Hospital president announces retirement
He has walked the halls of High Point Regional Hospital for 25 years. He knows the original building better than most and helped lead the construction of newer, surrounding ones.
After 25 years, you could count on seeing Jeff Miller at the hospital on a daily basis.
That soon will change.
Miller’s retirement was announced Wednesday morning by High Point Regional Hospital.
The 64-year-old said he has been planning to retire for a while now. If you ask him what he will miss most, he will say the people that he has seen for the past 25 years.
“I have worked with, over the years, some very fine professionals, and not interacting with them on a daily basis will take some getting used to,” Miller said. “I have been planning to retire and have been trying to figure out the best time to go about it for the last year or so. I wanted to stay until we got well underway with our transition with UNC Health Care. It has been six months now since that was announced, and I feel like now that we are moving forward in a very positive way, it seems like the right time to step aside and see what life after work is like.”
Miller said he is excited about his upcoming retirement.
“It seemed like the right time to let a new person come in here and pick up with the transitions that are going on,” Miller said. “I am making decisions now that will have a long-term impact, and I won’t be here. It’s probably a good idea to let someone else come in here and make those decisions.”
Miller will stay on, acting as president, while the Board of Trustees begins the search process for his replacement. They are estimated to begin the search within 30 days.
“It may take four to six months to get a replacement and make the transition,” Miller said. “But I will stay on as long as I need to be here to assure that there is a smooth transition. That is very important to me so that we can continue to move forward.”
Miller, who joined High Point Regional in 1988, has been instrumental in the creation of the Carolina Regional Heart Center, the Hayworth Cancer Center and the Esther R. Culp Women’s Center. These programs have contributed to the hospital being nationally recognized by multiple organizations, including U.S. News & World Report for outstanding patient care.
“I think when we opened the Carolina Regional Heart Center and fully deployed our vision of a whole-service cardiac program for this community was very exciting to me. When we opened the Hayworth Cancer Center and put all of those cancer services under one roof, that’s just good quality health care that raised the bar in this community. I am proud that I had a leadership role in those types of projects,” Miller said. “How do we better care for our patients? That is what it’s always been about. How do we make sure that they get services here that are equal to those anywhere? That has always been our goal, and I think that we have been pretty successful at doing that.”
While Miller is proud of everything he has had a hand in during his 25-year tenure, he believes his biggest accomplishment is bringing quality health care to High Point.
“I think that my biggest accomplishment was bringing a higher level of services to this community, which permits patients to stay at home and receive their care locally,” Miller said. “We have always had quality programs. We didn’t just do it. We did it with good people, physicians and have been recognized nationally for it. That is very satisfying, and I am very pleased that I could play a role in that.”
Miller also led the merger with UNC Health Care. He calls the merger successful, and notes that UNC Health Care has kept its commitments to the hospital.
He said he wants to make it clear that the merger had nothing to do with his announcement to retire, and said it is made possible because of the merger. In fact, it already was in the works before the merger was thought about, he said.
“I had planned to retire on my 25th anniversary, February 2013, but because of the merger I made the decision to delay that retirement until the merger occurred. I made the decision that this was the right time. It’s related to my age, but not to the merger,” Miller said. “The merger has been terrific, and I regret that I won’t be here to see it play out because there are a lot of exciting things that will happen as we move forward. I delayed it for a while, and now I feel like the timing was right.”
While the merger was an effort by High Point Regional to secure its long-term financial future, Miller said the benefits of the merger are coming slowly but surely.
“With the system, we are showing consistent improvement in our financial results. We are not where we need to be, but there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that as we take advantage of the efficiencies and supply costs, and all the things that come with the relationship, that it will continue to improve,” Miller said. “Like every other hospital in the Triad, we are still having financial challenges because the reduction we have seen in reimbursement has been pretty significant.”
Miller plans to stay in High Point and continue to be active in the community. He plans to continue his volunteer work and stay active in his church, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church.
“This is my home. It is where I raised my family,” Miller said. “I think there are other things I can do that will be positive and keep me busy. It’s an exciting time.”
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About Jeff Miller
• Native of Mercer, Pa.
• Earned bachelor’s degree in economics from Ohio Wesleyan University
• Master’s degree in hospital administration from Duke University
• Married to Carroll Ann Miller
• Has two children
• Member of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church
• Prior to joining High Point Regional Health System 25 years ago, served as an associate administrator at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta and senior vice president of Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte