explain to someone who may not be familiar, the close relationship that Hardin Memorial Health has enjoyed with Baptist Health over the years and what exactly it means to be a managed hospital up to this?

Dennis Johnson:

That’s a great question. The relationship with Baptist and Hardin started all the way back in 1996. Baptist started managing the hospital in ’97. And really that’s a little bit of a misnomer, because Hardin today acts like an independent freestanding hospital. But we have loosely shared best practices and built relationships over those 23 years. And really where, you asked, how did it come about for Hardin to be acquired by Baptist. It’s hard to believe that will be five years this October, that we had the first discussion with the board. Our board, who is the fiscal court of Hardin County, it’s a governmental owned hospital today. We just educated them and started having dialogue about how we could no longer remain independent. We were one of the largest hospitals in the state, one of the largest county owned hospitals and one of the few left in the entire country, and we needed to become formal part of the system. And it just made good sense for us to formally join Baptist because of the relationship that we had enjoyed.

Kerri:

Can you tell us about some of the challenges and opportunities for this acquisition?

Dennis Johnson:

Yeah. The challenges will be just Hardin, being a large and very successful and fast growing, I may add over the past nine years Hardin Memorial is one of, if not the fastest growing hospital in the entire commonwealth.

Kerri:

Wow.

Dennis Johnson:

And just tremendous growth. We serve 10 counties. We have physical presence in nine of those 10 counties with 50 off campus locations. It’s a very complex health system, Hardin is. We’re not just at 913 North Dixie Highway.

Kerri:

Yeah.

Kendra:

Yeah.

Dennis Johnson:

We have multiple imaging centers throughout those 10 counties. We have a surgery center. We have two very busy urgent care centers. In fact, our two urgent cares will be among the top three busiest urgent cares in all of Baptist. And we’re soon to open up a third location, if we ever get through COVID.

Kerri:

Sure.

Dennis Johnson:

And we have 275 employed physicians and nurse practitioners across those 10 counties. So, I think the challenge will be as we assimilate Hardin into Baptist practices, it’s going to take some time to integrate all of those policies and procedures and practices. Obviously, the computer system, when we are able to convert to Epic, and that will not be until next summer because of COVID. That will be perhaps our biggest challenge, and it’s going to be a lot of good, obviously, associated with that. But as we all know, computer implementations are a very, it’s a huge challenge across, not just a large hospital but across all of its clinics and off campus locations.

Kendra:

Yeah. The logistics are tough.

Dennis Johnson:

Right.

Kendra:

Sure. How’s the affiliation with a health care system stand to benefit this hospital and the residents of Hardin County and what new doors will open? You mentioned that you’re excited about the Capital Campaign and some new projects, can you tell us a little bit more about that?

Dennis Johnson:

Absolutely. So I’ve already mentioned Epic. Our computer system today is an old version of Meditech and we needed to be able to, among the many different benefits that Hardin will receive is what we’ll be able to help with that outtake, which will allow for full interoperability, not only between Hardin and all of it’s off campus locations, but with all of Baptist Health facilities. We have been growing so fast, we kind of outpaced our ability to generate capital on our own to keep up with the growth. So, that’s what Baptist is going to enable us to be able to do is put more money into the facilities. We have been planning for a major ambulatory center that will be right here on campus. It will include a cancer center, that will include new ORs, new procedural space, new medical office space, and a new cancer center for our very fast growing cancer center. It will enable us to be able to expand throughout our 10 county region.

Dennis Johnson:

Hardin serves an area of 10 different counties. It’s not just like… Here’s a good way of putting it. About 60% of our total patients that we serve come from Hardin County, the other 40% come from the other nine counties that we serve. Nelson County is a good example. We have a very busy primary care practice there with 13 providers-

Kendra:

Wow.

