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Quality Council Members

James Ross

President & Chief Executive Officer
AEMT, BSN, MSHA

Credentials

James (JR) Ross from Henderson, TN, joined West Tennessee Healthcare in 1985 as a registered nurse in the surgical intensive care unit. Positions held during his career are Critical Care Coordinator, Cardiac Services Manager, Director of CCU, Administrator of the West Tennessee Surgery Center, Executive Director of Physician Services and Director of Case Management/Social Services as well as Vice President of Hospital Services. He has an AAS from Jackson State Community College, AS in Nursing and BSN from Union University, MSHA from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and is credentialed as a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator, Licensed Emergency Medical Technician and a Licensed Registered Nurse. JR is responsible for the overall day to day operations of the flagship hospital of West Tennessee Healthcare. He is married to Cindy, a nurse practitioner, and they have two daughters Ashley and Kelsey.

Jeff Blankenship

Executive Vice President
Chief Financial Officer
MBA

Credentials

Jeff is the Chief Financial Officer for West Tennessee Healthcare with responsibility for Finance and Accounting, Strategic and Business Development, the Revenue Cycle and the Supply Chain. Jeff is originally from Trenton, Tennessee and holds a BSBA from Union University and an MBA from the University of Memphis. He is a certified public accountant and a member of the Healthcare Financial Management Association. In his free time, Jeff enjoys traveling and spending time with his wife and two young children.

Accounting
Community Development & Planning
Decision Support
Employer Services
Finance
Financial Planning & Analysis
Internal Audit
Managed Care
Materials Management/Supply Chain
Revenue Cycle
Reimbursement
Strategic Development

Tim Adams

System Vice President Support Services
MBA

Credentials

Tim Adams serves as Vice President of Hospital Services at West Tennessee Healthcare. Originally from Rome, Georgia, Tim Adams moved to Jackson, Tennessee in 1970 and joined West Tennessee Healthcare in 1987 as a Safety Engineer with the Safety Department. Throughout his time with the health system he has held various leadership positions including, Director of Safety, Security and Telecommunications and Director of Outpatient Services. In 2009, Adams was named Executive Director of West Tennessee Neurosciences and Spine and West Tennessee Rehabilitation Center. Adams has also been active with numerous community and civic organizations. He is a Past President of the Jackson Chapter for the American Society of Safety Engineers, Past Board Chairman for Leaders Credit Union and a 2006 graduate of Leadership Jackson. In 2005, Adams was honored with the Jackson-Madison County General Hospital Humanitarian/Community Service Award and in 2011 he was the recipient of the West Tennessee Healthcare President’s Award. He has a Bachelor of Science, Chemistry and a Master of Business Administration. Tim and his wife Mary Lou have three children, Jason, Daniel and Madeline Adams.

Acute Care Therapy
BioMed
Emergency Medical Services
Employee Transport
Environmental Services
Facilities Management
Food & Nutrition Services
Laundry
Neurosciences
Safety & Security
Sleep Disorders

Wendie Carlson

Chief Human Resources Officer
MBA, SPHR

Credentials

Wendie Carlson serves as the Chief Human Resources Officer at West Tennessee Healthcare. Her current areas of responsibility include Human Resources, Education/Leadership Development and Employee Health Services. A Minnesota native, Carlson moved south in search of warmer weather and naively hoped to escape mosquitoes. After spending 28 years in Texas, she made Tennessee her new home in 2012. She enjoys reading, traveling, spending time with her adult children and pampering the many pets who have claimed her home as their own.

Employee Health Services
Human Resources
Organizational Wellness

Teresa Freeman

Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer, Jackson-Madison County General Hospital

Credentials

Teresa Freeman has been a nurse for over 30 years. She achieved her Associate degree in Nursing in 1987 and went to work as a staff nurse in the Cardiac Intensive Unit. She achieved a BSN in 1993 and an MBA in 1999 both from Union University. She also completed a Masters degree in Nursing from the University of Memphis in 2016 with an emphasis in Executive Leadership. Previously held positions in the organization are Director of CCU/MICU, Director, Clinical Informatics & Process Management, Executive Director of Clinical Development & Staffing, Assistant Chief Nursing Officer & Chief Clinical Informatics Officer. She is also a part-time nursing faculty for the University of Memphis.

