Hometown Health Team
With roots in rural South Georgia, Jimmy graduated high school in Cordele, GA, attended Middle Georgia College and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Engineering from Auburn University. Upon college graduation, he entered business with Firestone Tire and Rubber Company in Albany, Georgia. Jimmy has held senior management positions in six fortune five hundred companies including Firestone Tire and Rubber Company (passenger tires), Fairchild Burns (aircraft seats), Arthur Young and Co (consulting), R.J Reynolds (warehousing), Cross Equipment and Gold Kist (agribusiness), and HCA and HomeTown Health (healthcare).
He came to health care as a result of soaring insurance costs for his manufacturing company. After forming a partially self-funded insurance program for his company, his health care involvement led him to a position on the board of directors of a hospital. He ultimately sold Cross Equipment Company to become market development officer for that hospital, which opened the door to becoming Vice President of Government Relations for Columbia/HCA’s 20 hospitals for the state of Georgia. From there, he took his knowledge of the rural health care delivery system in Georgia, resigned Columbia HCA, and formed a consulting company, The Leadership Group more than 15 years ago. The Leadership Group sponsored development of the Georgia Rural Hospital Roundtable with 22 rural hospitals as members. Its purpose was advocacy for rural hospitals in the state legislature in Georgia and members were limited to hospitals that had fewer than 100 licensed beds. With much success and tremendous publicity for the issues of Georgia’s rural hospitals, one legislator pronounced that because of the Georgia Roundtable’s effort “rural hospitals in Georgia now have a seat at the table”. Realizing the need for a public representation for these small hospitals, Jimmy moved forward with a nucleus of those Roundtable hospitals and formed HomeTown Health, LLC, which is celebrating its 18th year in 2017. Jimmy serves as CEO with HomeTown Health, and is the most recognized face of the company. HomeTown Health is a business development company advocating for and developing business opportunities for member rural hospitals in Georgia. Activities range from managed care, to collective purchasing, statewide marketing, as well as legislative representation. HomeTown Health’s efforts have been very instrumental in saving many of Georgia’s rural hospitals and raising the flag for rural hospital issues in the state and local government.
Jimmy has been instrumental in passing key rural legislation and regulation for hospital based nursing homes, state merit, PPS and critical access hospitals. All of these have been key to the survival of rural hospitals and rural health care in Georgia. Currently, he serves on the Governor’s Rural Hospital Stabilization Committee, and Global Partnership for Telehealth Board, and is a trusted advisor on rural healthcare at the Capitol.
Under his leadership, HomeTown Health has grown to serve over 70 hospitals throughout the Southeast and partnered with nearly 60 vetted best practice business partners. HomeTown Health expanded its services into online education in 2005 mobilizing HomeTown Health University, www.hthu.net, which now serves over 10,000 professional learners nationwide through more than 300 online education courses, webinars and live training events. HTHU is an IACET accredited provider of CEU credits for professionals in a wide-variety of healthcare fields and licensure. HomeTown has expanded outside its Georgia base to serve multiple states through grant-based education partnerships, healthcare system membership and education subscriptions, and collective group networking.
Jimmy has been quoted many times by newspapers and magazines including the Wall Street Journal, Florida Times, Atlanta Journal Constitution, USA Today, Georgia Health News, as well as serving as a speaker to many governments, conference programs and trade groups on the dilemma of rural hospitals and health care.
Jimmy has been involved in very many state and local economic development and leadership projects throughout his career. He is a recipient of a number of professional awards and recognitions. He served as the 1993 Chairman of the Albany/Dougherty Chamber of Commerce. He was a member of the Leadership Georgia Class of 1992 and served three years as a host on the Georgia Red Carpet Tour, and worked ten years on the Southwest Georgia Fall Feather Hunt, the last two as Chairman. He received several business awards including 1992 Small Business Owner of the Year for Southwest Georgia by the Albany Chamber of Commerce and 1992 Exporter of the Year by the Atlanta Cobb Chamber. He has served on the Georgia Chamber Board of Directors among other activities.
Jimmy lives in Cumming, Georgia with his wife June, and has two grown sons.
Kristy Thomson joined the HomeTown Health team in 2006 and served for 9 years as the Director of Education where she has directed the education services offered to HomeTown’s hospital members and their affiliated clinics and physician practices. In this role, Kristy was responsible for course curriculum, content, technical set up and instructors, as well as directing live and online education services offered to HomeTown’s network of 60+ rural hospitals and their affiliated clinics and physician practices along with 60 supporting business partners. She was also was responsible for compliance with the IACET/ANSI continuing education and training standards along with other accreditation standards and assisted in preparation, review and administration of state and federal grants. In 2015, Kristy moved into the Chief Operating Officer position for HomeTown Health where she is responsible for both the HomeTown Health operations and the education programs of HomeTown Health University.
