Medical City Fort Worth: New CEO steps in as Fort Worth hospital expands

Jyric Sims

Jyric Sims began as the new CEO for Medical City Fort Worth on July 24.

Sims replaced longtime CEO Clay Franklin, who had worked at what was then Plaza Medical Center since 2008

Sims has more than 17 years of experience in health care, having begun his career as a certified nursing assistant before being promoted to leadership and business development positions, including director of operations at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

Born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Sims has worked with the Hospital Corporation of America – owners of Medical City Fort Worth – since 2011 in various positions. They included chief operating officer of St. Lucie Medical Center in Port St. Lucie, Florida; associate chief operating officer at Clear Lake Regional Medical Center in Webster, Texas; and, until recently, senior vice president and chief operating officer of HCA’s Tulane Health System.

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“Jyric’s focus on growth, recruitment of top talent and outstanding outcomes across a complex array of specialties helps ensure an exceptional experience for patients and families,” said Erol Akdamar, president of Medical City Healthcare, in a news release. Medical City Healthcare includes 13 hospitals, 7 off-campus emergency rooms, more than 7,000 active physicians and 15,000 employees in the Dallas-Fort Worth and Oklahoma City areas.

Sims takes charge during a time of change for both the North Texas hospitals in the Medical City chain and the Fort Worth hospital itself.

Last year HCA North Texas, an affiliate of Nashville, Tenn.-based Hospital Corporation of America and one of the region’s largest health care providers, changed its name in North Texas, calling itself Medical City Healthcare. Local hospitals in the chain reflected that change with Plaza Medical Center becoming Medical City Fort Worth.

More directly for Sims, in May the 320-bed Medical City Fort Worth broke ground on a $64 million, three-story patient tower, including a new Emergency Department, a 28-bed intensive care unit and an additional rooftop helipad. The tower is part of more than $100 million in expansion and improvement projects at Medical City Fort Worth, some of which were completed in 2016. Other projects include:

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• Additional neuro-interventional radiology lab ($2.3 million);

• New cardiac electrophysiology lab ($2.3 million);

• New inpatient rehabilitation unit ($3.6 million);

• Two Da Vinci Xi© robotic systems ($6.75 million);

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• Upgrades/updates for equipment, facilities and programs: operating room, MRI suite, endoscopy, anesthesia machines, ICU beds and monitors, new comprehensive liver program, and more.

Sims holds a master’s degree in health administration from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences as well as a bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University.

In 2016, he was honored as the UAMS Alumnus of the Year, following his receipt in 2015 of the Modern Healthcare Up and Comer Award.

While at HCA’s Tulane Health System, Sims oversaw two acute care hospitals and 35 hospital-based clinics and more than $50 million in improvements to the medical community there.

“His leadership is credited with remarkable improvements in patient experience, service line growth and recruitment of top talent to the organization,” the Medical City new release said.

Sims and his wife, Maisha, have a daughter, Sabriya, and a son, Noah.

The Fort Worth Business Press spoke with Sims during his first week on the job:

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

I was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Kind of my story getting here was, at the time, I was working in Houston at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Great medical center. Learned a lot. I was able to do a lot professionally. But then HCA, Hospital Corporation of America, which owns about 180 hospitals across the country, they have a Chief Operating Officer Executive Development Program, and so I got accepted into that program. That kind of started my career with HCA.

From that point, from MD Anderson, I started working as associate chief operating officer at Clear Lake Regional Medical Center, which is in Webster, Texas. I did well there and had a great experience with the physicians and caregivers and everyone else. Then, got promoted to chief operating officer of St. Lucie Medical Center, which is located in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

I was able to professionally do some really neat things there and got promoted again with HCA to chief operating officer of Tulane Health System, which is a three-hospital system, 35-clinic system in the greater New Orleans area. It’s about an 81 percent joint venture – 81 percent being HCA, 19 percent being Tulane University Health System joint governance board.

Again, a phenomenal experience in academic medicine. Got to work with a lot of the best and brightest in the field. Research and education was really a strong interest of mine, along with community support and service.

What were the big changes that you saw or that you helped implement while you were there?

If I had to give you two of the most significant changes I would probably say, number one, in our patient experience, specifically, setting up a program to where all leaders, we [made rounds] on every patient, every single day. And then we met as a leadership team to talk about each patient’s experience and work with real-time service recovery – everything from stained ceiling tiles, food not hot, all the way to how their caregivers communicated with them. We rectified it sort of real-time. That led to a better experience for not only patients, but the family members. I would say that’s one that was significant to the culture of the organization.

The second one was [that] I was able to recruit some dynamic leaders to our organization … I do believe as a leader you’re really only as good as the folks that you work with, that you recruit. I recruited leaders from across the country and they served in very pivotal roles that helped us achieve really the clinical, academic and research missions of the organization.

Does any of that tie in with what you’re planning to do here at Medical City Fort Worth?

I do think my history with Tulane, specifically, ties in very nicely with Medical City Fort Worth’s in basically two to maybe three areas.

The first area would be the high-acuity services, specifically around transplant, solid organ transplant; around neurosurgery; and around the more complex, highly high-acuity, highly multi-disciplined area. Services that you need to have a good understanding of and if you’re going to lead it with the physicians and nurses and all those involved. So, I think that’s one.

I think the second piece would be the experience with an academic teaching organization that is teaching the next generation of physicians, scientists, because like I say, we have 72 residents and we have fellows there as well in that. And in that high-acuity service bucket, the other thing I would put in there is robotics. We have two Da Vinci Xi systems in which we’re doing pretty cutting-edge technology with robotics that has proven to decrease length of stay in inpatient and improve outcomes, which is pretty significant.

Let’s go back a little bit. Tell me a little bit about how you got involved in health care to start with.

My grandmother was diagnosed with small-cell lung cancer that unfortunately metastasized to her brain. She ended up succumbing to the illness, but at that time I was a junior in high school. Then I was offered the opportunity to do what they call their Certified Nursing Assistant Program, which I did. When I finished high school, I was a certified nursing assistant. I actually went and worked with the local nursing home really in support of her. I got to care for her really in her last days of her life. I knew then that my calling was health care. To go from being a certified nursing assistant, which is fairly entry level quite frankly, and to now being the CEO, I think my grandmother would be proud. But I think more so than that, I think that really shaped my perspective on putting patient first, patient center … Quite frankly, being nonclinical – I’m not a direct caregiver – what a pleasure it is to serve someone.

I guess no one wakes up in the morning and says, “Hey, I want to spend the night at your hospital.” There are nice pretty hotels for that, but to care for someone when they’re at times of great stress and do it with compassion and do it with empathy and do it with a kind heart, I think is something that I want to leave.

What are your plans for Medical City Fort Worth?

I would say my plans are, number one, to make Medical Center Fort Worth and absolute magnet. First off, I would start off by saying I want to build on the rich history of Plaza, now Medical City Fort Worth, and make it the absolute magnet of health care, not only in Fort Worth but around the region for those high intensity, high-acuity surgical services. Along with ensure [that] our patient experience remains at the top of mind when consumers think of where they want to select to receive health care.

I think number two would be, we have some incredible physicians on staff, some incredible doctors who are doing some cutting edge things. My goal would be to amplify that … so that they can provide services to more patients.

The final thing I’ll tell you is with our education program; I would love to see that grow. Like I said, we have 72 residents. Training the next generation is really important to me for two main reasons. Number one is I think it’s our duty as health care leaders to train the next generation. I think it’s also our duty to make them great ambassadors for Medical City Fort Worth and great ambassadors for what we’re doing and to go out there and continue to train other medical doctors.