Ayers Children’s Medical Center and Therapy & Learning Center
Dialysis
Emergency Department
Inpatient Nursing Units & ICUs
Patient Care Standards & Clinical Development
Patient Transport
West Tennessee Women’s Center

Jeff Frieling

System Vice President & Chief Information Officer
MBA

Credentials

Jeff joined West Tennessee Healthcare in 1989 and has had many positions within the system. Before being named VP/CIO, several positions were held including Administrative Director of West Tennessee Cancer Center, Administrator of Humboldt General Hospital and Director of Applications in Information Systems. He has an Associate’s Degree in Radiation Therapy, a Bachelor’s Degree in Operations Management from the University of South Alabama, a Master’s in Business Management from the University of South Alabama, a certificate in Healthcare Administration from the University of Alabama in Birmingham and is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives. Frieling oversees Information Systems, IT Security for the system and Laboratory Services.

Information Systems
IT Security
Laboratory

Amy Garner

System Vice President & Chief Compliance and Communications Officer
EJD

Credentials

Amy Garner was raised in Milan, Tennessee. She attended and graduated from Milan High School and obtained her Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degrees in Business Administration from Union University. She also has her Executive Juris Doctor Degree with an emphasis in Health Law from Concord University School of Law. Amy began her career at WTH as the controller for Camden General Hospital in 1998, and in 2002, became the administrator of the hospital. In 2003, she became the Corporate Compliance Officer for West Tennessee Healthcare, in which her primary responsibility is promoting an environment where there is honest, ethical behavior in the day-to-day operations of the organization. Amy lives in Jackson with her husband, Keith, and has two daughters, Hannah and Madeline. In her spare time, she enjoys serving on several boards and committees in the community and loves to read, play golf, and entertain guests.

Communications, Public Relations & Marketing
Compliance
Institutional Review Board (IRB)
Media Services
Privacy
Safety Engineer

Currie Higgs

System Vice President & Chief General Counsel
JD

Credentials

Currie Higgs is Vice President/Chief Legal Officer for Jackson-Madison County General Hospital District. Currie received her B.A. from Northwestern University and her J.D. from the College of William and Mary, Marshall-Wythe School of Law. She is licensed in both Virginia and Tennessee. She has two dogs and two cats, one of unusual size. Her husband is a very patient man.

Legal Services
Risk Management

Darrell King

System Vice President, Physician & Ambulatory Services

Credentials

Darrell King serves as Vice President for West Tennessee Medical Group. His responsibilities include West Tennessee Medical Group, as well as Sports Plus Rehab Centers, Kirkland Cancer Center, infusion clinic, acute wound care management and infectious disease. Darrell is a Jackson native and began his healthcare career in medical group management in 1990. He received the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and the Master of Business Administration from Union University. King holds membership in the American Medical Group Association (AMGA), the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) and the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). In 2003, he received the Certified Medical Practice Executive (CMPE) designation from the American College of Medical Practice Executives. He recently returned home to Jackson from Jonesboro, Arkansas, where he was the Chief Executive Officer of NEA Baptist Clinic. Darrell is married to Tracey and they have two kids, Kathryn and Will. He enjoys following the Vols and the Cardinals, waterfowl and upland bird hunting, politics and especially spending quality time with his family.

Physician Administration
Finance
Hospice
Infusion Clinic
Kirkland Cancer Center
LIFT Wellness, Therapy & Health Clinic
Palliative Care
Sports Plus Rehab Centers, including Work Plus and Aquatherapies
West Tennessee Medical Group
Wound Management

Tina Prescott

Executive Vice President, Chief Nursing & Operating Officer
BSN, RN, MBA, NEA-BC

Credentials

Tina Prescott is originally from Middleton, Tennessee and came to West Tennessee Healthcare in 1996 as a Registered Nurse in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit. Since then, she has held the position of Clinical Manager and Director of SICU and Administrator of Camden General Hospital. In 2007, she was named the Vice President/Chief Nursing Officer of Jackson-Madison County General Hospital. Tina is a graduate of Union University in Jackson where she received her BSN and MBA. She is board certified as an Advanced Nurse Executive with the American Nurses Credentialing Center, a member of the American Nurses Association and American Association of Critical Care Nurses. She is married to James Prescott and they have three children Lilly, Lane and Leah.

