For the second straight year, Tanner Health System President and CEO Loy Howard’s leadership in health care as earned him a place among Georgia’s top leaders, according to business and industry publication Georgia Trend.
Howard is featured in Georgia Trend magazine’s “Georgia 500” for 2023 including 500 of the state’s most influential leaders. The issue — now in its second year — published this month.
In the write-up, the magazine noted Tanner’s open-heart program, which saw its first patients in January of this year. By summer, the health system had performed about 40 open-heart procedures.
“Tanner has worked on trying to round out comprehensive cardiac services for our region for 20 years, and the capstone is open heart,” Howard was quoted in the magazine. “We’re just very happy to finally have completed that long journey, and the benefactors are our patients and our community.”
Georgia Trend also noted that Howard has served as CEO of the nonprofit, community-based local health system for almost 30 years, growing it into the five-hospital health system that it is today serving northwest Georgia and east Alabama.
Other local leaders on the list included Brenden Kelly, president of the University of West Georgia; Julie Post, president of West Georgia Technical College; and Rich Stinson, president and CEO of Southwire.
Among the notable leaders in the publication are Home Depot co-founder Arthur Blank, chair of the Blank Family of Businesses and owner of the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United; Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus, chair of the philanthropic Marcus Foundation; Broadway and television director Kenny Leon; Basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, founder of the Shaquille O’Neal Foundation; and former United Nations ambassador, congressman and Atlanta mayor Andrew Young, a civil rights leader. The publication sought to feature leaders in aerospace, banking and finance, communications and media, economic development, hospitality, non-profits and more.
In an introduction, Georgia Trend publisher Ben Young said the periodical intentionally omitted elected officials, instead focusing on leaders contributing to the state’s economic and industrial development, directly creating opportunities for Georgia residents.
“Georgia’s diverse employer base is growing sector wide,” Young wrote. “Often growth in one sector supports growth in another, such as the need for more health care to accommodate hiring for expansion and site locations.”
Tanner launched an interventional cardiology program at Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton in 2006, offering a nonsurgical approach to clearing blocked coronary arteries. The program expanded to Tanner Medical Center/Villa Rica in 2015.
Citing the disproportionate rate of cardiovascular disease in the region — and the number of local patients who had to travel outside the region to Atlanta or Birmingham for open-heart care — Tanner won state approval to offer open-heart surgery at Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton in 2019.
Since, the health system built the infrastructure needed to offer exceptional open-heart care, recruiting an experienced team of cardiothoracic surgeons and other specialists, building out two state-of-the-art cardiothoracic surgery suites and more.
“It takes a great team to accomplish what we’ve done at Tanner — and what we’re going to do,” said Howard. “It takes great leadership from our board and our executive team, it takes commitment and dedication from our medical staff, it takes a commitment to excellence and patient care from everyone throughout our system. We’ve been able to thrive because we’ve been able to attract and retain great people. People are the cornerstone of our success.”
On the horizon, the health system is looking forward to opening the major expansion of its Roy Richards, Sr. Cancer Center in Carrollton, which is expected to open to patients next month.
Along with twice placing on the Georgia 500, Howard was also recognized last year by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as one of metro Atlanta’s “Most Admired CEOs.”
“These accolades aren’t just about vision and leadership — they’re about our promise to our community that the care they need will be here when they need it,” said Howard. “We’re a mission-focused organization; building the infrastructure and attracting the talent to make sure the care we need is here when we need it is vital to our success as a health system and as a region.”
See the full issue on Georgia Trend's site (subscription required).