After graduating from Stephens County High School in Toccoa, Georgia, Kristy earned her degrees which are a B.S. from Clemson University and an M.S. from the University of Georgia, both in math and sciences. Prior to joining HomeTown, she worked as Special Projects Manager for the Town of Jupiter in Jupiter, Florida. She currently lives in Clarkesville, Georgia with her husband, John Lee, and her two sons, Jack and Luke. Among other community and industry related arenas, she currently serves as IACET Awards Committee Member, Georgia Medicaid RAC Provider Relations Committee Member, as a member of the Habersham Medical Center Rural Hospital Stabilization Committee and the DCH Integrated Care Committee.
Sherri Ackerman joined the HTH/HTHU team in April of 2011 as HomeTown’s liaison to the Georgia Health Information Technology Extension Center (GA-HITEC). GA-HITEC had recently received grant funding to support rural hospitals in their move to meaningful use of electronic health records. As the outreach and education partner, HomeTown Health works with 55 rural hospitals by engaging the hospitals with the Extension Center, coordinating health it live training events and webinars as well as providing courses on the GA-HITEC Online Training Center.
Sherri holds a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Georgia. Previously, she led Client Services at an Atlanta advertising agency, specializing in recruitment. Sherri and her husband, Nat, have 3 children, Troup, Sela, and Milli and reside in Alpharetta where she is active in Mount Pisgah UMC, her children’s schools, and several community organizations including a volunteer group working on projects and events for the city of Alpharetta.
Desi attended Gainesville State College and received a Bachelors in Business Administration. In 2001. After graduation, she was office manager for a Broadcast Company, Kinescope in Athens, GA until wanting to spend more time with her daughters.
In 2004, Desi took a position teaching Pre-K at The Little School for 6 years. In 2010, Desi joined the staff of HTHU part time & eventually full time in 2012. After serving as the Education Support Specialist for several years, Desi now serves as Webinar Program Manager and Technical Services Specialist for both HTHU and HomeTown Health.
Desi currently resides in Clarkesville, Ga with her daughters, Anna-Paige & Emma. She attends 1st Presbyterian Church and serves on the Communications Committee and Education Committee. She is actively involved with her girls’ schools and volunteers on several mission-oriented community projects.
Jody joined HomeTown Health University in February of 2011. She is responsible for course development and course review for HomeTown Health University. Additionally, she recently took on the role of Accounts Receivable for HomeTown Health.
Jody recently went back to school and completed a second degree at Anderson University. Her career path began in the banking industry with Bank of America as a teller and eventually found herself in Human Resources as a Recruiter. Her most recent position before coming to HomeTown Health was with TFE Logistics as an Assistant HR Director.
Jody resides in Simpsonville, SC with her husband Jason and her son, Tillman. In her spare time she is a volunteer with Donate Life SC and occasionally speaks on behalf of the American Heart Association. She is an active member of her church and participates in many community projects with her Sunday School class.
Susannah joined Hometown in April 2013 as Customer Relations Coordinator for the Florida Division. A native of Tifton, Georgia, she attended Abraham Baldwin College and continued to Brenau Women’s College in Gainesville, Georgia. Serving in a critical access hospital for 8 years, Susannah has diverse healthcare experience in materials management, marketing and community relations. Susannah and her husband, Jake, currently reside in Lake Placid, Florida.
Chris Denson has been a member of the HomeTown Health team since November of 2012. As the Director of Advisory Services, he is responsible for HTH member hospital services in addition to coordinating the “best practice” healthcare products and solutions offered though HomeTown Health’s Business Partner Program. Chris is also registered to lobby on behalf of HomeTown Health’s rural hospitals in the state of Georgia.
Chris was first exposed to the complex and ever changing world of healthcare while handling constituent services and Veterans Affairs policy as a staff member for U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss. After continuing his professional career in the antitrust department for the Washington, D.C. office of White & Case LLP, Chris realized that his true passion was helping those in his home state of Georgia. His subsequent time spent as a summer administrative resident at Southeast Georgia Health System helped provide valuable insight to the challenges rural hospitals face in this current environment and a deep admiration for the professionals striving to provide the highest quality care for their communities.
A native of Douglasville, Georgia, Chris received his A.B. in American Politics from Princeton University and his M.P.H. in Health Policy and Management from the University of Georgia. He resides in Athens, Georgia.
Evelyn Leadbetter joined the HomeTown Health Florida Division in December, 2014. A native of Dahlonega, Georgia, Evelyn completed her Bachelors in Business Administration at the University of North Georgia, as well as her Masters in Public Administration and Disaster Management at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia. She also continued her graduate studies in Disaster Management at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Emergency Management Institute.