Jackson Madison County General Hospital, Administration & Nursing
Bolivar General Hospital, Administration & Nursing
Camden General Hospital, Administration & Nursing
Dyersburg Hospital, Administration & Nursing
Volunteer Hospital, Administration & Nursing
Milan Hospital, Administration & Nursing

Bob Pryor MD

Executive Vice President & Chief Physician Executive

Credentials

Dr. Pryor comes to West Tennessee after serving as a Senior Vice President with Kaufman Hall Associates, a healthcare consulting company. Prior to his work with Kaufman Hall Associates, he was the President and Chief Medical Officer for Baylor Scott & White Health, which is the largest not-for-profit health care system in Texas with 53 hospitals and more than 900 access points.

Dr. Pryor attended Medical School at the University of Texas and completed his post graduate training, focusing on pediatrics, at University of Oklahoma and Baylor College of Medicine in Texas. In his new role at West Tennessee Healthcare, Dr. Pryor will work on engaging medical staff in robust clinical quality integration and improvement initiatives, patient safety standardization and physician leadership development and engagement.

Jackson Madison County General Hospital, Medical Staff
Bolivar General Hospital, Medical Staff
Camden General Hospital, Medical Staff
Dyersburg Hospital, Medical Staff
Volunteer Hospital, Medical Staff
Medical Information
Milan Hospital, Medical Staff
Patient Quality/Safety
Volunteer Hospital, Medical Staff

Jackie Taylor MD

Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Jackson-Madison County General Hospital

Credentials

Dr. Jackie Taylor has been serving patients in West Tennessee since 1990. In 2003, he joined the emergency medicine team at JMCGH, and most recently served as the Chief Quality Officer and Assistant Chief Medical Officer. He attended medical school at University of Tennessee Center for Health Sciences and holds a board certification in family medicine. He is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Case Management/Social Services
Infection Control
Medical Staff office
Patient Quality/Safety

Deann Thelen

Vice President & Administrator, Jackson Madison County General Hospital
RN, BSN, MBA

Credentials

Deann is originally from the state of Iowa and grew up on a farm near Iowa City. She attended University of Iowa for her education obtaining her Bachelors of Science in Nursing in 1991. She worked as a registered nurse in critical care and cardiac procedural units for several years before moving into administration. She obtained her MBA in 2003 while still at the University of Iowa. Deann has worked in healthcare both clinically and administratively for nearly 30 years and still is focused on hospital operations. She relocated to Jackson, Tennessee in May of 2012 to become a Vice President for Hospital Services with West Tennessee Healthcare. In her current role she has administrative and operational oversight for several key clinical areas. Deann is married to Randy and has two children, Christopher and Madison.

Pharmacy, system-wide
Radiology/Imaging Services, system-wide
West Tennessee Heart & Vascular Center

Karen Utley

Chief Patient Experience Officer
RN

Credentials

Her current areas of responsibilities include the Patient Experience, Guest Services and the Call Center/PBX. Karen began her career here working as a Nursing Assistant, while attending school to become a Registered Nurse. Karen is a graduate of Union University where she received her AA and BSN. She continued her education at the University of Memphis graduating with a MPA with an emphasis in healthcare. She is credentialed as a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator and a Registered Nurse. Karen was born and raised in Crockett County where she continues to live today with her husband Butch. She enjoys traveling, serving on local and state boards, riding motorcycles, working in her church and spending time with her family.

Communications Center
Guest Resources
Medical Center Home Health
Medical Center Medical Products
Patient Relations/Experience
Rehab Hospital Cane Creek
Rehab Hospital Jackson
Senior Services


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West Tennessee Healthcare (WTH) does not exclude, deny benefits to, or otherwise discriminate against any person on the grounds of race, color, national origin, age, religion, disability, Limited English Proficiency or sex, including discrimination based on gender identity, sexual orientation, sex stereotyping or pregnancy in admission to, participation in, or receipt of the services and benefits under any of its programs and activities, whether carried out by WTH directly or through a contractor or any other entity with which WTH arranges to carry out its programs and activities.

For further information about this policy, contact Amy Garner (731) 541-9914.