The Kentucky Hospital Association (KHA) presented several awards on May 19 at the 92nd Annual KHA Convention. This year’s event was held virtually in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

KHA presented its highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award, to two recipients this year — Sheila Currans, retired CEO of Harrison Memorial Hospital, and Wayne Meriwether, retired CEO of Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center. This award is presented to individuals who have given untiring and exceptional service to their hospital, community, the commonwealth and the association. Currans and Meriwether were honored for their long careers dedicated to outstanding hospital care in Kentucky.

Currans started her career with Harrison Memorial Hospital (HMH) as a nursing student. Throughout her 48-year tenure at HMH, she has served as a nursing student, a medical/surgical nurse, an ICU/CCU head nurse, supervisor, chief operations officer and chief executive officer. In the 1990s, she was instrumental in developing a quality initiative for the hospital that still receives national accolades today.

During her time as CEO from 2009-2021, HMH added and enhanced several service lines for their patients, which included providing cardiac catheterizations; upgrading radiology and laboratory technology; and opening clinics in surrounding communities. During this time, HMH received numerous awards, accreditations and designations.

In addition, under her leadership, HMH completed several building projects, including a $14 million expansion/renovation of a new 20-bed medical/surgical unit; a new specialty clinic and urgent treatment center; a centralized area designated for diagnostic testing; and a renovated wing to house the Hospital’s administration in 2016. Other building projects included development of The Cottages at Flat Run and the expansion and renovation of dietary and rehabilitation services departments.

A Kentucky native, Meriwether has spent his entire working career in health care. He spent 30 years in Henderson, Kentucky, leaving the position of chief operating officer of Methodist Hospital to join Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center as CEO. He has led the hospital for the last seven years through a period of growth and financial stability since being named CEO in January 2013. Meriwether also supported the hospital’s affiliation with Owensboro Health and feels this is one of his great accomplishments.

He was instrumental in adding new services to treat chronic pain and addiction while bringing the hospital staff and community members together to address public health issues such as smoking, obesity and nutrition.

During Meriwether’s tenure, the hospital opened the Twin Lakes Pain Clinic, a medical stabilization program, the Maternal Opioid Medical Stabilization (MOMS) Program, a medication assisted treatment (MAT) program and a Hepatitis C treatment program. Community health was also addressed by passing Smoke-Free ordinances in Leitchfield, Clarkson and Caneyville. In addition, residents now have access to a Community Garden, located on hospital property, as the result of a partnership with the Master Gardener Association of Grayson County.

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