Coleman Foss, CEO of SkyRidge Medical Center in Cleveland, Tennessee, was born in Rantoul, Illinois, but grew up all over the United States. With a father serving in the Air Force, Foss started high school in Riverside, California, and ended up graduating in Alaska. Foss always nurtured an interest in medicine and its business aspects, and vacillated between majoring in pre-med or healthcare administration.
After considering the hectic schedule of a cousin who attended medical school, Foss ultimately chose the administration side of medicine, earning an undergraduate degree in Healthcare Administration from Auburn and a Master’s degree in Healthcare Administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Foss would soon learn that the business side of medicine can be as complex and challenging as the practice of medicine itself. Fortunately, Foss’s childhood equipped him with the tools for taking on the challenge.
“Moving around so much while growing up was the perfect training ground for working in hospital administration,” said Foss. “You get a lot of things thrown at you in this business, and you have to be able to adapt and accommodate various needs in order to thrive.”
Foss began his career as an assistant administrator in Jonesboro, Arkansas, later working in Montgomery, Alabama; Gadsden, Alabama; and Fort Walton Beach, Florida. Foss took on his first Chief Executive Officer position in Martin, Tennessee, before serving as CEO in Dyersburg, Tennessee. Foss moved to Cleveland in 2007, closer to family members in north Georgia and Alabama.
Upon becoming CEO of SkyRidge Medical Center, Foss was confronted with the challenge of smoothing the transition of two separate hospitals into SkyRidge Medical Center. Bradley Memorial and Cleveland Memorial Hospitals were technically merged in 2005, but were only consolidated under one license in 2007.
The merger of a for-profit facility and county-based, non-profit facility was daunting, but has proved very beneficial to the Cleveland community. As the new CEO of SkyRidge, Foss was immediately concerned with “stabilizing the ship” and rebuilding the confidence and trust of the hospital’s medical professionals and staff. In addition to building strong employee relationships and preventing out-migration of personnel from the newly combined medical center, Foss focused on building service lines in terms of what a traditional community hospital should ideally offer.
Along with significant improvement in patient and employee satisfaction, Foss continues to work toward re-establishing SkyRidge’s financial base. His efforts, along with those of the Cleveland medical community, have paid off. Foss received an Outstanding Achievement Award from Community Health Systems in 2010, and he intends to continue improving all aspects of care at SkyRidge. He places strong emphasis on his appreciation for the hard work of Skyridge’s medical staff, employees, and Board of Trustees.
When asked about his favorite part of his job, he replied, “Definitely the relationships. We’re blessed; we have a great medical staff, a great administrative team, and a great community.” Foss says every day at SkyRidge is meaningful, and he finds working to improve the lives of patients and employees the most gratifying part of his job.
SkyRidge Medical Center is a full-service inpatient and outpatient community hospital encompassing two campuses. It offers a wide range of comprehensive services including behavioral health, cancer care, cardiac services, diagnostic services, emergency services, home health, laboratory services, occupational health, orthopedic & surgical services, rehabilitation services, women’s services, and a wound care center. SkyRidge reaches out directly to the community with its Health Connection, Senior Circle, and Healthy Woman programs.
Foss oversaw the construction of a new patient tower and renovation of the Main Campus, which included a 41-bed emergency department, 18-bed outpatient center, 10-bed Intensive Care Unit, and 31 new private rooms. Plans for future expansion include a new cardiac unit and patient room renovations. Foss is proud of the hospital’s growth, and intends to work toward further improvement to “step to a higher level.”
When he is not working, Foss spends time with his wife Amy and their four children—one in college, one in high school, and twins who attend middle school. All the members of the Foss family enjoy reading, running, playing sports, and being outdoors, particularly golf, but hasn’t had much time to enjoy it in recent years. Additionally, Foss is a member of First Baptist Church and serves on the boards of the Chamber of Commerce, Caring Place, First Tennessee, United Way, Junior Achievement, and the Cleveland State Foundation.
He is also a member of Rotary Noon Club and Businessman’s Round Table. Foss’s family and friends are surely proud of his hard work and unwavering commitment to improving SkyRidge Medical Center’s service to the Cleveland community.