Now, after six years, ACMC still faces challenges, including the prospect of lower Medicare and Medicaid payments. However, Lassiter believes ACMC has turned a corner. In addition to The Joint Commission recognition of improved quality, ACMC has also eliminated its leadership turnstile, and is operating—mostly—in the black. The system now looks to generate between $3 million and $5 million in net income each year, has whittled down its debt to the county to about $140 million, and plans to repay the debt by 2018.
From his office window, Lassiter can monitor construction of ACMC's $670 million expansion. When he walks the hallways he encounters dedicated professional staff providing quality care, often to the most vulnerable people in our society.
The son of an ordained minister, Lassiter says he gains spiritual fulfillment from the success of ACMC. "You get great satisfaction creating a high reliability, high quality, high patient experience organization and one that treats the people who don't have lots of options," he says. "So, to take care of this population is one of those things that gets me up in the morning."
This article appears in the December 2011 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.