Dennis Johnson:

… in a very fast growing market. And Baptist investments will enable us to grow, not only in Bardstown, but in Brandenburg and several other markets that we’re seeing tremendous growth. We’re well positioned along the I65 corridor. We have a parkway and an interstate that dissects our service area, and there’s a lot of growth and economic development along that corridor. And the investments that Baptist will make will enable us to grow even more.

Kerri:

We’ll be right back. If you’re enjoying this episode, head to Share.BaptistHealth.com. We offer searchable articles from our skilled doctors, clinicians, and professionals who provide the most up to date health and wellness information in the field. We’re bringing the facts you need when you need them, all centered on you. That’s Share.BaptistHealth.com.

Kendra:

We’re back with Dennis Johnson, President and CEO of Hardin Memorial Health. Well, COVID-19 certainly threw everyone quite a curve ball this year. Did that pandemic affect this acquisition? How so?

Dennis Johnson:

Yeah.

Kendra:

That’s a loaded question, isn’t it?

Dennis Johnson:

Yeah, COVID has been the biggest challenge of all of our collective careers. I hope we will never have to deal with anything bigger than COVID, that’s for sure.

Kendra:

Same.

Dennis Johnson:

Yeah. Early on in the dark days of March, when we were seeing our first COVID patients in Kentucky and across Baptist and Hardin, I don’t think any of us really knew what to expect. And frankly, I can remember Steve Oglesbee and I, having a conversation early on. We were both shaking our heads going, “Are we going to be able to get this deal done?” Not knowing what the future was going to hold. But indeed not only did we get it done, but we got it done actually, we’re going to get it done three months-

Kendra:

Ahead of schedule, yeah.

Dennis Johnson:

… three months ahead of schedule.

Kendra:

Yes. Which is really impressive. Honestly, like you said, back in March, April, even May, I think many of us were thinking, what is this year or really in our case, what is the rest of this fiscal year going to look like for us?

Kerri:

Yes.

Kendra:

How are we going to come out of this? And we talked to Gerald Coleman, our CEO in a special series, as we were giving updates throughout the pandemic about, there was a lot of misconception out there that health care facilities must just be booming with all this added activity. In reality, it was really quite the opposite.

Kerri:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kendra:

Many healthcare institutions took a pretty great hit.

Kerri:

Yes.

Kendra:

So it’s really impressive that not only was this able to continue, but actually to exceed the timeline.

Kerri:

Most definitively.

Dennis Johnson:

Yeah. I was so proud of our response. We have a phenomenal culture here. We enjoy very high employee and physician satisfaction and patient satisfaction, and our team of physicians and nurses and respiratory therapists and executives. And I mean, we’ve worked so well together. It’s been hard work. It’s been long, long, long hours.

Kerri:

Yeah.

Dennis Johnson:

It’s been stressful, but it’s been rewarding because we’re doing it as a team.

Kerri:

Yeah.

Kendra:

Sure.

Dennis Johnson:

And we were one of the first hospitals in the entire commonwealth to stand up a drive through testing center. We were one of the first hospitals in the commonwealth to do a split flow. Hardin has the busiest emergency department in the entire state of Kentucky.

Kendra:

No kidding.

Dennis Johnson:

And so, we were able to separate sick patients from well patients there. We were one of the first hospitals to put all of our employees and physicians in a mask. We’ve developed outstanding processes. I know we’re going to talk a little bit later, I think about Telehealth and video visits. We’re one of the first hospitals to start that and that’s here to stay. We did all of these things quickly, and under the notion of keeping patients and visitors and employees and physicians safe.

Kendra:

Yeah.

Dennis Johnson:

And I’m happy to report that we’ve done an outstanding job over that since COVID started.

Kendra:

Well, as you mentioned, one of the major impacts we’ve seen in the healthcare industry as a whole, as a result of COVID-19 is the rapid expansion of Telehealth. We were actually talking in our last episode about the development of Baptist Health response to this pandemic and how we went from…

Kerri:

Not offering the service at all.

Kendra:

… Right. To over a hundred thousand visits just by May alone.

Carrie:

That’s right.

Kendra:

It’s been impressive and it’s been a huge lift. How has Hardin positioned itself for the service and will this merger add to Hardin’s capabilities in the virtual space?

Dennis Johnson:

Hardin was actually in the top four hospitals in the state, in terms of Telehealth and video visits by volume. And so, just like what Baptist did, we ramped up Telehealth in about two weeks time. We went from zero to 80 overnight, it seemed like.

Kendra:

Yeah.

Dennis Johnson:

We have been performing quite well in all of our clinics with video and Telehealth visits. It is definitely here to stay. It’s not here to replace a regular visit, but it certainly offers a good alternative that works quite well for many, many of our patients. And I’m excited about being able to join Baptist with that because Baptist has so many more resources that we can take advantage of to help grow it across our whole enterprise.

Kerri:

Absolutely and it’s so convenient for all of your patients, expanding the 10 counties to have that access to care providers.

Dennis Johnson:

It is, and that will actually be able to help us reach out even beyond those areas as well. And that should help Baptist penetrate markets that we’re not even in today.

Kendra:

Sure.

Dennis Johnson:

So yeah.

Kerri:

We’ve covered a little bit, but explain to us the current scope of care available at Hardin Memorial Health, just generally what types of major services are available and how might those offerings change after September 1st? Where do you see the growth potential?

Dennis Johnson:

We’re a large hospital. We’ll be about the third largest. It’s really easier to tell you what we don’t do rather than what we do.

Kerri:

We love it.

Dennis Johnson:

The only exception to that is open heart surgery. We discontinued that service back in 2012 because we just were not able to keep that going for a lot of different reasons. But we do a lot of cardiac services though here. Have two very busy cath labs. We do a lot of orthopedics, a lot of total joint surgeries, a lot of general, and urologic surgeries and a robust neurosurgery program and vascular program. I was just looking, in fact I’ve got before me our ranks on many of the medical and surgical DRGs and we’re in the top 10 on just about every one of these. As I’ve mentioned regarding our emergency department, we have the busiest ER in the state. We are fourth in the state in endoscopies. We’re fifth in the state in total outpatient volumes. We’re six in the state in surgery. We are tenth in babies delivered.

Kerri:

Impressive.

Dennis Johnson:

And we’re 13th on inpatient services.

Kendra:

Wow. That’s great. It’s very impressive. Baptist Health Hardin has a long standing relationship with neighboring Baptist Health facilities in Louisville and La Grange. Now that Hardin is officially becoming part of a larger system, do you anticipate any shared services with these sister hospitals in the region?

Dennis Johnson:

Yeah, that’s a great question. We’ve been sharing, I just mentioned open heart, we’ve been sharing open heart. I mean, we send almost all of our patients that need that service to Baptist.

Kendra:

Okay.

Dennis Johnson:

Baptist in Louisville and we’ve enjoyed a very close working relationship with Baptist Louisville over the years.

Kendra:

We’d love to hear some special highlights from your hospital, some high level accomplishments that you’re proud of with your service lines. What can you share with us?

Dennis Johnson:

Well, I’ve already mentioned one of these. We’re very proud of our patient satisfaction, employee satisfaction and physician satisfaction. I think that’s-

Kendra:

Yes.

Dennis Johnson:

… because we have an outstanding culture. We have a service culture. We want to serve God and serve each other. The strength of what we do is we value people. We respect each other and serve each other.

Kendra:

Well, Baptist health has pledged to infuse $235 million into the facilities at Hardin over the next 10 years. We’ve talked a little bit about the cancer facility, but what other improvements are set to be implemented for your facilities in the coming years and what kind of impact do you foresee that capital contribution making?

Dennis Johnson:

Yeah, it’s going to be huge. And as you know, Baptist is investing in all of our markets, but obviously, because this is a big growth marketing Kentucky-

Kendra:

Absolutely.

