Natchitoches Times advertising representative Racquel Bedgood met with Carl Walters, Outpatient Medical Center CEO Carl Walters to learn about the award and what his vision is for the medical center.
Q: How does it feel to have received the Eric B. Taylor leadership award and what does this say about OMC and it’s future in healthcare and this community?
A: I am humbled to receive the award as I wasn’t expecting to receive it. To do something you love doing; serving others; which isn’t a job but rather ministry work and to be recognized for your community spiritual stewardship is humbling and overwhelming; particularly when you don’t do what you do to be recognized. I accepted the award on behalf of my Board, dedicated staff, those who helped and still help support and shape me, my parents who taught me the core values that still guide me today; my wife and kids and the gifted state FQHC colleagues I am privileged to serve besides every day. I think the award coming home to Outpatient Medical Center Inc. speaks volumes of our organizational resolve to remain relevant to our community families and our unabated commitment to continue doing what we love to do – taking good care of our community families.
Q: What is one thing that you believe you and the other honorees have in common?
A: A selfless and unabated resolve to help improve the personal health, well-being, economic health of the people and communities we are privileged to serve. FQHC leaders come to work every day to provide genuine love, compassion, hope and encouragement to the dedicated staff we are privileged to lead and the wonderful community families we have a Federal, moral, ethical, spiritual and social responsibility to genuinely care for.
Q: This is a very prestigious award. What do you believe makes you stand out as a leader?
A: I think serving with transparency, integrity, compassion, a relentless passion to make a positive difference every day God gives me breath to do so, in the hope that somehow my efforts make the world a little more fair, equitable and compassionate place for all mankind. After all, if we live this life and don’t make a positive difference, what would have been the purpose of living at all?
Q: Can you explain your role as a charge agent and what type of responsibilities are involved?
A: A charge agent must have a vision and passion for reaching that vision. It can be described as a difficult job.It is a difficult job and requires someone who is strong in character.
Q: What are some of the biggest culture changes you’ve noticed since you are from Utah and have lived in 35 states?
A: I love Louisiana’s realness. I can honestly say that Louisiana has some of the best, most good hearted people and I love that about this area. It’s a much simpler life and after my experience in other states, that is something special that makes Louisiana unique. The negative side of that would be a slowness to change. Healthcare changes on a daily basis and we can’t run a healthcare system the way we did 40 years ago or even five years ago. I have also noticed healthcare being more competitive and money driven. I do not do this for the money or title but because it is God’s work. Right out my office window is a cemetery and when people do not come here or see a doctor when they need to, this is where they end up. It used to be pride, or lack of insurance causing people to suffer silently, but things have changed and we won’t to provide good, adequate healthcare to everyone.
Q: How does your military experience play a role in your life today?
A: I come from a from long line of military careers. My father and brother are both retired military officials and I credit my parents and then the military, for teaching me stewardship, selflessness and to never forget where I came from. The military reinforced structure and discipline and taught me a lot about sacrifice. Any good leader must be prepared to sacrifice. The military is a great example of the ultimate sacrifice and one must be willing to experience that. It taught me to do the right thing for the right reason and how to handle responsibility.
Q: What are some long and short term goals for Outpatient Medical Center?
A: Short term goals include physical performance, continue to expand, contract psychiatrists, creating more jobs, acquiring additional practices including opiate education, domestic violence, substance abuse, marital counseling, self-esteem counseling and bullying counseling. Some are already offered, but we can expand on them. Long term goals include continuing to change the culture, providing superior customer service, maintaining a personal touch and not losing sight of who we are, looking to further diversity, case management, strengthen behavioral health department, significantly strengthen leadership and infrastructure. Toward these goals we have hired Crystal Armstrong, RN, to lead Case Management Services. There used to be an income barrier in healthcare which led to less people getting the care they needed. It’s a different day in healthcare and we want you with or without insurance. We want a healthy community, moral, ethical and spiritual diversity.
The Outpatient Medical Center staff is a community taking care of a community. It is not about me. My family and I are community stewards. OMC is committed to each and every patient while adding and providing additional services along the way. I am concerned about divorce rates, suicide and many other aspects of healthcare. Healthcare is about mind, body and spirit and each of those require care. People are not consistent in their healthcare and often wait until much later in life or until a problem has worsened before they will make an appointment. Good healthcare on a somewhat regular as is the goal. Embrace each other so our community stays strong. I want to thank the community board of directors for their support and confidence in the system.