Her experience in healthcare, emergency preparedness and community support has enabled her to better serve as the Network Services Manager for HomeTown Health’s Florida Division. As an advocate for rural health growth, development and sustainability, Evelyn also collaborates with HomeTown Health University in the successful development and implementation of a Disaster Management Program; facilitating disaster mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery education throughout rural healthcare environments. Evelyn recently relocated to Brunswick , GA with her husband, Ray, and daughter, Ellenoir.
Courtney joined the Hometown team in August 2016 as the Director of Finance.
Courtney graduated Cum Laude from the University of Georgia in 2005 with a BBA in Accounting. She received her Masters of Accountancy (MACC), also from UGA in 2006. Upon graduation, she began her career at Deloitte and Touch in the Audit practice. After four years, she transitioned her career into Hospital Administration. Courtney worked at Morgan Memorial Hospital as the CFO for four years. In 2013 she and her family moved back to their hometown of Hawkinsville, where she served as the CEO of Bleckley Memorial Hospital and the VP of Taylor Health Group. Courtney is a member of HFMA, the AICPA and the Georgia Society of CPAs.
Courtney and her husband Robert have been married since 2006 and have four children, Charley, James, Tripp and Will. They attend Double Branch Free Will Baptist Church where Robert serves as the Praise and Worship leader and Courtney serves as the Finance Director and Children’s Church Director.
Jennie joined the HomeTown Health team in May 2014 with experience in healthcare risk management and marketing, and having worked with a number of member hospitals. Jennie’s specialties, outside of marketing, include professional liability such as medical malpractice, and property/casualty insurance. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Berry College in Rome, GA in Communication, as well as Bachelor of Arts degree in Religious Studies. She has earned a variety of designations in the area of insurance and risk management, including the Accredited Advisor of Insurance (AAI), Registered Professional Liability Underwriter (RPLU), and Associate in Risk Management (ARM).
Jennie lives in Decatur with her husband Jon, but they spend many weekends at their cabin in Ellijay “disconnecting” from the city — hiking, fishing and relaxing with their two dogs, family and friends.
Sandy joined the HTHU team in 2009 as an instructor and has developed many of the courses related to the revenue cycle. She has been a Registered Nurse for over 25 years, having begun her career as a clinical manager and in 2000 transitioned to the position of Revenue Cycle Analyst. Sandy has worked as a consultant for rural hospitals helping them with revenue cycle process development and chargemaster compliance.
She became a member of the HTH team in November of 2016. Sandy has been the Team Lead for the Small Hospital Improvement Program in Georgia and Florida and developed the Rev Up Your Revenue Cycle program for our hospitals. Her responsibilities include revenue cycle education, grant implementation and she will be working closely with our hospitals to help them succeed in this complex healthcare environment.
A native of California, she moved to Georgia with her family at age 12 and now considers herself a Georgia girl. She has two grown daughters, Amber and Mallory and lives in Cochran, Georgia with her 2 cats.
Annie Lee joined HomeTown Health in 2013. Since starting her career in healthcare in 2005 she has become certified through AHIMA as a RHIT and an approved AHIMA ICD-10-CM/PCS trainer as well as certified through AAPC with a CPC and CPMA. Annie Lee holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Health Information Management from Boise State University as well as a Masters degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Healthcare Administration from Idaho State University.
Susan joined HomeTown Health in June, 2011 as Director of Communications. Since that time, she has also assumed the responsibilities of Director of Events. She is primarily responsible for the various avenues of communications used to keep our members up-to-date on announcements, educational offerings and meetings scheduled. She also co-ordinates all live events that are sponsored by HTH.
Susan and her husband, Larry live in Toccoa, GA and are the proud Nana and PopPop of Connor and Suzanna.
Meghan Williams is the Customer Relations Coordinator for HomeTown Health University. Meghan joined the HTHU staff in May 2012 and is responsible for coordinating social media for HomeTown Health & HTHU, website development and maintenance, education reporting for subscribers, education course review, as well as coordination of sales/marketing/retention for HTHU.
After graduating from Early County High School in Blakely, GA, Meghan completed a B.A. in Speech Communications from the University of Georgia. Meghan’s career in healthcare began as a Human Resources Director in southwest Georgia where she was responsible for all aspects of employee relations, payroll/benefits, workers compensation, annual education development and training, as well as serving as the HIPAA Compliance Officer. She also served as an active member of the hospital authority’s volunteer group.
Meghan lives with her husband, Michael, and daughters, Hayley and Bowen, in Bluffton, GA. Together their family comprises Clearwater Ministries, a faith-based ministry, and serve at Bluffton Baptist Church.