Dennis Johnson:

… they recognize that we know that and that investment is going to be huge. And what we’re doing right now will help us with, obviously, the computer system that we’ve already talked about, to the ambulatory complex that will house new operating rooms, new endoscopy suites, new procedural space, medical office space, which we so desperately need. And we need that because we’re growing the medical staff, I’ll share a quick statistic. When I came here in February of ’11, there were 207 members of the medical staff.

Kendra:

Okay.

Dennis Johnson:

Today Hardin has almost 550 members of the medical staff.

Kendra:

No kidding.

Dennis Johnson:

So just tremendous growth there over the past nine years. But those investments will help us have state-of-the-art facilities.

Kendra:

Wow.

Dennis Johnson:

Those investments will help us to continue to recruit world-class physicians.

Kendra:

Absolutely.

Dennis Johnson:

The physicians that we’ve recruited here over the past nine years are phenomenal women and men. I mean, they are good people, in addition to being good clinicians. It’s just a great group here. I can’t say enough about our medical staff. But those investments will enable people to get world-class care right here in our 10 county service area. That’s why the whole community is going to benefit.

Kendra:

Sure. And just for those listening, who may not be familiar when we talk about our new computer system, we’re referencing Epic, which is our electronic medical record system. Meaning that by bringing you into the fold of our Epic system, no matter where a patient is seen within the Baptist family, their medical records will be accessible and will follow. So there’s no transferring of records.

Kerri:

Very safe.

Kendra:

Any clinician who needs to evaluate or see them has access to their full history, their medication lists. So it’s really an advancement in making information accessible and easy, and really streamlining that continuity of care across all of the patient’s experiences at our facilities.

Kerri:

We’d love for you to give our listeners an introduction to Elizabethtown and the features that make that area so special.

Dennis Johnson:

So Hardin County and E-town, I’ll start with the county. Hardin is the fourth or fifth largest county by population in the commonwealth. And its two biggest cities are Elizabethtown and Radcliff. Interestingly enough, both E-town and Radcliff have both about 30,000 population in each. The county’s got about 110,000 people. There are about 400,000 in the 10 county service area oh Hardin. As you know, there’s about four million people in Kentucky, so that’s about one 10th the population of Kentucky are serviced are by Hardin Memorial Health. E-town, it’s a crossroads town because we have a busy interstate cutting the county in half from north to south and then we have a parkway that cuts the county half from east the west.

Kerri:

That’s right.

Kendra:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dennis Johnson:

Which again makes it a growth corridor as well. So yeah, E-town has a large industrial area here. In fact, the industrial park is one of the top four industrial parks in the entire commonwealth with many businesses and industries, automobile manufacturing, parts are done in E-town. So, we’ve got those services here. We’ve got Fort Knox is a huge part of this community. It’s one of the largest army posts in the world.

Kendra:

That’s right.

Dennis Johnson:

US Army.

Kendra:

Yeah.

Dennis Johnson:

There are eight different commands, headquarters that are at Fort Knox, including the Army’s Human Resource command, is at Fort Knox. So there at any given time, the daytime population of Fort Knox is about 25,000 active duty soldiers, as well as civil service personnel and defense contractors. So, it’s a big part of our industry here.

Kendra:

And patient base, too.

Dennis Johnson:

And patient base, that’s correct.

Kendra:

You see for the future of E-town? We’ve talked a little bit about the rapid growth of Hardin. Are we seeing that same level of growth for the surrounding community? Do you see E-town as becoming, growing and expanding and becoming a larger hub in the commonwealth?

Dennis Johnson:

There’s no question. In fact, Elizabethtown is to Louisville, what Williamson County and Franklin Tennessee is to Nashville. If you see what is the growth that’s occurred down south of Nashville, you know that’s happening here.

Kendra:

Yes.

Kerri:

Yes.

