Fuller will be missed

Published 7:53 am Friday, September 17, 2010

An unfortunate consequence of corporate ownership of Southampton Memorial Hospital is the short tenures of its CEOs.

David Fuller, the Franklin hospital’s chief executive officer for the past three years, is moving on next month to another Community Health Systems facility in north Florida. Like Sean Dardeau before him, Fuller left a positive mark on Southampton Memorial during his short tenure at the helm.

Under the Mississippi native’s leadership, SMH made impressive gains in patient satisfaction. In a report released a couple of months ago by the objective and respected nonprofit organization Virginia Health Information, the Franklin hospital ranked highest in Hampton Roads in eight out of 10 measures of patient satisfaction. Only Sentara Norfolk General Hospital rated higher overall.

SMH’s doctors, nurses and support staff deserve as much of the credit for those lofty ratings as Fuller, but quality top leadership is important. Fuller promised early in his tenure to make customer service a top priority at SMH, and he delivered.

It’s too bad for Franklin that he’s leaving so soon.