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CEO Gene Meyer: Grassroots Champion of Lawrence Memorial Hospital

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Gene Meyer began serving Lawrence (Kan.) Memorial Hospital in 1997. He recently received the American Hospital Association's Kansas 2011 Grassroots Champion Award, which highlights his commitment to the entire healthcare industry.

Gene Meyer CEO of Lawrence Memorial HospitalThe award, given to a hospital leader from each state, recognizes hospital leaders who are committed to the following three areas:

•    Effectively educating elected officials on how major issues affect their hospital's vital role in the community
•    Broadening the base of community support for their hospital
•    Advocating for their hospital and its patients

One of the reasons Mr. Meyer won the award is because he hosts a luncheon in Topeka, Kan., each year to brief lawmakers on the issues important to hospitals.

Mr. Meyer has led Lawrence Memorial to numerous state and national recognitions, including the Kansas Excellence Award, VHA Clinical Excellence Awards, and HealthGrades Outstanding Patient Experience Award. Through Mr. Meyer's leadership, Lawrence has expanded services to a freestanding outpatient facility — Lawrence Memorial Hospital South — and added interventional cardiology, acute rehabilitation, a wound healing center and oncology services. He has also overseen a $45 million expansion of the Lawrence Memorial campus that includes new emergency and surgical facilities and expansion of the critical care and maternity units.

Prior to joining Lawrence Memorial, Mr. Meyer served as senior executive officer for Saint Luke's South Hospital in Overland Park, Kan., senior executive officer of Saint Luke's-Shawnee Mission Medical Group in Kansas City, Mo., and senior associate director of Saint Luke's Hospital in Kansas City, all part of Saint Luke's-Shawnee Mission Health System in Kansas City, Mo. He began his healthcare career at Spelman Memorial Hospital in Kansas City as Director of Personnel in 1980. He became Chief Executive Officer of Spelman Health System in Smithville in 1984 and was involved in many key initiatives during his 12 years there.

"During my early healthcare career, I was a CEO of a much smaller hospital that struggled financially. This experience provided me 'clarity of focus' on attention to key financial details as well as a conservative approach to leadership. As a stand-alone hospital we relied on our own resources to excel and succeed, and it is that experience that provides guidance even today," says Mr. Meyer.

Mr. Meyer is active in many professional, civic and community organizations. He served on the American Hospital Association Regional Policy Board, and he is a past president of the Lawrence Noon Rotary Club. Mr. Meyer is also a past board chairman of the Kansas Hospital Association, Lawrence Chamber of Commerce and the Kansas Award for Excellence Foundation. Lawrence Junior Achievement inducted Mr. Meyer into the 2011 Business Hall of Fame. In 2002, Baker University honored him with its Lawrence Business Person of the Year Award. Mr. Meyer also serves on the Board of Directors for Commerce Bank and the Kansas Chamber of Commerce.

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