Dennis Johnson:

There’s just tremendous growth. The county is one of the fastest growing counties in the commonwealth. Fort Knox will continue to expand and grow. Business and industry will continue to expand and grow. In fact, and that’s not just limited to Hardin County, Meade County, as you know, just got a major, one of governor Bevin’s last things was to announce the opening of a new plant in Meade County. Nelson County is the bourbon capital of the world-

Kendra:

Sure.

Dennis Johnson:

… it’s 20 minutes to our east. It is just booming right now. And our presence in Nelson County is booming and we’re excited about our growth there.

Kerri:

Well, Dennis, it’s been so fun catching up with you and hearing what is to come and what we have to look forward to. If you’re up for it, before we let you go, we’d like to formally induct you into our Baptist Health podcast family by playing a little game of rapid-fire Q & A.

Kendra:

Are you up for it?

Dennis Johnson:

Sure.

Kerri:

Okay.

Dennis Johnson:

Go ahead. Fire away.

Kerri:

What’s something you’re great at cooking?

Dennis Johnson:

Pancakes.

Kendra:

If you had to choose between only a cell phone or a car for the rest of your life, which one are you choosing?

Dennis Johnson:

Oh, definitely a car.

Kerri:

Okay.

Dennis Johnson:

I wish I could throw my cellphone in the garbage.

Kendra:

Right. I know how the feeling is too.

Dennis Johnson:

Don’t tell Derek Coleman I said that.

Kerri:

Secret’s safe with us. Where would you time travel? If that were possible.

Dennis Johnson:

Time travel. I would time travel back to the time of Jesus and want to kind of walk with him.

Kerri:

Yeah.

Kendra:

Absolutely.

Kerri:

Absolutely.

Kendra:

What’s the most important personal attribute you bring to your job?

Dennis Johnson:

Wow.

Kendra:

Going deep with you here.

Dennis Johnson:

I’m going to say, love of others.

Kerri:

Yeah.

Kendra:

That’s Beautiful.

Kerri:

That’s come out in our conversation with you. We’ve picked up-

Kendra:

It’s very evident.

Kerri:

Yes.

Kendra:

Okay. The last one. What’s your favorite scripture verse or piece of advice that you live by?

Dennis Johnson:

Micah 6:8.

Kendra:

Act justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly with your God.

Kerri:

Yes.

Kendra:

So good.

Dennis Johnson:

That’s it.

Kerri:

It’s been a pleasure and Kendra and I are looking forward to this integration, partnership and friendship. Thanks for taking time to talk with us today.

Dennis Johnson:

Thank you and if you guys ever need anything personally or professionally, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Kerri:

We appreciate it.

Kendra:

Thank you. Thank you so much for tuning in today, as we explored the exciting changes coming to Baptist Health on September 1st. Baptist Health Hardin will add valuable resources to our growing network. And we’re excited to expand our relationship with the folks in Hardin County.

Kerri:

To stay up to date on the latest news, subscribe to this podcast, where we’ll be bringing you the facts you need in the health topics that matter to you most, right to your device. And if you’re not already connected with us on Facebook, head over and follow us Baptist Health, KY, for real time updates and information. We’ll join you next time, right here on Health Talks Now, a podcast brought to you by Baptist Health.

Speaker 1:

Thanks for tuning in to HealthTalks NOW. Staying healthy is a lifelong commitment and Baptist Health can provide the support you need to lower your risks, improve your quality of life and protect your longterm health. Visit BaptistHealth.com, to hear our other podcasts, learn about our services and find more tips to help you stay a step ahead of your health. Baptist Health, be a healthier you.

Speaker 1:

This podcast is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as medical advice. The content in this podcast is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This podcast is not designed to replace a physician’s medical assessment and medical judgment. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions or concerns you may have related to your personal health or regarding specific medical conditions. To find a Baptist Health provider, please visit BaptistHealth.com.

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