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FirstHealth Montgomery Memorial Hospital President to Retire
| Date Posted: 7/25/2019
BETH WALKER, R.N.
TROY--Beth Walker, R.N., president of FirstHealth Montgomery Memorial, is retiring after 38 years of service on January 3, 2020.
Beth joined Montgomery Memorial Hospital (MMH) full-time in 1981 as a staff nurse in the ICU. After five years in a staff nurse position, she transitioned to coordinator for quality, risk management, infection control & employee health and staff education. She held that position until 1992 when she became the acute care nursing coordinator. Shortly after that, Beth took over the director of nursing position, and she stayed in that role until 1995. From 1995 until 2003, she returned to an expanded role as the coordinator for quality, risk, infection control and regulatory compliance. Just shy of a decade later, Beth was promoted to director, health care effectiveness and held that position until 2006. In 2006, she was promoted to administrative director, clinical performance. Beth was promoted to chief operating officer and chief nursing officer in 2008. Upon the retirement of Kerry Hensley, former president of MMH, Beth assumed the top leadership position at MMH. She has held the position since 2011 and serves in that role today.
“We are excited to celebrate Beth’s retirement, but she will be missed very much,” says Jimmy Preslar, chair of the FirstHealth Board of Advisors. “Under Beth’s leadership, Montgomery Memorial has remained a staple in the community. She’s helped to bring new specialty services to the area during some very tough years in health care. Her commitment to health care and to the community is unmatched.”
A Montgomery County native, Beth attended West Montgomery High School in Mt. Gilead. She first worked with MMH as a part-time pharmacy tech from 1976 until 1981. After her undergraduate degree work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she went on to earn her Diploma in Nursing from the Presbyterian School of Nursing in 1981. In 1999, she earned her BSN from UNC- Pembroke.
Beth has been a part of the hospital leadership team through some very pivotal times in MMH’s history. She was a part of the team overseeing the merger with Moore Regional Hospital in 1995 to form FirstHealth. She also helped lead MMH to earn its Critical Access Hospital designation, which has proven to be vital to the future of the hospital and the community it serves. She will be remembered for her leadership, community involvement and her commitment to making sure that the residents of Montgomery County had access to the highest quality care in the area.
Her commitment to health care is noted in the awards and accolades MMH has received while under her leadership:
- FirstHealth Montgomery Foundation received the NCHA Healthier Communities Award 2019
- FirstHealth Montgomery Foundation received the Montgomery Community College Foundation 2018 Humanitarian of the Year Award
- FirstHealth Montgomery Memorial Hospital received a five-star rating for overall quality by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
- MMH lab is fully accreditation from the CAP Laboratory Accreditation Program
- Montgomery Memorial Hospital awarded a Gold Seal of Accreditation from the American College of Radiology (ACR)
- FirstHealth Montgomery Memorial Hospital is accredited by The Joint Commission under the Critical Access Hospital Accreditation Program
Beth’s community and professional affiliations show her broad support of the community and health care services in Montgomery County.
Leadership Montgomery 1996
Montgomery County Board of Health 1998 – 2007
Stanly Community College School of Nursing Advisory Committee 1993 – 1995
Montgomery Community Theater Board 2002 – present
Community in Schools Volunteer 2008 - 2010
Trinity United Methodist Church Administrative Board 1994 – 1996
Trinity United Methodist Church Chair – Staff Pastor Relations Committee 2011
Montgomery County Free Clinic Volunteer 2010 – 2011
Uwharrie Mountain Festival Steering Committee 2012 - 2013
Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation 2012 – 2015
Community Care of Sandhills Board of Directors 2012 - 2019
NC Critical Access Hospital Learning & Action Network Service Line Strategies Task Force
Co-Chair 2016 – 2017
Montgomery County Chamber of Chamber Board of Directors 2017 – 2019
North Carolina Healthcare Association Policy Council member 2018 - present
With Beth’s retirement, FirstHealth will immediately begin efforts to recruit for her replacement