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ABERDEEN, Miss.(WCBI)- “My goal is to be one of the friendliest hospitals around. To have the most professional employees around and some of the best equipment.”

CEO Administrator Harley Smith is the new face of Pioneer Community Hospital in Aberdeen. The North Carolina native says he looks forward to improving the hospital’s services and efficiency.

“We’re in the process of opening up a new surgery center, all new equipment. We’re working on getting new equipment for our lab and hopefully add some services to the radiology department,” said Smith.

With a long history of administrative experience, Smith knows budgeting and operating a hospital in today’s economy is challenging.

“Sequestration takes about 2% of everything we bring in from medicare and medicaid and it goes back to the government. To a small rural hospital that’s a lot of money. The Affordable Care Act, we’re not exactly sure how that’s going to play out in the rural communities. It’s still a guessing game whether it’s a great or an idea that could hurt the rural hospitals,” said Smith.

Rural hospitals are particularly affected by a tough economy. Many facilities are considering limiting their ER Departments. Smith doesn’t plan on going down that same path.

” Our job is to take care of the community. We want to keep this ER open 24/7, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. If you have a heart attack, a stroke or any type of major illness, we have to be there for them,” said Smith.

He says the secret to maintaining a great hospital is keeping people first.

“You know people in this community can go anywhere they want to go. There are hospitals 10, 12, 13 miles away. If we’re the best in customer service and professional and have equipment that works at tip top shape and we’re able to take care of our patients and send them home, I think that’s the best thing we could say for our hospital,” said Smith.

The new surgical unit at Pioneer opens this fall.

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