Dec 6, 2021

Joel Marcrum, Administrator, Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital, Hawaii

How long have you worked with TCT?  Since May 2020

What advice would you give clinic staff who are new coming into the program?
We recently completed our unannounced 5-day survey for 7 locations for both RHC and PCMH accreditation. I would recommend that the clinic take the time necessary to prep for the training calls, reviewing the standards and going through the checklist. You need to have your questions ready before each call to maximize your time with the subject matter experts.

Once the surveyors arrive, remember that the survey process doesn’t need to be adversarial. The TCT surveyors that came to our clinic had the attitude of “how can we make you better.”  We experienced many teaching moments and the time they spent with us was very educational. I learned so much from the survey process. It is easy when you believe in quality improvement through accreditation. We were able to re-engage with our physicians in running the clinic as a team. They feel like they have more input now. The more staff and providers are involved together in a team-based setting, the better quality of care in the clinic.


Professional Information

  • Please provide a short outline of your career – where you started and how you got the position you are in today. I joined the US Army when I was 18 years old and retired 20 years later in 2007. During my military career, I was able to earn my BS and MBA as well as getting certified as a Clinical Laboratory Scientist by the American Society for Clinical Pathology.  After retiring, I continued to work in healthcare as a Microbiology Supervisor for HCA and as a Director of Laboratory and Radiology Services for the US Military in Japan. In 2013, I became the Outpatient Clinic Director for Hawaii Health Systems Corporation-East Hawaii and in 2016, I moved to Prescott Arizona where I became the Clinic and MSO Director for Yavapai Regional Medical Center. Then in 2020, I accepted my current positon as Kauai Region Clinic Administrative Director.
  • What has been the most rewarding part of your job – what is most gratifying to you? The most rewarding part of my job is working to ensure high quality healthcare is accessible to people living in rural and small towns. These communities play a vital role in the US economy by supplying food, water, and energy to rest of the United States. Without supporting healthcare in rural communities, these patients would have to travel hours for primary, specialty, emergency, and inpatient care.
  • Did you have a mentor or individual that inspired you? If yes, who and how did they influence you? I did not have a mentor as much as a TEAM that has inspired me to be my best. I was lucky enough to spend the first part of my career in the US Army. During those years I learned the importance of TEAM and living the Army values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage. In one form or another, I found that many of these same values were part of the healthcare organizations I joined later in life.
  • COVID has made a big impact on every business – what specifically has been the greatest challenge and how have you overcome it? The most difficult aspect is making sure we have the staffing resources needed to operate the clinics and support Covid related projects such as drive-thru testing and vaccination clinics.  We created a Covid Surge Plan that included how we would flex staff to other locations and a plan to contract locations if needed to ensure we could support an inpatient surge. The other issue was overcoming the missed opportunities to perform immunizations and health screenings once telehealth visits became more popular. We worked with nursing staff to ensure we kept clinical support staff in the telehealth workflow and do chart prep ahead of the visits.
  • If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice – what would that be? Don’t forget to stop and celebrate your organizational achievements. Healthcare is ever changing so too often we move from one project to another without stopping to reflect on our successes and to thank those who made it possible.
  • Anything unique or less common about your professional career that you would like to share?  Working in a rural community is difficult enough but working in a rural community on an island 2,500 miles from the mainland makes things exponentially more complex. The challenges of recruiting staff, availability of specialty care, supply stream issues, and equipment maintenance means it costs much more to deliver the same standard of care as facilities in the conterminous United States.
  • Anything specific about your experience working with TCT that you would like to include?  I have been working with accrediting organizations since 1987 including Commission of Cancer, College of American Pathology, and Joint Commission; this was by far the most enjoyable experience. TCT’s approach shows that the accrediting experience can be thorough, relaxed, and educational all at the same time. TCT surveyors took the time to explain their findings and educate staff not just on the importance of the findings but also on some of the best practices they have seen at other facilities. I was pleasantly surprised by the TCT surveyor’s collective experience and knowledge. Their patience and understanding on what we were going through set a relaxed tone on day one and it remained the entire time they were with us.

Personal Insights:

  • Please share any family info you may wish to include. Spouse, kids, pets etc. I have been married for 33 years and have three adult daughters. I have two Labrador/Ridgeback mix dogs named Nani and Meli.
  • What do you enjoy doing in your free time? Hobby’s you may have or activities you like to do? I enjoy going to the beach and working on home renovations.
  • Tell us about some of your favorites:
    • Place to vacation: Hawaii
    • Food you love to eat: Poke’
    • Author and/or Actor/Actress: James McPherson
    • Music – bands or singers etc.: Slack key guitar (Hawaii Music)
  • Do you have a charitable organization that you volunteer at or support? ASPCA
  • Most influential person that made you who you are today? My wife
  • If you could have dinner with any 3 people – dead or alive – who would you choose? Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., and my wife.
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