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Georgia Trend: Tanner’s Howard Among State’s 500 Most Influential Leaders

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 the inaugural issue of Georgia Trend magazine’s “Georgia 500” for 2022, including 500 of the state’s most influential leaders. The issue published this month.

The magazine lauded Howard’s long tenure and the stability he’s brought to the community-based health system.President and CEO Loy Howard

“C-suites in hospitals see lots of moving crews,” Georgia Trend reported, citing stats that the turnover rate for hospital CEOs in Georgia is a 16%, matching the rest of the nation. “But at Tanner Health System, stability rules. Bill Clinton was early in his first term as president when Loy Howard took the top job at the Carrollton-based health system — only the fifth CEO since the company was founded in 1949.”

Other local leaders on the list included Julie Post, president of West Georgia Technical College; Brenden Kelly, president of the University of West Georgia; Karen Handel, president and CEO of Carroll Tomorrow and the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce; and Rich Stinson, president and CEO of Southwire.

Other notable leaders in the publication include Arthur Blank, chair of the Blank Family of Businesses and owner of the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United; former U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss; former Gov. Nathan Deal; former Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox; and longtime Atlanta fixture and CNN founder Ted Turner. Others include leaders in aerospace, banking and finance, communications and media, economic development, hospitality, non-profits and more.

Howard was recognized for his leadership in Georgia’s healthcare sector, building Carrollton, Georgia-based Tanner into one of the most reliably growing community-based nonprofit health systems in the Southeast.

“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.”

When Howard came to Tanner as CEO in 1994, the health system consisted of two hospitals — Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton and Tanner Medical Center/Villa Rica, which at the time was still working from the former Villa Rica City Hospital facility that opened in the 1950s.

In the almost 30 years since, Howard negotiated the addition of Bremen’s Higgins General Hospital to the Tanner system, spearheading a multi-million-dollar investment that expanded and modernized the facility.

He built Tanner Medical Group into one of metro Atlanta’s largest multi-specialty physician groups; built the first new inpatient behavioral health facility in Georgia in at least two decades, Willowbrooke at Tanner; saved Randolph County, Alabama’s last remaining hospital, Wedowee Hospital, with the construction of the new Tanner Medical Center/East Alabama; and helped make health care a hub of the Villa Rica economy with the construction and subsequent expansion at Tanner Medical Center/Villa Rica.

Along with developing cancer and behavioral health into pillars of care at Tanner, Howard led the cultivation of the health system’s cardiac program, recruiting heart specialists, launching interventional cardiac programs in Carrollton and Villa Rica, establishing two regional accredited chest pain centers and — beginning in January 2023 — an open-heart surgery program at Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton.

Howard was also recognized earlier this 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.”

The full list can be found at Georgia Trend's site.