A steady hand

Voisin helped guide Louisiana pub­lic hos­pi­tal through tur­bu­lent times

Modern Healthcare - - Special Feature -

When Michael Voisin joined the board of com­mis­sion­ers at Ter­re­bonne Gen­eral Med­i­cal Cen­ter in 1997, board meet­ings av­er­aged seven hours. That’s be­cause his ten­ure at the 305-bed pub­lic hos­pi­tal in Houma, La., be­gan amid tur­moil, when the HMO the hos­pi­tal co-owned with four other hos­pi­tals was los­ing money. When the hos­pi­tals sold the health plan, Ter­re­bonne’s CEO of 19 years, a vo­cal sup­porter of the HMO, re­signed as a re­sult.

Voisin stepped up, sign­ing on for a four-year stint as vice chair­man of the board in 1998. He also served as chair­man from 2003 to 2004 and be­gan an­other term as chair­man in 2008.

For his ac­com­plish­ments, Voisin, 57, has been cho­sen as the 2011 Trustee of the Year for a large hos­pi­tal—those with 100 beds or more.

Voisin’s first or­der of busi­ness in 1998: Re­store or­der to the work of the com­mis­sion­ers.

How? “He has a very re­spect­ful way of com- mu­ni­ca­tion. I have never seen him yell, scream or holler or be ag­gres­sive in any way,” says Phyl­lis Peo­ples, Ter­re­bonne’s pres­i­dent and CEO.

In ad­di­tion, Voisin al­ready had a rep­u­ta­tion as a suc­cess­ful busi­ness­man. He is a sev­en­th­gen­er­a­tion oys­ter farmer who is the CEO of his fam­ily’s busi­ness, Mo­ti­vatit Seafoods.

At Ter­re­bonne Gen­eral, Voisin em­pha­sizes the im­por­tance of fol­low­ing rules. He in­sists that fel­low board mem­bers read their agenda pack­ets and seek an­swers to de­tailed ques­tions be­fore the meet­ings. He also ex­pects them to at­tend com­mit­tee meet­ings.

Dur­ing meet­ings of the full board, “Peo­ple will get real ex­cited some­times in a de­bate or a con­ver­sa­tion,” Peo­ples says. “Mike will say, ‘I ap­pre­ci­ate your thought process. I re­spect it. Let’s take that into con­sid­er­a­tion, but let’s hear the other side.’ ”

As a re­sult of his ef­forts, the board now meets monthly in­stead of twice a month, and


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